"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Monday, November 14, 2011

Home is where the

mess is.

Sigh. This morning I made a mistake.

My house isn't a pit, but it's not as shiny as usual. My kitchen is littered with breakfast detritus and I'm a bit too tired to deal with it at the moment. I stayed up till 3 am last night snuggling, talking, and watching movies with my husband. I somehow managed to get up at 7 am with my eldest offspring and chat with him over breakfast.

Now I hear an entire box of Legos being upturned in the playroom. I also hear a very bouncy almost-5-year-old thumping around in her closet, which means 18 pieces of clothing, formerly folded into matching, seasonally appropriate outfits, are now scattered over the floor at random.

Anyway, I read a blog. Someone else's blog. A blog where a mom cooks 1-2 meals a day, nurses a toddler, and sends her older children out the door at 7:30 am to climb onto a schoolbus. Then she tidies up her house and preps a gourmet dinner. Then she goes shopping- I guess she doesn't live in a mountain-top village, either!

The blog is called "How to have complete control over your life, home, and kids."

OK, I'm paraphrasing.

And I shouldn't have read it.

We live in our home. And our living gets messy. We do art projects and wood projects and food projects. This house is a laboratory, not a museum.

One of the moms who originally inspired me to homeschool sighed to me, several years ago, "If my kids were out of the house 8 hours a day it sure would be easier to clean. Of course, it wouldn't need so much cleaning

While I happen to be a neat-freak and clutter-hater, and I really enjoy organizing and streamlining anything from pantries to morning routines, I really bristle at the 'how-to-get-it-all-together' genre of modern self-help literature. From blogs to books to systems-in-a-box. Everybody has the answer.

I've got kids and a home. I'm blessed. And no matter how I organize it out, I spend a goodly chunk of my day picking up, washing things, and fixing things. There's just no way around it-

Life as a homemaker and homeschooling mother involves work.

Lots of it.

And I can get resentful about it sometimes. But it's a choice. I'm happier and my family is happier when I just accept the work. And think of it as a gift.

The mess means we're learning; the dishes mean we're eating well; the legos (and crayons and wood scraps and paint stains and rearranged furniture and overturned storage boxes and pattern blocks in the bathtub) mean creativity is flowing through my house.

So, O Boohoo, I've got to pick it all up at the end of the day- poor me! More like: Wow- what a great day! I can't wait for it to all happen again tomorrow!

I've got to do the work anyway, so why not make the mental effort to love it?

(And yes, my kids have chores and help around the house! But there's always the 2-year-old, right?)

Hope you enjoyed the seasonally inappropriate nature photos!

Have a great week!

"Childhood is a short season."
~Helen Hayes


  1. Oh, i feel you. Ironically, my tolerance for clutter has gotten *lower* the more children I have and I feel like I am either picking stuff up, having the kids pick stuff up or sitting and looking gloomily at the stuff I need to pick up but am too tired to do it. All day. The paper is especially bad, it drives me crazy. But I like to watch the kids learn and I like learning with them, so i am willing to make the sacrifice.

  2. I hear you! I've been working on several projects lately and I need to take a major break to clean house. But I have to do that sometimes, messy as it gets.

  3. I love what you said. "this house is a laboratory not a museum."
    That is my new mantra.

  4. Yes, I another hs mom said that to me. I can't remember who, or else I'd give her credit. It really makes a difference in how I see the mess!