Have you ever had a day where you realized that your house was an epic fail? If you come into my house after I've just cleaned you might not say that, but even when I'm keeping up faithfully, you probably would think that it wasn't very clean.
But yesterday, even though I did my regular cleaning. When Carpenter came home, the house was a wreck. The hallway had been clean at some point during the day, but now it was littered with paper and hangars and toys and stuff, and there really wasn't room to walk.
I had spent a lot of time on the computer, but I had done the stuff on my list. I knew things were going downhill, but was interested in my own projects. We hadn't had time to get out in the garden because it had been raining in the morning, and I was waiting for it to dry out a bit. Then when it was drier, the little children I care for were needing attention and I had to go shopping. It seems endless.
It discourages Carpenter, more than me, when things are a mess. It grates on his nerves. He does a great job keeping it under control, and basically ignoring it. But last night it was too much for him. He spoke to me about it, and I felt it - epic fail. He was not rude or unkind, just firmly explaining to me how he felt that with all the kids and him being gone for 12 hours, surely there was time to clean the house.
He told me that in his mind the house was first priority, then the yard, then the garden. Other projects would take place after all the other stuff was done. While it's super good to have some accountability, someone to rein me in, it wasn't easy stuff to hear.
I wanted to tell him all my excuses, but I knew that I hadn't been doing my best to keep the house clean. I had kept up on my blog, been working on Scripture memory, but in 1 Corinthians 9 it says, "everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things." I wasn't being temperate (or self-disciplined).
My dear man reminded me that I have children who should be a great help to me. They should be able to help with the work. And it's true. I've been telling myself they're on summer vacation. That they shouldn't have to work all day. But the truth is they've been doing a bit of chores in the morning and then reading or t.v. or video games all day. It's not a good plan for anyone.
He thought that while the little ones shouldn't have to work all the time that maybe they should be told where they can and can't be, so that they aren't running around making messes where we've already cleaned up.
Ugh, the thought of managing so much made me wilt. But what I realized is that I have been trying to manage their work while doing what I want to do. They may not be bad things, but you can't oversee something that you aren't involved in yourself.
I realized something else as well. Something I didn't want to realize.
Daily, or maybe hourly or minute-by-minute, I need to offer up on the altar the sacrifice of my will.
I am a mother and a wife first and foremost and that means that I probably won't get to do all the things I want to do, unless I love housework and cooking, which I do not.
So here's a solution that I had already been planning on discussing yesterday.
Spend time with your kids doing what needs to be done. It may feel harder, but they don't want you to pass a chore off to them, unless they've already been trained in it fully. And they don't need to be off running and playing while you do the chores.
Right now, I don't have any more ideas, and I have to get back to my housecleaning.
Keep pressing on,