I always prided myself on my laid back nature. I took what came. Then I became a mother. It took on a new look. I began to crave a little more predictability and I started to hold on to certain things for dear life. Things I had taken for granted in the past. Things like a clean sink and a floor not littered with raisins, rice cake and 2 day old smoothie splatters. I craved the couch to have it’s quilt aligned at least half the time and I craved the diapers stacked neatly. Really? How much was I asking? Apparently enough to hyperventilate and snap at others about. Until one day when I asked myself what would happen if I allowed myself to take a step back and not freak out and chop someone’s head off for not cleaning up after themselves or tracking mud in. What if I didn’t allow those things to ruin my weekend? Does anyone else know why it’s always the weekends that the house takes a new all time low as far as cleanliness and yes I always start Friday with a semi-clean slate but by Saturday at noon, you’d never know. This was becoming unbearable for me. I was working at a break-neck pace to keep up with the cleaning, mopping, scrubbing and washing of dishes. Not to mention laundry. Yes, the house might have been cleaner while I was running around at a mad pace and telling others “they better not make a mess or else!” but I was meaner and my husband and kids noticed. I also wasn’t so happy about my attitude. I was thinking, this is so not what I signed up for–I wanted to be a “joyful mother at home!” That the Psalms talk about. I wanted to enjoy the time together as a family over the weekend. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have a clean house or perfectly cooked meals I could focus on what I did have. And there’s a lot I do have that’s simply amazing!
Yes, I still have to do the dishes sometime but it had finally sunk in that if it was coming at the cost of love. Love was more important than a scrubbed sink and shining dishes. Being kind and not nagging to husband and children is more than a sparkling house. It does bother me that on the weekends the house takes an extremely “lived in” look. But you know, what matters is what God sees. What matters is what my heart looks like. A quiet spirit a spirit at rest and happy in God and thankful for the people who inhabit this house. The people who make it a home. Let’s remember life’s too short to be mean over a mess. I must remind myself that this mess will pass. Just like my kids will grow up and move out someday. Life passes far too quickly we’ll see. Yes, Monday I might scrub a lot extra but you know, that’s just part of my job and sometimes we just have to say to ourselves “Self, just DEAL! Buckle down and scrub extra.” I’m trying to make my work something that Kia can be included in. Oh and upbeat music always helps too. Perspective is everything when you come to chores. And yes at the end you can enjoy momentarily a clean house. Remember this will pass and then come again. It’s a cycle– it’s life.
I want to do my job not for my own enjoyment of clean and neat but rather because it’s the will of God for me to care for my family and love Christ in them. To see Christ in them to serve Him. Our families will never be “thankful or appreciative enough” for our hungry ego’s. Let’s do it for Him to whom all our hearts are open before. For mom’s our kids really are the “least of these”. So if you come visit me anytime soon please look for the crumbs and the sticky floor and for once I might have just gotten my priorities right over the weekend.
All the days of the afflicted are bad,
but one with a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Better is little with the fear of the Lord
than great wealth and turmoil with it.
Better a meal of vegetables where there is love
than a fattened ox where there is hatred.
Better a house a little clean, then a perfectly clean one with an upset wife and mama. Yeah, I need to read this Proverb every weekend!
Oh and this post is dedicated to my mother and father in law who remind me often that reading a stack of books to my kids is worth more than a perfectly swept kitchen any day. Love lasts, clean doesn’t.