Why am I showing you a very unfiltered picture of my very messy dining room?
Because this is reality 90% of the time in our home.
Also because when I had some free time to actually focus on cleaning our house last night I legitimately stood in the doorway of our dining room and looked around and for a few seconds had that defeating feeling of not even knowing where to start. The bathroom was desperate for a deep cleaning. The kitchen had dishes that were screaming for attention and counters that haven’t been seen in days. The living room was still a land mine of toys from a day of 1-year-old discovery. And the dining room was in the center of it all with the sweet aroma and remnants of the meal we just enjoyed together before I stripped Olivia down for a bath and Ben had to leave to help out at church. (And, yes, that is a guacamole covered diaper on top of the highchair)
Our home goes through cycles of being really clean and picked up to somehow being completely chaotic in the blink of an eye.
Typically, when Ben and I find ourselves in busy seasons where hurry and hustle seep in, the house takes a toll. We’re lazier about putting things away. We’d rather cozy up on the couch to a show together than clean the dishes. Before we know it, there are piles of stuff everywhere.
The danger in all of it is that Ben and I are naturally organized and clean people. We like things to be clean and put away in their predestined spot. So when our lives are crazy and chaotic and our home follows suit we start to unravel a little bit.
Thankfully, we’ve learned over time to have a lot of grace towards one another in this. Once you add a kid (or two or three) into the mix, the mess starts at 7 am and continues until the sun fades. Kids, especially very young ones, make it hard to find time throughout the day to give some semblance of order to the house.
And you know what?
There will be plenty of moments to clean. But there are also plenty of moments where it’s completely okay to look across the room at the pile of 2-week-old (or 2-month-old….no judgement here) papers and decide that it can wait another day to be sorted.
Because your kids need you. They need those little bits of time you have to give them when they’re awake to play and have fun together. Also because life happens in your home. That’s kind of what homes are for – living in. They weren’t intended to be Instagram-worthy all the time (or ever).
It’s also completely okay to put off cleaning up during their nap time so that you can have a few minutes to yourself to crack open a book, do some bible study, shower, maybe eat something, or honestly just do nothing at all. Yes, you’re a mom and perhaps a wife too, but you’re also human. Our bodies weren’t made to be on the go 100% of the time. It’s why we need sleep and rest. It’s also part of the glorious gift of Sabbath. (News Flash, God didn’t NEED a day of rest. He chose to take one to model rest for us.)
So have grace for yourself, mama. No, the dishes won’t clean themselves (unfortunately) but eventually they will get cleaned even if it’s not right now.