Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mercy Me, My Mess Overfloweth!

Compounding can be a good thing, like when you're talking about interest. But when you're talking about a messy house and the compounding messes that little children can add through the course of a day (and can't really clean up well after themselves), it can be a very, very bad thing. The chronic state of messiness in my home causes a chronic state of tension. I am desperately looking for solutions. Recently I read in an organizational book for homeschooling moms, "Relationships are more important than things, but things out of control can hamper relationships with people."

One of the best tips I've come across lately is: if a job takes 30 seconds or less to do, do it immediately. I may not have five minutes to do something, or even two (if my kids are fighting, crying, whining, fill in the blank!), but 30 seconds? I can do that! And it does make a difference. Little jobs done consistently make a big difference over time.

Tonight while I was making a mess cooking in the kitchen (check out that counter!), an equally frenzied mom of three kids five and under called Dr. Laura. She said she was having a real hard time finding the balance between being a good homemaker and a good mom, and she wondered how she could accomplish anything around the house. Dr. Laura said that was the problem--with three kids that little, she shouldn't plan to accomplish much! :) That's true, but we pressure ourselves to have those impeccable homes still and we feel fried when it doesn't happen. And it doesn't in my house. How about in your's?

Anyway back to the call, Dr. Laura encouraged this mom in need of mercy to figure out the basics that absolutely have to be done each day: clean laundry, food on the table (my husband would like a clean spot to eat at the table!), and whatever else you want to add to your list. But instead of feeling like your kids are "aggravations in the way of getting tasks done" (which will make you stressed and grouchy), remember that relationships are the most important thing. At the end of the day, as Dr. Laura reminded, there should be love in the house, not perfection. Because life with little people is, after all, quite messy. What doesn't get done just doesn't get done. Let's stop beating ourselves up for it. If we've tried our best, we've tried our best. But have we been a loving mom throughout it all? Because those little people look to us for everything.

--"Love is patient, love is kind....It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered...It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails...And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (excerpts from 1 Corinthians 13)

P.S. Dr. Laura also said we should not expect our homes to look like adult homes (neat and tidy) if little people call it home. Also she mentioned we can get a lot done in a half hour or hour after they go to bed, and then we relax after that. Hope that helps you too!


  1. Okay, this is good because if you do come to my house next weekend...you'll see all my messes and cobwebs and such. :)

  2. Love the counters. Mine look like this frequently. I don't have little kids - I have bigger kids who make "snacks". My 20 year old son home from college thinks a snack is making himself a personal lasagna.

    I particularly like the Febreeze in the foreground.

  3. It's been a long time since I had little ones in the home....I'm a Grandma now....but still our house does not look like an "adult home (neat and tidy)". Becoming a neat housekeeper has been a goal of mine for over 30 years but one that I've never fully succeeded at! I've done well for seasons but then have backsets. I really think a lot of it is in our genes.

    Am LOVING reading your blog!

    Marilyn...in Mississippi