One thing I am slowly realizing is that people are rarely what they seem on the outside. Now, I'm not saying that everyone leads a double life, but that we always see people through our preconceived, sometimes stereotypical images. It takes time with someone for the illusions to go away. When making friends with someone, we go through a period when the illusions begin to be replaced by the truth of who they really are. This is when we make decisions about whether the relationship is worth the investment or not. Will we be more than Facebook Friends? Will I let you see my disgusting toilets or will I feel like I have to clean them before you come over (furthering the illusion, I might add).
I love my friends that I don't feel like I need to clean up before they come over. they can see my kids with dirty faces and silly outfits. They can have a cup of coffee with me on the cluttered couches while we share some tears over something happening in one of our lives, good or bad. I can tell them my failures and fears. I can be real.
I've been having a hard time lately finding my place in this busyness. I'm absolutely loving having 5 kids and my life right now, but it's getting harder and harder to appear that I've go it all together. Some things that I used to have pretty good control over, I don't anymore. Like little things with my kids. Their rooms are no longer my responsibility to clean. I didn't think that they used to be, but when they reached a certain level of disaster, I would breakdown and spend a day deep cleaning. Can't do it. Every one of them looks like a fire hazard and that's just the way it's gonna be, so if you have a problem with messy, get over it.
My cooking has totally lost it's creativity. I simply don't care. Meat, veggies and some form of carb like rice or potatoes. Actually, it's just rice or potatoes. If you're sick of those, too bad. I used to care what my kids said about my cooking, but I found that it didn't matter how much time or effort I spent on a meal, it was lost on them. In fact, it seemed that the more time I spent, the less they liked it. So now I open the freezer, grab a meat, cook some rice, nuke a veg and there we go. My husband will eat anything and love it. My job is only to please him, not the kids. If he likes it and it's nutritious, I've done my job. Next...
My laundry is never done. and I mean NEVER. If I do bust my butt to get it done in one day, which requires that I set a timer for when the washer is done and don't leave the house for the day, there is AT LEAST a full basket of dirty clothes by bedtime. This used to actually make me mad, pointless, I know, but it would kinda grate on me.
My house probably smells bad. That's what Febreeze is for. I have a dog that has recently decided she can poop in the basement and we don't always discover it right away, cuz, well, it's the basement and I'm busy. (Any dog experts out there, I would welcome your advice. She's 2 for crying out loud.) I also have bedwetters and I'm sorry, the sheets don't always get washed everyday. We do use pads on the bed, but there is an element of error. Also, refer to the paragraph on laundry.
My fridge rarely gets cleaned. If you're hungry please help yourself, do the smell test. You'll probably be fine. One of my nesting activities before the baby was born was to have Michael completely disassemble the inside of the fridge while I cleaned it to the molecular level, so it should be good for several years. Nesting does serve a very practical purpose. If you are pregnant, don't fight it, embrace it.
Should I talk about dusting? Something I actually used to do every Friday before I had kids. Now I honestly don't remember ever dusting in this house except my bedroom ( I do still have some standards). I am sure Michael has done the dusting, but I have no idea what or how often. Not real high on my list right now.
Here's the problem...I want a clean house. I love a clean house. I can THINK in a clean house. I have slowly, and not just with this baby, had to lower my standards, or just let things go. I am deciding to make the most of my life right now, where I'm at. God has BLESSED me with 5 kids. I love them! I am realizing how fast they grow up and it scares me. I have been soing things that normally I would be "too busy" for. I went sledding twice with the kids and they loved it. I have sat down and played a quick game with John. Josh, John, Hannah and I colored and I lived. I actually told Matthew today that I would like to try playing Call of Duty today. He has been talking about it a lot and giving me lots of advice, so I'm pretty sure I'm locked in now. Next thing you know I'll be all geared up and air softing in the woods.
In order to do what we have been called to do, the illusions gotta go. I don't have time for them and they are lies, anyway. We homeschool and that's a priority. Iam beginning to realize how much it has helped develop the character of our children. My kids are NOT perfect. If you know us, you know that. However, my kids do love the Lord. If you asked me what was the most important thing I want to teach my kids I would say that it was that they would love the Lord, know Him, know His word, and never walk away. Education is very important, we don't neglect that, but education is not as important as salvation. I need to frequently remind myself of that.
Today in church, during worship, I had an image of myself kneeling on the floor in the middle of a big mess in my house. In that image, my eyes were closed, hands open, surrender. I was surrendering my life and will to God. It's far from perfect, but it's my life. I have failed my husband and kids over and over, but I get a new opportunity every day to give it back to God and try again. I was reminded of my purpose and given fresh vision and direction. I was also encouraged. This is my family. Not someone elses. I need to please only two people, Jesus and my husband. If they are happy, then it's a good day.
So, when you come over. Be warned. My kids don't have polished manners and social graces. My fault, but we're working on it. My house may have hidden surprises. Know that if I had more time, I would take care of them. We love to visit. We love coffee, tea, conversation, and home grown music. So, to quote my mother, "Shovel off a chair and sit down! Do you want a cup of coffee?"