On any given day my house is … well it looks like I am losing a game of Jumanji. I mean COME ON, I live in a house with four *almost 5* young children and I am not about to rein them in at all times just so I can walk through my house without stepping on Lego – I might actually want to work on that.
I can go weeks just getting by, picking up and cleaning as we go but never really having a whole house that is neat and tidy.
Seriously, cleaning with toddlers in the house is kind of like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos *am I right*?!
Most days, I run on survival mode, I work off of our mini chore chart and get back to basics with keeping up the clean routine.
And then there are the days when my husband surprises me, letting me know that his parents will be popping by. Or – worse – I get that, “I wish we spent more time with family, I feel like inviting them over for dinner” vibe and I open our doors.
The moment I know that my in laws are on their way (or my own parents for that matter) … or anyone really … I set into hyper speed. I am *as Carolanne Miljavac would say* a cross between “Martha Stewart and Joanna Gaines on seed and sugar” – (Odd(ly) Enough << PS I would totally recommend this read!) I whip around the house and I CLEAN ALL THE THINGS. All the things!
From the baseboards (does anyone even notice those) to the stinking’ fan. I *honestly* praise God for my dust wand because pulling out a step ladder at the top of the stairs while wildly pregnant does not seem like the best and brightest of ideas … though that would be what happens.
I can scarcely breathe, I move so fast. Making sure it looks as though no one actually lives here, certainly NOT four young boys and a mom the size of a small island, two dogs and a cat (oh, and the mice that continue to poop in my cutlery drawer … I’m coming for you and I am NOT bringing the humane traps! You gonna die vermin!!! Sorry, I may or may not have just finished a Die Hard Marathon with my husband, it’s my fault … I got him the DVDs for Christmas).
The more I clean the more prepared I feel, and yet I am so on edge by the time they get there that it is hard to settle enough to enjoy the visit.
I look around my house as they enter, my eyes following theirs as I try to see if maybe I missed a tumble weed of fur or a cob-web not cleared, heaven forbid a toy be out of place.
All the toys were IN place 5 seconds ago, how did the action figure bin spontaneously EXPLODE all over my rec. room?
I can feel the judgement raining down on me as I become smaller and smaller … figuratively of course because for the last six years I have been in a constant state of human growth *I will save that for another day*… how can she maintain her home like this, is this how my grandkids live? What squaller, what filth … I mean, there are dishes in the sink for heaven’s sake!
I can feel the judgement … that I am certain does not exist except on. the level that, in my haste to make it appear as though I have it all together, I have ostracized my guest into this false sense of MY own superiority.
I have a clean home.
The toys are *clearly* always stored away IMMEDIATELY after my boys are done playing with them … in fact, they don’t play with them, they just imagine playing with them. They are so brilliant and intellectual that they do not NEED to physically play.
I am Martha Fricken’ Stewart hyped up with the latest and greatest decor trends as inspired by Joanna Gaines and I am OWNING this stay at home, homeschooling, homesteading, loving life and giving grace thing and I am making it rain like cash at a Beyonce concert (I can only assume that is what happens and why people still go to see her).
Now my guests who has just been welcomed into my stressed out facade of a home feels like her NORMAL everyday is falling short of some unattainable standard of perfect that I only PRETEND to have achieved. She feels like she is failing, I am wheezing and trying to catch my breath from that marathon cleaning session completed in the 15 minutes before company arrived and neither of us ENJOYS the moment.
Here’s the thing ladies, God gifts us differently, our situations are all different and our ability to keep three dozen plates in the air while we do the hula hoop and entertain / educate a small hoard of children differs.
Society has placed this unrealistic expectation on us that everything needs to be perfect at all times, that the dishes are always done, the laundry always folded and tucked away, the meals are healthy and delicious – always prepared from scratch at home – our children are well mannered, we have rocking’ bodies and we take all the time in the world to do ourselves up every single day.
Seriously, it is exhausting just writing all that, let alone attempting to LIVE up to that standard while being happy. And we push this as the norm, we take pictures of our spaces in the 15 seconds that they look great and we post it as if that is our everyday. We whip around cleaning more in the 15 minutes before company arrives than we have all month when we knew that we weren’t going anywhere special and no one was expected to show up.
We have created a culture where it is no longer “safe” to drop in unannounced lest we throw the lady of the house into an anxious panic as we could POSSIBLY see how they really live << what horror.
This new year, let’s take a step back into reality, let’s allow ourselves and our fellow mommas to be human, to be engrossed in her life, in her children, and in ENJOYING the provisions she is blessed to have, encouraging her to grow in grace as opposed to pressuring her to appear perfect.
Let’s be mindful that not everyone is gifted with the ability to have it all together, to have a house that is ready for the cover of house and home while balancing a workout regime, a new fad diet and children who are amazing little angles at all times. Let’s remember that there is no such thing as overwhelming mastery, something’s gotta give. Don’t let it be something that matters. Don’t sacrifice the joy you have raising your children because you are forever screaming at them to pick up their toys. Don’t sully your marriage because your husband loads the dishwasher wrong or can’t for the life of him hit the laundry basket with his dirty clothes. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in the idea that you are not living up to some “standard” of housekeeping, homemaking and motherhood just because it’s what you see in the highlight reel of Facebook updates and IG stories.
Be real, be wonderful, and have a home that is open always to those who need a space to feel welcomed and rested.
Here is my invitation to you, my door is always open, coffee takes but a minute to make, there is no judgement in our home. You are welcome to sit, to rest, to commune and to just take a load off.
If you want to talk, let’s chat.
If you want to rest, I’ll make up the bed or run a bath.
If you just want a home cooked meal around the table with friends and family who love you, you know where to find me (I can’t guarantee it will be more than spaghetti and water but I can guarantee that it is made with love and it will be a meal that sticks to your bones).
I hope you find yourself welcomed and welcoming as we enter a new year. Let’s lay down the facade of perfection, of chasing the wind, and let’s build into one another, allowing our flaws to highlight His amazing grace.