Once upon a time, I was a slob.
It’s true, being neat is not my strong suit, but I comfort myself by knowing that I am creative, and loving, and fun.
Except then after a while I wasn’t fun, and I wasn’t all that neat either. I was just going through the motions of being sorta neat, and really grouchy about it.
So, although I have strengthened my housekeeping muscles throughout the years, it is not unusual to find a mess in my home. Some of you may cringe and call me gross. I’m starting to be cool with that.
And that’s where I found myself this morning as I was leaving to drop the kids at school and head to work. On my kitchen island there was a stack of mail and school papers. There were pans in the sink from last night’s dinner. The breakfast dishes hadn’t been put in the sink. The kids’ car trip bags (paper, markers, LeapPads) still piled up on the floor. I wish I had taken a picture. It was a mess.
And now, a dramatic reenactment my likely reaction a year ago: This place is disgusting! And I already have so much to do. I feel so overwhelmed. I’ll never get anything important done today because I can’t even think about anything else until I’ve cleaned up this kitchen which will probably take all afternoon. What would people think of me if they saw this kitchen? I am a mess and a failure. I’m so tired and I’m mad at myself and everyone else I live with for being so lazy.
My actual reaction this morning: This place is a wreck! Cleaning up in here is on my Must Do list for when I get home from work because it really bothers me. But…then again, the reason it’s a mess is because we were away from home all weekend having fun as a family, and we had so many great adventures that when we stumbled home last night we were EXHAUSTED and let our stuff drop at the door and then focused on truly important things, like food and baths. This mess is a testimony of how fun and happy our family is, and also that we are not super neat people, and that’s okay, because scattered people can also be good people, and my scattered crew are all well-rested, with full bellies and happy faces. And actually, now that I look with the clear eyes of a sane person, I can see that it’s not actually that bad. It will take 15 minutes, tops. In fact, I’m going to tell my kids to put their breakfast plates in the sink right now, because they are perfectly capable of doing so. And they did it! They are such good kids and love to help around the house. I’m a good mom and I’m doing a bang up job managing this joint.
Does it sound like I was talking myself into it? Well, I was a bit. I’m still new to being a fun, happy, mom, so sometimes it takes an overenthusiastic inner monologue. But I think I’m worth the effort. And did you notice that when I saw the mess as a by-product of the fun, everything looked sunnier. The kitchen was not nearly as bad as I thought it was.
One of the best ways to make motherhood more enjoyable is to change the way we talk about it, even if we’re talking to ourselves. This is not a free pass to let the rodents take over, but I have a feeling that if you’ve read this far, that’s not your issue.
What’s got your off balance today? Can you change the angle from which you view it? Start by listing the top three things that make your life great and how those things are present in what’s agitating you. It doesn’t mean you stop trying to do better (trust me – I am still working hard to keep a neater kitchen!). It just means that things can be pretty sweet even if (or especially if!) they aren’t perfect.