I enjoy a clean house, and it’s one of my strengths. I do a pretty good job of keeping up with five kids and two dogs, as it relates to housekeeping. This reminds me of Jenna’s famous backdoor bragging on 30 Rock, but it’s true. I’m not the world’s best cook, but I can shoot an iPhone photo or entertain a surprise visitor without embarrassment more often than not.
The problem is, I let it consume me. I resist the sweet mom quotes about messy houses & happy homes. I make list upon list for everyone in the house who can walk. I snap at my family when I feel crumbs beneath my feet. I typically refuse to do anything for myself until my house is neat. It hurts me to ignore the laundry and relax on the couch. I’ve let my own meals go cold before, because I want to clean the dishes before I eat. I can’t let the kids move onto the next play area without cleaning the previous.
I know part of it has to do with control, and we can psycho-analyze me on this topic for days. But a big part of it is deeper and dirtier than that. It’s about approval. I’ve sort of made a lifestyle-choice spectacle of myself over the last several years. My marriage, my education, my career, my child-bearing, and my parenting have all raised an eyebrow at one time or another. I want family & friends to see my house and give me the “yes” nod. My home is not the biggest or the fanciest. But they can step inside and know that they don’t have to worry. I’ve got this.
Until this week.
|Note from husband: do not mix Dr. Bronners with vinegar. Mirrors don’t like it.|
I quit. I’m waving the white flag. Not as a martyr to a dirty home, but as a woman to a choice. My kids could care less about dirty mirrors and strewn-about puzzle pieces, and I’m taking a lesson from them. I’m giving up on good for better. I will spend less time chasing tedious tasks. I will spend more time in the Word, more time painting that dresser navy blue, more time playing intentionally with my children, more time outside… the list goes on. For example, I recently caught up on some reading (on my unmade bed) with this as my backdrop: