Sometimes I feel like I need to page, “Clean up on aisle 3.” At my house, there is always a mess somewhere, something to clean up.
Empty the litter box, take out the garbage, sweep the floors, load the dishwasher, wash the pots and pans, wash and dry the laundry, put the laundry away, separate the mail and throw away the junk mail, clean up the crumbs………
Making that list makes me tired.
Having my boys make a mess after I’ve worked so hard to clean is definitely a trigger of mine. It hurts my feelings when it seems they aren’t appreciative of what I’ve done and won’t help me keep things tidy. But what is even a bigger trigger….having to deal with messes I’ve allowed to grow. The two biggest: the catch all kitchen table and the laundry.
The kitchen table gets the joyous job of holding piles of mail and school work that have been laid there day after day. Then we have to groan and moan when we don’t have room to eat or work on homework, bible studies, or sermons. I do realize it is an easy fix: Go through the mail as soon as we get it, and put away any important school papers and discard the rest.
The laundry. Well, that’s a different issue.
With 5 people in our house, we have a lot of laundry. Some children don’t understand that pajamas can be worn multiple nights before having to be washed again (wish they would change their thinking about socks and underwear). Once I get laundry washed and dried, the difficulty comes in putting it away. Needless to say, there are mounds of clean clothes that need to be put in closets and drawers. However, the mounds continue to build. Much of the frustration comes in hunting for socks or certain things in the hurried moments of getting ready for school. Yes, I do know that life would be easier if I put away the laundry in a timely manner. Yet, I don’t want to spend all of my time doing laundry.
When it is a beautiful weekend, I want to be out in the yard with my kids. Why should they get to have all the fun while I’m stuck in the house matching socks and searching for clothes hangers? When I’ve worked all week or I’m completely and totally exhausted, sometimes laundry is the last thing on my list. I’d rather watch a movie with my family or read a book.
A neat and tidy home is very appealing, but I don’t want to spend all of my time making it that way. I’d like to think that God prefers clean hands and a pure heart to spotless counter tops and vacuumed floors. I’m not a complete and total slob, but I do understand that living life is more important than have a magazine cover house.
Recently, I read The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines. One of the parts that stuck out was Joanna talking about a house they were going to flip. She said that her children took off running down the hall in socked feet and slid around giggling. She realized that she had never seen them have that much fun in their own home. She had been busy making her house picture perfect and hadn’t given her children space to be children.
What a beautiful confession. Can our children say that about us? Are they allowed to be children at home or are we shouting at them to constantly clean up and don’t make a mess? And here is a confession of mine……I realized one day that I had fussed so much at my children for their messes and God reminded me of my own shortcomings, of the times that I spilled things, knocked something over, or didn’t check to make sure a wrapper actually went in the garbage. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying to be more compassionate when my kids are being kids and they make a mess.
As a reader and writer, I also need my space to spend with God. After we moved into our home, Jeff bought me a couch for our front room. This is my haven, so to speak. I try to keep it clean so that I can spend time with God each day before the guys wake up. This space is where God and I talk and he prepares my heart for the day.
How do you manage your home so that you are keeping it tidy, yet your children are allowed to be children?
Do you have your own space so that you can connect with God?
What do you want your children to remember most about their home as they grow older?