It never fails, the house is quiet, and I’m searching for something to do. “Me time”, some call it.
As a mom, my down time is pretty minimal, unless I want to get up at 5am.. and truth is, some days I really want to, but I don’t. ever.
When I realize the kids are happily playing together, or watching a show side-by-side, I take off on my quest for ME.
But here’s what happens. I take a few steps towards the kitchen for a cup of coffee and I spot a mess.
I’m in the season of raising little people over here. From 2 months-14 years, my kids are into everything you can imagine. And we have a cat with a big personality.
The messes range from actual hairballs from the sassy cat (yuck), to stray burp rags, to dolls, to Play-Doh, to cars, to magazines, to hair accessories. Ohhh the hair accessories!
Pens and papers. It also needs mentioned, the sheer number of writing utensils and scrap papers I pick up on the daily. The DAILY, folks. Those of you with preschool aged girls know what I’m talking about, right? So many little notes and “cards” are written each day, and never delivered. I wonder if they ever really had anywhere to be delivered to? I hope not, because I’ve recycled a thousand of them this week alone.
The dishes pile high, but I let them. That chore belongs to a little man in this house, it isn’t my place. I want him to grow into a responsible grown man someday, so I wait for him to notice the pile, and he does.
The crumbs on the floor? Aw, it’s just a sign of life happening here, right? Okay, really it’s a sign that our floors aren’t swept enough (currently once a day) and we have careless little people who eat everywhere all day long, and rip tiny pieces of paper to make confetti. It doesn’t bother me THAT much, because again, that chore belongs to someone.
The teenager gets more embarrassed than I do when someone shows up and glances at a pile of “dirt” on the floor. She’s knows it’s her chore, and she’s learning to appreciate the house being neat and tidy.
But you know what, sometimes I walk by these piles and these things, and rather than shrugging and waiting for a kid, or yelling to them to get it cleaned up- I do it myself.
Yep, I do.
I don’t even nag them about it later or mention it. If they ask, of course I tell them I did it. I never try to make them feel guilty about it. You see, we’re all in this together. Our family is a team. We fill each other’s gaps.
I’ve read countless blogs about teaching children to do chores, and believe me, we do. In our house, from the time they can walk, they can help put away their laundry. Several household items are stored down within reach of little people so they can help with things like setting the table and sweeping up spills on the floor.
They’re trained to serve joyfully.
Here’s the deal though, I am a mom.
Even though I occasionally have my bat-shit-crazy moments where I’m yelling into the backyard at a kid to put away one glass they left out, when they loaded the 30 other items into the dishwasher just fine… I’m a mom.
I am ever so grateful to be a mom. Not just because I was told I’d never have kids, but because I genuinely LOVE raising children and look forward to their future. I daydream about what kind of adults they’ll be, and what their homes will look like. More than that though, I pray they always stick close to Christ.
If you’re a mom who is just tired of holding your kids accountable for their messes every single minute of every single day, just lighten up, would ya?
I mean it. You see, when you go easy on them, you’re also going easy on yourself. You don’t have to turn everything into a “teachable moment”.
I can speak here with some credit, because like I said, I have a teenager. She’s no longer leaving stuff everywhere carelessly (except those hairbands- haha).
If you need to hear it, here it is:
It’s okay to clean up after your perfectly independent kids, occasionally. It will not hurt them one bit.
My husband never washed a load of laundry until 2 years ago when I had my wisdom teeth removed and was more worthless than I am the days following the birth of our babies. He was a spoiled kid through and through. But you know what? He makes a fine husband nonetheless. I’m also grateful I get to do his laundry, and I know his momma was grateful for all the loads she got to do too.
My mother-in-law’s jam was housework. She rocked it. Her house wasn’t pristine, but she sure kept it tidy and did it well with a smile on her face.
I love to serve others and volunteer where I can, but my heart needs to FIRST serve at home. Yours does too. ♥
So on my quest for “me time”, I discovered that right now, my most important role is being a mom and a wife. That means I run this house, and I do it like a boss. In this season, that’s okay.
Thank you to the women in my life who have taught me that it’s OKAY to say “no thank you” to serving other places, even for worthy causes, when I need to first serve here at home. My heart is content with this because of your bravery to speak truth into my life. I don’t have to do it all, but all that I do, I will do with all my heart.