The boys (all three) ate without me tonight - I had a late meeting (one agenda item - changing the standard 4-6 pm meeting time to improve work-life balance). Everyone was tired and cranky, but Math Man kept me company at the table (and had nice things to say about the bread I'd baked last night). As I cleared the table after dinner and whisked off the tablecloth covered in crumbs I found myself contemplating the simplicity of the covering.
Math Man and I are agreed to disagree on this point. I think that not having to wipe down individual place mats, which are then left as "visual clutter" all over the kitchen to dry (and as a result occasionally catch fire on the stove), and not having to wipe down the table (except when someone's glass has been knocked over) is a huge time saver. It takes me just a minute to take off the tablecloth, put on a fresh one and toss the dirty one into the hamper at the top of the basement steps. Pop a plant into the middle of the table and I'm done. To him, it seems "too fussy" to use a tablecloth . Why cover more than you use? Last summer, I finally got to the point where the sight of 4 placemats on the table, which would have to be washed, would take up all my counter space while drying AND a table which would have to be wiped down drove me to tears.
I finally realized tonight, it's not the mats versus the cloth - it's that my life is so tightly packed that those extra minutes and that visual clutter were the final straw.
Fewer things, please.