I'm going to let you in on a little secret: my house is a mess. We tore our kitchen out last week, we're cooking in the laundry room, we're eating in the school room, and everything else is scattered.
We used to eat right here...
It's also almond harvest. Typically, the dust is an inch deep over everything from September to November because the almond trees are shaken. A year's worth of dust goes flying off those trees and onto everything. Everything!
Living in the country is pretty and spacious, but Oh! The almond dust!
So, construction dust, almond dust, displacement, and ten generally messy people means my house will not be featured in Better Homes and Gardens anytime soon.
I struggle with this. I like "a place for everything and everything in its place". I like organization and cleanliness, I like living in a tidy environment and I don't like camping, even in my own house. I also like how people in catalogs live. Oh wait! That's right- there are no people living in those rooms in catalogs. They're completely staged.
I remember once hearing Regis Philbin talking about a photo shoot done in his home for a shelter magazine. He said he arrived home from work and didn't recognize the place. "Where did these flowers come from? In the history of my life we've never had a flower arrangement there". I think he was exaggerating a tad about not recognizing his home, but you get my drift.
I'm increasingly irritated by picture-perfect views of life with preschoolers. There's peace in our home (generally), and order and routine, but there is never perfection. If ever you've been made to feel like somehow you can't measure up to what's going on in my home, then I have failed in my mission. We can all be encouraged to improve areas that need improving, and to keep things tidy and clean. But if perfection or a catalog photo is your goal, maybe it's time to rethink your goals.
Two people in this house live in this room. I will refrain from naming them (Hayden and Nate).
I have been blessed with sisters-in-law who have gone before me in this child-rearing endeavor. I recently asked one of them what her philosophy was regarding her kids keeping their rooms clean. She said, "I knew that when they left our home, they were going to do whatever they wanted in their room/dorm/house anyway, and it was not a hill I was choosing to die on". True. I don't like to die on hills every single day. And yet, there is a common courtesy that needs to be learned. They could do a lot more picking up after themselves and I could do a lot less yelling in frustration. All in all, it's still not a hill I want to die on.
A snapshot of the living room, 9/26/2010
Let's briefly go over the above photo, just for humor's sake. That's a snow jacket there on the left. It was 96º here today. Harry Potter #7. A Hawaiian coin purse, a doll, a princess costume, various plastic thingies, a doll's arm sticking up from the floor (I think she's saying, "HELP! GET ME OUT OF THIS MESSY, DUSTY HOUSE!"), a snack container devoid of snacks. Why put it away after you've drained the contents, right?
I can make this perfect-house-thing an idol, or I can keep reminding myself that there really are more valuable things in life. I didn't say I won't expect others to pick up after themselves or to take care of what we have been given. But really, there are better things to occupy our time than making our home a showcase. Like this one: