After my children were in bed last night, I looked around the house and noticed all of the evidence they left behind from a day of curiosity and imagination. As a mother of a seven, five, and two-year-old, there is practically no time to clean and organize. In order to embrace this season of life, I want to stay engaged with my children, not burdened by household chores. Yes, I like a tidy house. Yes, I am a lover of organization. Yes, I see every item out of place and feel every crumb under my feet. Yes, I wish I could spend a whole day deep cleaning my house (knowing it will be marred within minutes of completion). But you know what? I'll spend most of my life in a neat house, one day, designed by Chip and Jo. A girl can dream, right?!
When my kids are grown, I can have pretty, white furniture and antique decor on the tables. I can have beautifully draped curtains, and tables with sharp corners. I can have a luxurious bathtub all to myself. And I'll have plenty of time and energy to keep it looking like it belongs on HGTV. However, I only get 18 years of fingerprints, and crayon marks, and dirty clothes, and milky counters, and smashed blueberries, and messy baths, and strange smells, and glue covered tables. Then, when peace settles on our home as our last child steps out the door, I know I will desperately yearn for that dirty house once more. I'd easily trade my dream Fixer Upper house for another 18 years with my children...maybe. For the signs of their life, of their exploration, of their growth, of their happiness...my happiness.
Until then, I want to be a mom that puts the dishes aside to do an art project and leaves the laundry in the basket to read my kids a book. I want to be a mom who forgets to clean the toilets because she was too busy laughing with her kids and one that orders a pizza because it's more important to cuddle the baby who needs comforting.
With that said, I keep a clean house on a normal basis. Each of my kids has a chore card for every day of the week (except Sundays) that they must complete before their morning snack--even our two-year-old. I do my chores alongside them. After each activity throughout the day, they're responsible for cleaning it up when they're done. And before bedtime each night, we do a full-home pick up of anything that's out of place. But, there are days when a you're busy caring for a sick child, or a neighbor needs you to babysit their three kids spontaneously, or life just happens. In those cases, it's important to put others first and allow the house to take a backseat for the day.
Here's a tour of our home: 14 signs you're a (good) mom. And to my mom and mother-in-law, I promise it's not usually this bad!
1. A sink overflowing with dirty dishes
2. A toilet paper roll that makes you wonder if it's safe to wipe
5. Toys in your "me-space"
7. A kitchen counter that becomes a dumping grounds for the day's activities
8. A stove that shows signs a meal was prepared, but no time to be wiped down
9. A refrigerator that looks like you simply shoved everything in it from the recent grocery trip because you had to tend to the hungry, crying children who were trying to kill one another
10. Your well-balanced lunch, because you're too exhausted to make even a PB & J
11. Left out milk, hopefully still good enough to put back in the fridge?
12. Laundry that stays in this state for approximately five days (while you pick from the clean basket here and there)
13. A mess of a dining table
14. A prayer that your children will sleep long enough to let you recoup for yet another glorious, trying, tear your hair out, wish it would never end, fall to the floor crying, seemingly endless, blessed day of child rearing
Can you relate? What signs of being a (good) mom do you see in your home?
Note: This post was originally written on March 31, 2016 and has been updated with new images and accurate information.