I’ve never been a very good housekeeper. Part of my not-so-good-housekeeping comes from a complete lack of motivation and part comes from a lack of knowledge. Yes, my mom made me do chores as a kiddo, but I think I lack the big picture on housekeeping. I binge a bit, cleaning like a crazy person for a week and then let everything slip back into a dusty haze for the rest of the month. Sometimes I simply forget about things–like cleaning my microwave or dusting or that creepy place under my bed.
When Nora was born, our house wasn’t “clean” per se, but everything was tidy and I’d just tackled a few big projects (like organizing the linen closet) that I wanted done before I had a newborn. Our friends also cleaned the house while we were at the hospital, so everything looked awesome coming home.
Enter newborn fog. If you’ve ever had a newborn, you know what I’m talking about. It’s amazing how a reasonably productive, intelligent and interesting woman can turn into little more than a baby-feeding zombie for a few
weeks months after she has a baby. Not that my house didn’t get an occasional frenzied clean up during N’s early days, but if you were brave enough to come over during the last few months, you know how badly the house needed some loving.
A word on clean houses: I’m not a clean-freak (read the title and first sentence of this post again if you’re not sure). I don’t think a house needs to be spotless to be a happy home. What I do think is important is maintaining your home to your standard. If that means dusting once a year but having a clean kitchen or scrubbing your bathroom but ignoring the kiddo clutter, then don’t feel any condemnation from me or anyone else! When I was a new wife, I wanted a spotless house all the time. I quickly realized it took work to maintain and I really didn’t know how to do it. My ideas of what a home should be have morphed as my life has changed and I’ve (hopefully) matured.
In brief, I want my home to be peaceful and welcoming and restful. I used to get close to this ideal only when people were coming over. If you stopped by unannounced, “peaceful” is not the word you would use to describe the house. Now that Nora is a little older and I’ve adjusted a bit to my life of having two kids, I’m restarting my engines. Only, instead of having a company-ready home once or twice a week, I’m aiming to have a welcoming place all the time. This means No Dish Left Behind has been instituted in my kitchen instead of my former policy of ignoring dishes until Chris got home to do them (for reals, I did that). This means frequent wiping and sweeping and picking up and and and…
Did you know that keeping your house clean when you have a toddler is hard work? I want to work with joy. I’ve chosen to pursue a path that will keep my house not just tidy but fairly clean on a daily basis. It means I have to reorient my thinking from individual chores to a global picture of my home. It means I can’t flop down on the couch the moment both children are down for their naps (most days). For me it means setting aside laziness and selfishness to do my job well. Sometimes I forget that this SAHM gig really is my job and I fail to treat it the same way I would a paying position. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, ” Colossians 3:23. I used that verse all the time at my last job, and need to remind myself of it now when I want to be lazy or selfish.
And more than helping me to be motivated, I want Paul’s exhortation to the Colossians to remind me who the glory should go to. If I’m cleaning my house to get a pat on the back from all of my visitors, then I should go back to the messy place we were at before. It would be better than to steal praise from the One who is my all sufficient provider.
So if you’re in the ‘hood, stop by for a visit, help me fold my laundry or mop my floors and then we can enjoy a cuppa in a peaceful home.