As I sit and write this, the vacuum stands against the wall, reminding me that I swore up and down last weekend that I would get the bedrooms vacuumed but that task is still undone. The dishes are piled high in the sink and the dishwasher just finished washing a load so it's obvious that I was pretty far behind before I even started. My stove and my sink have the tell tale signs of being wiped down but not really being cleaned. And the humidifier next to the dog bowls has been unplugged lest the little one turn it on and it starts to spew out a nasty smell, one that I know about because I smelled it a few days ago but have yet to actually sort out why on earth it is smelling.
The last ten days or so have been pretty good in terms of how I feel. But today was a kick in the pants that pulled me back down. And so, having worked on Friday, I feel like I'm behind again, a feeling that I have felt all too often that last few months.
Things have to change. I have had to simplify. While I would not judge another mom for the choices she has made regarding how their family lives, there are certain things that I hold onto because they make me feel like a good mom. I rarely use convenience foods. It takes me just as long to make mac and cheese from scratch as it does to pull out the Kraft blue box. I like occasionally going a stretch farther and making bread or taco seasoning from scratch. I prefer not to buy things like snack crackers and sugary cereal. I have a system and an order to things that makes me life feel orderly. Things like how the school lunch calendar gets put into my family binder or how the mail gets gone through as soon as it is brought into the house. I have routines that help keep the family going, that keep the kids' bookbags emptied out, the laundry sorted and washed, and ensures we have clean silverware.
But when you are sick for even a day as a mom, it puts a lot of that on hold. When you are sick for weeks on end, it brings all of that to a screeching halt. It has been not much fun to watch my household management skills be crushed by nausea. I find myself having to think about why I cling so tightly to the "normal" way I do things. Why on earth does feeding my kids frozen pizza make me feel less skilled than feeding them homemade pizza that sits atop a homemade whole wheat crust? Why does it seem so earth shattering to make yourself use paper plates rather than regular dishes just so you can sort of keep the counters clear of dirty dishes? And why does the counter clutter and mountains of paperwork that just don't find their places take me to this place where I feel like the house will never be clean again?
My worth as a mom and wife somehow gets tangled up in all sorts of crazy things, doesn't it? A few weeks back, my friend, Lisa, who knew how I was feeling, showed up at my house demanding to do my dishes. As I said she really didn't need to, she grabbed the dish soap and started filling the sink with warm water. Not much was going to stop her other than being wrestled to the floor so she spent the next 10-15 minutes clearing out my sink. As I shared this story with another friend, that friend asked if it was hard to let Lisa do my dishes. I couldn't help but think what a silly question that was. (Not because my friend who asked it was foolish but because we as women are foolish.) Why should it be so hard to let a friend come and do my dishes? Because it seems an affront to who we are? Because it makes us feel like we are not doing a good job? Because we are too independent to let a friend dirty themselves with our crusted over stuff?
God did not design us as moms, as women, as people, to live our lives apart from others. Yet we insist that we do not need someone to start the water and put in the bubbles because we hate the thought of someone scraping the gunk off of our dirty dishes. As if they didn't mean the words they have said... As if their actions are not motivated by love and concern... We push aside the chance for our friends to love us deeply. And then wish for more meaningful connections in our lives.
And God did not design us to be people who find their purpose in the trivial things of life, things that have no eternal value, things like dirty floors and homemade bread. How quickly we make life about things that don't really matter. How quickly we find our worth in the tangible, seemingly unaware that God's crazy grace filled love is pouring over every moment.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
From the hymn "The Love of God" by Frederick Lehman
I wrote this last week. Thankfully, the vacuum has been put away, I have clean floors and clean counters. Still having a few moments of the ickies but I am so thankful to have more productive, feel good days.