When Things Get Messy

March 06, 2019

Have you ever heard someone say, “If she’s at home all day, there’s just no reason for her house to be dirty!”? If not, it’s probably because you’re not from the south, bless your heart!

Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom, I worked outside of my home and have since I was a little girl. (No seriously–I got a summer job with my grandmother cleaning apartments at age nine, and I worked with her until starting my first official job at age fourteen.)

I know what hard work feels like. I know what it’s like to come home at the end of a 12-hour workday completely worn out. So I feel I have some kind of credibility when I say, taking care of a tiny human all day long is hard work.

Hard work you don’t get paid for and don’t clock out of, might I add.

You think the days are tiring when they’re tiny little nursing infants, but then they turn into wide-open, snack-throwing, furniture-climbing toddlers with more sass than you could ever imagine.

Yet somehow, there are days when I feel like I’m killing the Proverbs 31 life: laundry and dishes are washed, prayers have been prayed, house is clean, baby is bathed, and dinner is on the table (sometimes I even use ground flax!) when Hubby walks through the door.

But people live here, so it won’t be long before the sink will fill up with dirty dishes, the laundry will be oozing out of the hamper, SpaghettiOs will be splattered all over the dining room floor, and there will be toothpaste stuck to the bathroom sink . . . again.

Last week, I stayed up until three in the morning just so I could go to sleep knowing my house was squeaky clean. Unfortunately for me, my child woke up just a couple hours later–meaning, not only did I miss out on that awesome “my house is clean” sleep, but it didn’t stay clean for long at all.

So, to my mom friend whose house is a little messy right now: You are not defined by how much you did or did not get done around your home today. You do invaluable work. You prayed over, fed, held, rocked, taught, kissed, tickled, bathed, and loved a tiny little piece of the future that God has trusted you to raise. You’re no less awesome or loved for not having it all together, you’re just human. (You deserve a cookie!)

You don’t get a trophy if you wear yourself out trying to beat the system. I personally try to tackle just a couple specific jobs every day, because I know how quickly they pile up if I don’t. My husband can vouch that I turn into an actual crazy person when my house is in disarray. But y’all, sometimes it is. Sometimes there’s laundry on my dining room table and I don’t even know if it’s clean or dirty!

At the end of almost every day, I go around my house picking up canned food that my child took from the pantry and played with. There are magnetic alphabet letters all over the place, pretzel crumbs on the living room rug, crayon marks on things other than paper, and storybooks littering the floors — and this is a daily occurrence! I put my son to bed, and I clean these things up every single day. Afterward, I head to the kitchen to pack my husband’s lunch and wash any dishes that have accumulated (Can we all just take a moment and thank God for paper plates?). Just before crawling into bed, I walk through the living room, pick up my throw pillows from the floor, and place them back on the couch — even though I know my son and husband will toss them back on the floor again tomorrow.

All I’m saying is, it takes a lot of work to keep a home nice and tidy, especially when that home is being occupied all day long. So, put on your hater-blocking shades and just breathe, girlfriend. If Susan wants to stay awake for 500 hours scrubbing her floors and pairing socks, let her. You know what you can handle in one day while keeping a healthy mindset, so do that!

We’re all “working” moms, whether we leave our homes or stay. Though we may have different responsibilities, we all have a lot on our plates. Let’s encourage one another in this fun, and often messy, season of life.

Speaking of messy, you’ll need to clean your home (this isn’t one of those yolo articles). Just know, when all is said and done, all your child really wants is YOU. Not an ever-spotless home, just time with their mama. This stage of life doesn’t last forever. You won’t always be wiping macaroni-smudged handprints off your walls.

Little Annie said it best: “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow. You’re always a day away.” Rest in the fact that some things can wait until tomorrow, and that one day, your child will be old enough to do some of these things for you (*praise hands). For real though, they’re called chores, my friends, and they build character.

How do you remind yourself of your value as a mother and homemaker — whether you work outside the home or not? Let me know in the comments; I’d love to hear!