There is a forum I frequent, mainly made up of married ladies/mamas. This particular group posts about politics, current events, and the like. One of the women (who has been on this forum for many years) posted today about an experience she had back in the day with CPS. It was shortly after she and her husband got divorced-and from what I understand, this was not an amicable situation-and her ex mother-in-law wasn't pleased that the ex-wife had custody of the children. Or something along those lines. Anyway, the ex mother-in-law calls CPS on her former daughter in-law, stating that the children aren't being taken care of properly, they were being neglected, etc etc etc. None of which was true, but naturally CPS had to investigate the claim. So the CPS worker shows up at this woman's house, which was cluttered (at the time, she had two children) but by no means unsafe or unsanitary. The children were taken care of, well-fed, well-adjusted and all that, but the CPS worker said that they would be taken to a foster parent for the night. Why, you ask? Because this woman had dirty dishes-IN THE SINK-and laundry on the kitchen floor, that was sorted into darks and lights. (She was in the midst of doing laundry when CPS came a-knockin'). I mean, seriously? I understand that CPS has certain guidelines they have to follow, but surely they're able to differentiate between a home that belongs on Hoarders with animal feces, moldy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the living room and filthy, months-old diapers with rats sniffing around them versus the dwelling a busy, newly single mother who is in the middle of straightening up the house. So long story short, the woman from the forum told the CPS worker that her children were NOT going to be placed in the care of a foster parent overnight, but if necessary she would send them to a sitter's house while she finished up the dishes and laundry. Apparently that was acceptable, the children returned home shortly thereafter, and this woman presumably firebombed her ex mother-in-law's house. At least, that would have been my course of action.
Now, I will be the first to admit that CPS workers are understaffed, underpaid, overworked, and frequently have to see the worst of the worst in terms of child abuse and neglect. I'm not disputing that at all, but this actually isn't a post about how ridiculous CPS was in this particular case (although I DO think that the case worker was being unreasonable and ridiculous). This is a post about my reaction to reading this woman's story.
My first thought, in my 35-weeks pregnant mind? "Oh dear God. If someone, for whatever reason, chooses to call CPS on me I am SO screwed. I have dirty dishes in the sink! I haven't vacuumed the living room rug for two days! My furniture is dusty, and OMG the laundry is piling up!!!!" Those of you who know me are aware that I'm actually kind of a clean freak, and I think by most peoples' standards, my house is generally neat and tidy. However, due to sciatic pain and wicked Braxton Hicks these past few days, I haven't done a whole lot in the way of housekeeping. But man, there's nothing like the threat of a phantom CPS visit to spur a hugely pregnant woman into action. (Never mind the fact that I can't think of a single person off the top of my head who would call CPS on me). Call it nesting, call it hysteria, call it what you will. It was game on.
I vacuumed this house to within an inch of its' life. I scoured the kitchen with bleach and Lysol wipes until my eyes started blurring. I grabbed the lemon-scented Pledge and a dusting cloth and scrubbed the dust away from our entertainment center, the computer desk, the end tables, and our wedding display shelves until our living room smelled like Palermo, Italy. (For those of you who aren't aware of this amazing fact, Palermo lemons are famous). I did laundry like a woman possessed, and the SECOND the dryer stopped I grabbed the clothes, folded them and put them away. I scrubbed the non-carpeted surfaces of our house with the Swiffer wet wipes, bleached the hell out of the bathrooms, swept the beagle hair off of our stairs, straightened up Tony's room, and put away all the packages and mail that were gathered on our dining room table, and then took a deep breath. I'm pretty sure it was at that moment I realized I had lost my damn mind.
I have no excuse except this 35-week belly. None, I tell you.