I love a clean, orderly house. A house that is picked up and everything is in its place is a peaceful home for me. I don't do this to impress others, but the condition of my house effects my stress level. If I'm feeling stressed I can probably look around my house and find one of the main causes: toys scattered, laundry piled up, dishes in the sink, pillows and blankets all over the floor etc.
So I keep my house picked up. The kids are good helpers at this. We will do a quick 15 minute stop what you're doing and put stuff away probably twice a day.
I try to stay on top of my laundry and have gotten much better at this. I wash, dry, fold and put away 1 to 2 loads everyday. My husband has enjoyed not having to dig through 5 laundry baskets of clean wrinkled clothes at 6 am. I've enjoyed not staring at piles of clean laundry waiting for me.
I don't think there's anything wrong with having a picked up house. It keeps me sane.
But there's also a different kind of mess in my home that bugs me. Sticky fingers, crumbs and spills. I have realized lately that I have become a little too all about the clean house. I have grown to fear messes. So a lot of times I keep the mess from being creating.
My oldest daughter who is 6 has just started making breakfast for herself and her siblings. I fought against it for awhile so I could be in control, but I finally realized what I was doing.
I can not fear messes and be the kind of mom I want to be!
I want to care more about the relationships than a "perfect" house. Messes can be cleaned up, but if I stop them from being created I am keeping my kids from being kids. I want to let them be little. I don't want to create in them a fear of a mess, but have freedom to grow, be creative, and become independent.
Crumbs sweep up. The table cleans. And toys find their way back home.
I realized what I was doing so opened up my Bible to Luke 10:38-42. The story where Jesus visits Martha and Mary. Martha was busy preparing her house and meal for Jesus while Mary was plopped down on the floor to hang on to every word Jesus said. Martha came in and whined - It's not fair! I'm doing all the work to make sure everything is perfect for you. Jesus looked at her and said, "Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details. There is only one thing worth being concerned about." Ohhhhh.... Yes, that's me. KC, why I worried over all these details of a clean house free from sticky fingerprints when the little hands creating them won't stay little forever. There are relationships to care about and tend to. There are things to experience together. There are things to teach them. They'll learn how to clean up and not live in a pig stye, but are they learning who Jesus is from you? Do they know they are loved? Do they have the freedom to be themselves?
Messes will happen. And messes will be cleaned up. But unlike messes that naturally happen, relationships take work. They have to be cared for and tended to. God has called me to a house full of littles. Today I am choosing to be Mary instead of Martha with the Lord's help I'll care more about the details of my child's face, the art masterpiece that was created, and the stories they have to tell me more than the mess.