I have spent some nights recently remembering when things were easier. Cleaner. And for goodness sake quieter. Yes, laundry was only five loads a week. It was promptly hung and folded as it came out of the dryer. Closets were not only organized by type (jackets, dresses, short-sleeved, long-sleeved) but also by color. The house was immaculate…vacuumed almost daily when the babies were crawling on the floor. Dishes were always done before bed…sometimes twice a day. Dusting, scrubbing showers, and washing floors all had a day of the week assigned to them. Every drawer in the house was organized. Everything had a place. Everything was in its place.
What happened? Child number three came along. Things just got a little more relaxed, but things were still very clean. No longer was organizing clothing by color important. After baby 4 came…that’s when the real change came. I don’t know that I’ve ever fully recuperated from those changes. Ten loads of laundry a week plus linens seems so crazy to me still.
So the other day while I was reflecting on yesteryear, God spoke to me. I was told I didn’t have two kids anymore. I knew this already, but it dawned on me that I was trying to live like I did. Why put all that pressure on myself? I was grieving over a time in my life that could never possibly happen again. My house will never be that clean again. And to tell you the truth, I’m not sure I want it to be. I realized I was trying to be like other people who have two kids. Two is easy. I have dreamed of two again. I just couldn’t give any of those stinkers back :) I love our big family, truly I do. Sometimes when everyone crying, I dream of two. I am only human.
Folding laundry is one thing, but color coding clothes is another. As I look back I realize that my perfect house in perfect order was an idol in my life. I got a little prideful about it honestly. In my mind my house needed to always be so clean that if someone dropped by unexpectedly, I wouldn’t feel the need to lift a hurried finger to clean anything. I know I was borderline psycho about. Really.
So, today I have an encouragement for all of you out there who are mourning the loss of your perfect house. Make your house a home. One you actually live in. One that guests feel like they can relax in without you scurrying around and brushing all the crumbs they made off the table. Having a clean house is fine. Having a house that can never get dirty is not. Putting immense pressure on yourself to maintain a sterile and orderly home is not what your focus should be. When you have little ones to tend to, they are the most important focus of your day. When your husband gets home, spend some time with him instead of worrying about getting your list of tasks done. That’s what I’m trying to focus on now. Time management and enjoying the moments that I missed while I was alphabetizing the spices.