Monday, March 26, 2012

Filling in The Gaps: What Really Happens in Other People's Homes

I've written before that it can be so easy to feel like magic and wonder happens nonstop in our friend's houses, or others whom we admire, while life at our own home can be so lackadaisical. We imagine (or hear about) happy picnics, creative crafts, and loving interactions; meanwhile, we're buried in laundry, dishes, and undone chores, while our children squabble with each other, whine, complain, and fail to respond cheerfully, quickly, and obediently at times (many times). Reading whimsical status updates on Facebook or inspiring blog posts only serves to makes us feel more discouraged about real life in our very real home.

For example, awhile back, I read about a good friend's homeschool day. Her sons reenacted Jamestown by building forts out of Lincoln Logs (my boys just throw Lincoln Logs every which way and have yet to build any kind of structure). She shared that her sons went outside to "build wattle and daub [mud] walls just as the colonists did for their homes and buildings inside the fort." They "drove stakes (small sticks) into the ground, intertwined between the stakes and formed mud around the structure to dry and harden."

Doesn't that sound highly creative and tremendously impressive? The sting of comparison began; I wished we could have a day like that, where the boys were that creative with their play and got along well enough and long enough to work together on projects like that.

And yet...

My friend was honest enough to "fill in the gaps." With her permission, I'll share what really happened (from her post):
"Today was honestly a very frustrating day...I felt that nothing was getting done to the level that I had expected it to. My plan for sitting and reading turned into a disaster as books were falling off the couch, Hannah was all over, drooling over everything and screeching. Austen kept zoning out, Moriah was being a complete 'Ramona' and Jay was fine.

When we were outside building our walls, Austen kept asking me over and over if there were ants outside, and if they were going to climb up their wall (to see my son's opinion of ants see this post nature walk turns deadly.) Then, when the boys went upstairs they kept coming down over and over because "so-and-so was not helping, they weren't sure how to do it....". I had imagined them upstairs for hours playing and creating this fort. Darn you expectations. THEN, our Lincoln Logs kept falling over, Hannah again, crept upstairs and tried to be the jolly green giant and overtake the poor Indians and Colonists. Then, after it was all over, Moriah destroyed the entire fort. The icing on the cake.

To say that I felt quite defeated today was for sure. It was just a frustrating day. I want every day to move seamless and smooth and that is an unrealistic expectation, I want Moriah to be a "big helper" everyday and that is unrealistic. Finally, tonight, the kids were told to go upstairs to brush teeth.....we hear run, laugh, run, laugh, upstairs and Austen caught a corner with his forehead, huge bump, huge gash that by God's grace did not break open and averting a trip to the Urgent Care and huge screams. Ok, breathe, God give me grace right now because more than anything I feel angry for their disobedience. Needless to say, I am thankful they are in bed...

Anyone else ever have days like mine? More than anything I want to down an iced mocha with whip....more than anything....but since we have no coffee and I am too tired to go out , I"ll settle for crackers and iced water instead. Here's to a new day tomorrow."
What I love about Amanda's post is--it's real. And it made me feel better about my own situation. (Ha ha). I love the crackers and ice water part, too. It's just real life.

We can live our lives comparing ourselves to a standard that doesn't exist, because we are all imperfect people. Or we can embrace the days that we have been given and live them out fully, to the best of our ability. With heaping spoonfuls of God's grace, we can aim to make magic within our own walls. But when we hit reality, as everyone does (even though you won't hear about it on Facebook), know that you're not the only one. Most people simply fail to fill in the gaps.

(P.S. I really recommend Amanda's blog, Spilled Milk and Wet Kisses. Especially for homeschool moms, I think it will inspire and encourage you, as it points you closer to the Lord. Take a look around; you'll be glad you did)

Sharing with:
Raising Homemakers

Women Living Well
Works for Me Wednesday


  1. Yes, it's comforting to know that it happens in other's houses but we must take care to not fall into the trap of using that as an excuse to not tackle what could be sin in our lives. For some, laundry is a daunting task, for others, laziness may be running the show. The same applies to disciplining our kids, cleaning the house, maintaining our relationships, etc.

    Thankfully, God gives us the strength, skills, and time, to tackle all this stuff because we certainly couldn't do it alone :)

  2. Thank you for sharing...something good to remind me, as I literally sit here surrounded by laundry, dishes and 4 very active boys who are all refusing to nap! I try to remind myself often that this is just a season, but some days it can feel so daunting and like I am falling hard. I know God is full of grace and mercy....thats what I cling to.

  3. Comparison truly is such a bad, bad habit. I am working on that in my life as well. But I love the imperfection in your friends post, Cheryl. I wish more bloggers were like that. Now I'm going to get myself a "heaping spoonful of God's grace!" ;)

  4. Awesome! I found this through the BlogHer link on the side of my blog....this is so true..we see the beautiful photos, hear of the glorious learning...but not the kids whining about ants and the books being thrown around...

    thanks for keeping it real!