I’m sitting here at four in the morning writing you this letter.
My two month old got sick and threw up all over my side of the bed. I’m now on the couch, with a towel on the floor beside me in case she has another round.
I’m in a medium amount of pain because she was only halfway done nursing when she threw up, and she was so miserable and sad afterwards that she never finished.
Now she’s sleeping fitfully on my lap and I am loath to move her to wake her up to eat more or to go pump, so I just wait, praying the build up doesn’t cause something worse like a clogged duct or mastitis.
I’m looking at my Christmas tree that is still in the living room even though we’re well into January. There are needles everywhere and half the branches are bare. At this point I’m wondering if the best idea is to just let them all fall off on the tree skirt, confined to one corner of the living room, rather than try to get it out the door–leaving a trail of needles through the whole house.
My other couch has a pile of laundry that’s been there for a week. It goes downstairs, but I’m always carrying a baby when I go down so every day I tell myself I’m going to grab it the next time.
In my kitchen there is one clean counter (which I am superbly proud of) and the rest are covered with art supplies, baby things, and bills.
My floors haven’t been mopped in over a year. I know this because we’re just about to the time when I was pregnant last year and I didn’t mop my floors through my whole pregnancy. By the time I wasn’t feeling sick 24/7, I was too uncomfortable and too tired to insist the big kids do it. Since then I’ve been too busy snuggling the baby.
And that, friends, is only the beginning. We won’t even get started on the state of the downstairs or the bedrooms.
Want to know the truth?
I’m not ashamed of or worried about any of it.
I waded through almost twelve years of infertility to get this little one on my lap, so being uncomfortable for a couple hours because I can’t nurse is so mild, something I’ll gladly sacrifice to hold her and comfort her while she’s sick.
My husband and big kids love shaking the tree and listening to the needles fall off. I have no idea why it fascinates them so much, but they’re so adorable with it–having pine needles all over for an extra couple weeks is nothing, really, in the scheme of life.
The laundry on the other couch is because someone gave me a huge bag of clothes for the baby. I’m so incredibly grateful and blessed by those who pass things on to us.And I’m still astonished that we actually need baby clothes around here! It continues to be a happy surprise every day!
I have lots of counter space in my kitchen because God miraculously provided it while we were building our house. I’m thankful for the space, for the art supplies that mean my 14-year-old is working at painting, for the baby stuff that means we have this precious little baby after all these years, and even the pesky bills because they mean we have phones and electricity and land to live on.
And those floors.
First of all, they look pretty good for not being mopped in a year. So, yay for God supplying the right color and durability for this family (oh, yeah, as I shared in my book, that flooring was a God-thing, too).
Second of all, the lack of mopping means I can honestly not be concerned about farmers or customers tracking anything into the house when my husband brings them in for coffee because the floors “already need mopping.”
Mama, if your house is bothering you, maybe it’s time to sit back and think about why things are the way they are.
Is your mud room covered with boots and coats and hats? Is it because you have multiple children who were excited to come inside and dropped everything in a rush? Were they too busy telling you about their day and got distracted before picking things up?
Are there crayons and papers all over some surface because your children were drawing or coloring a new masterpiece?
Are there dishes piled because a meal was made and consumed by your family and then they moved on to the next thing and failed to help clean? Maybe you planned to do the dishes but somebody needed your attention instead? Or maybe you were reading a really lovely book and grabbed a chance to finish it?
Are your floors dirty but your children laughing? Is your bedroom messy but your relationship with your husband good?
Are you lacking sleep but your babies know they are loved? Are your counters cluttered but projects and learning are taking place?
At the beginning of a new year, many times we feel the push to get organized or clean better or change something drastically–but don’t rush off, mamas. Don’t feel the embarrassment or shame or worry that the world tries to dump on you.
Stop and ask yourself why things are the way they are.
Sure, sometimes it’s laziness or a lack or skills or help that causes the upheaval in our homes, all things that might need to be addressed…but often, it’s not. Often it’s just the beautiful messiness of life.
And it’s okay to just be.
It’s okay if your house looks lived in. (It is!)
It’s okay if things are cluttered because your family is enjoying something silly like a dying Christmas tree.
It’s okay to have projects and piles and sleeping sick babies that need you to snuggle them.
You don’t have to make a resolution to change. (And if you did, don’t be afraid to change your mind instead of your house.)
Instead, let’s all make a resolution to acknowledge the reasons behind it all. Let’s stop and recognize and praise.
I’ve had lots of types of years in my lifetime. I’ve had years of traveling. Years of great joy. Years of deep sorrow. Years of a more disciplined cleaning schedule. Years of emptiness. Years of productivity. Years of grieving.
But how beautiful and calming and HOPEFUL would it be to have a year of acknowledging?
Or, at the very least, a moment. Right here. Right now.
Praise the One who has given us so much. Praise the One who fills our homes and our hearts.
Praise Him, dear mamas, for the privilege of little ones who need you and houses that get messy.
Tomorrow the baby might feel better so the kitchen and the laundry might get cleaned up, the tree might finally leave the living room, and the floors might sparkle–but for now, for this moment, let’s stop and acknowledge it all with the wonder it deserves.
What a gift! What hope! What life!
Photography: JenniMarie Photography