We are THAT house! My husband had spent hours just two weeks ago organizing our garage and I couldn’t even get through it today to pull out some of my son’s toys. Our house was so clean the moment we walked in from our camping trip! But it didn’t stay that way…all our dirty laundry, all the dishes, all the kid’s stuff quickly turned it back to “normal”, and some days it’s all too much and drives me batty. Some days, I just want so badly for everything to be nice and tidy and stay that way…but this is where we are.
We are also THAT house that has a constant stream of children of all ages. And I flat out love it. They are not inside watching tv or playing video games. They are running around outside playing hide and seek tag, or playing “baby world” in the garage, or Barbies, or catching toads, or jumping on trampolines or spying on older/younger siblings, or crafting or coloring or building forts inside someone’s house.
I absolutely love that my kids friends get excited to tell me something. They like being here. I like them being here. Our house may not be updated or have nice furniture and I may feel like I constantly clean the same messes, but I doubt my kids friends even care.
We have the kind of community in this neighborhood that I wouldn’t trade for the nicest house in Beverly Hills. My kids friends’s moms have become my friends and we raise each other up and help each other out. And when my daughter’s friend lost her grandpa this year that was raising her (so he was really like a father to her), we all tried to surround the family with support. When we found out a couple weeks ago it was his birthday and she invited us all over at 8 pm during the week to sing happy birthday to him and eat cake, we hurried over.
None of us live perfect lives or have perfect houses (or homes) but we have a lot of heart. I could spend all my time cleaning and organizing and shooing my kids and their friends away, but I choose to accept some of the chaos that goes along with having kids.
Another neighbor and I were talking this morning about the chaos of it all and the feeling of never being caught up. I admitted I have to remind myself this is only a season. She pointed out correctly it’s likely 10 years at least like this. Very true. So I had better learn to get content with it then, right?
I have a really long ways to go. I crave order to the chaos and it really is a stress to me when things feel so out of hand. So I’m learning a lesson in contentment. My kids are happy and we have great people surrounding us. What does it matter if these things get put on the back burner for a few years (or 10!). If I can learn to just be content, even when things are not as buttoned up as I want them to be, it will do a great deal for my happiness. When we’re not content in our own lives, we start to compare. We see what others have that we want and it drains us of our own happiness.
There’s so much joy in appreciating where you are now.
There’s a story in the New Testament of Martha and Mary and I didn’t like the story at first because it’s so relatable.
Jesus is traveling and Martha invites Him into her home with other guests. Her sister Mary is there and Martha runs around doing all the work while her sister sits there just listening to Jesus speak.
Any other moms out there planned a birthday party at your home and felt like Martha before with your husbands? You’re running around, cleaning the house, buying the groceries and preparing all the food! At the party, you’re noticing what chip bowl needs to be refilled and someone asks for something and then someone else spills something and you try to catch your husband’s eye to signal you need a hand and he’s just chatting away and totally oblivious to all that’s going on?
So I totally could relate to how Martha was feeling. She gets mad. And then she boldly even tells Jesus to tell her sister to help her!
Jesus says to Martha in response: “Martha, Martha,” and then He continues, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”—Luke 10:38-42
Wow! The first time I read it, it was actually quite shocking to me. Of course, now I understand and I see so many times my heart is like Martha instead of like Mary’s.
So I live each day trying to focus on the important things and be content enough with the less important things. There is ALWAYS work to be done. But these moments with your kids and family will not last forever.
Last night, my husband and oldest were at soccer practice and I had piles upon piles of folded laundry on top of the kitchen table from our camping trip. I could have moved it all off but I decided it would just be easier to take our dinner out to the back deck. This of course, was a disaster because my 21 month old and 5 year old took a few bites of food and then just wanted to play.
I sat up on the back deck, it was a gorgeous night. I watched my 5 year old helping her little brother up the ladder to the play set. He was pretty good on his own anyway but she took absolute care in making sure of it. They giggled and played and she helped him on the two person swing and I just sat there watching them. It was pretty cool seeing them play like that just the two of them and getting to see my middle take on the role of big sister. She owned it.
After I finished eating, I knew I should go clean up but I sat there watching the two of them instead. In that moment I felt like I chose right.
So, the house being tidy and organized and updated is not important. I choose being the house with love and warmth and chose time with family and people. And I’m doing my best to let the rest go.