A mom of two little people, there’s always something to clean. Constant crumbs on the floor, fingerprints on the stainless steel appliances, the TV’s (that they never touch), apple cores hidden in the van, toothpaste caked on the sink, boogers wiped in random places, things crayoned on that shouldn’t have been…you get the drift. Our living space is a constant work in progress. However, some days it still seems to spring up on me the mess that lay out in front of me. I’ll have walked past the kitchen table for days, but suddenly, this day, it’s so disgusting it needs to be cleaned…and probably disinfected. The carpet on the stairs, which I’ve trudged up and down over and over, finally look overcome with cat fur in ratio to carpet. The bathroom mirror that I glance at more than I’d like to admit throughout the day, now looks like a sprinkler bombed it.
I could go on and on. Funny when we notice the things we notice.
My daughters never seem to notice or be bothered by the mess they have made, until they notice the other sister’s mess and see an opportunity to bust them out on it. Thus, making themselves look like the mom’s hero of the day.
“Mom!” said my older daughter, nearing six years old, “Lauren is splashing water out of tub.” She stated it so matter-of-factly, as if she had already predicted my exact response. Which, would of course be, to congratulate her on being the best kid ever.
“Well, it better be wiped up by the time I get upstairs,” I’ll reply, ensuing a panic of who’s better clean it up now before Mom get’s up the stairs. Many times, Brianne will be in tears over the fact that Lauren refuses to clean up the mess after I’ve given the instruction.
Poor Brianne. It’s a lesson in the angst of waiting on someone to do something that you think ought to be done…versus just doing it yourself.
“Mom!” chimes little Lauren from the basement, “Bwee Bwee is not picking up her Bawbies.” At three, she has already mastered that “your-going-to-get-it-now” tone.
“Well, help her clean them up, then,” I’ll suggest, knowing that won’t happen, and they’ll continue to argue over who’s cleaning up what, when it’s got to take place, and how it’s going to get done.
Reality is, that if they would just pick up a broom and sweep up anyone’s mess at all, they would be my hero for a lot longer than the rest of the day.
As for me and my endless job of straightening, sweeping, dusting, scrubbing, and organizing, I’ve become a lot better at letting the dirt sit. When it all of a sudden sneaks up on me that the sink is disgusting, I’ll clean it. When the floor is overwrought with yesterdays desert, I”ll sweep it. But, I’ve learned that it’s not necessary to live in a sanctuary of cleanliness. It’s OK to let the dust settle on the coffee table before I wipe it. That “cleaning” day can be a ‘waste’ of a day. Don’t misunderstand me, I’ve not become a hoarder and my house is very tidy and organized. I’ve just chosen to stop obsessing about it.
People are right when they say a messy home is a happy home. To a certain extent, it is. All the time I used to spend “tidying” is now being invested back into my little girls in extra time to practice reading, or enjoying some time to craft together….prepare dinner together…just laugh and be silly together…sit and watch a movie together-and do nothing else (that’s a hard one for me.).
I believe God reveals the dirt when it needs to be cleaned. He makes the mess known when it’s time to pick it up. In the meantime, He says to “Rejoice Always.” 1Thes. 5:16. He instructs us to be thankful for all things in all circumstances. He tells us not to worry (Matthew 6:25-34).
For my little girls, their messy situations teach them that working together with kindness and respect is the only way it get’s cleaned up. Left to their own devices, they work it out 90% of the time. The other 10%, I hear the cry of pain from one of them and the other ends up in time out. It’s enough to get the point across.
So, who cares about the dirt? Not me. It may have taken an auto-immune disease to bring my “mess” into the light, but I got the message to slow down. Albeit, because God literally “slowed” me down…but I’m really thankful for it. Thankful for the pain, as hard as it is to live with some days. Because it slowed me down. Instead of rushing around like a nut, I’m snuggling with my babies…while they still want to. I’m crafting with my bestie while our kids play, instead of being a fury of activity readying myself for next Cross Country season.
My husband suggested a winter walk in the woods last Sunday. We’re usually a furry of activity after church on Sundays, getting the snacks ready to watch football and my husband getting miscellaneous chores done in the small allotment of free time from his job that he has. I often enjoy a few moment of solace shopping, and we reconvene later in the afternoon.
That afternoon was magical. When we shelved our usual agendas, and just went for a walk in the woods together. Belly laughing all the way, we pulled our girls on sleds through a magical white wonderland in the freshly fallen snow. Our family of four, slowing down to enjoy the fresh-fallen, sparkly white snow.
…And then we tracked all that slush and dirt back into the van…and into the house…where it sat…laid our snowy wet clothes strewn across the washing machine…until I finally got the notion to clean it all up today. All the while, calling to mind the happy memories we made during our walk in the woods.