A few days ago I walked into my house with no kids waiting for me and no kids in tow. It was weird. That happens…never. It was completely silent, but the aftermath of the day’s activities was apparent everywhere I looked.
There were cars on the floor and leftover snacks on the counter.
Three balloons sat lazily in a corner, discarded after the previous day’s mommy school activity.
Half of a travel toothbrush that I think Little Brother found in my bathroom several days ago lay on a shelf.
Several remotes were piled on top of the entertainment center out of reach so we don’t have to replace another one.
My house was a mess.
For a moment, I thought to myself what life would be like if I didn’t have these two crazy boys making messes all the time. I had a vague memory of when I first got married…when I rarely swept (because no one was intentionally throwing food on the floor) and when I didn’t have to worry about stepping on matchbox cars even if I wasn’t paying attention to the floor in front of me.
Our tiny apartment at the time, was almost always clean, partly because we were gone most of the day, partly because I had time every evening to straighten up messes, and partly because no one was following me around undoing everything I cleaned. For just a second, I longed for those days.
But closely following those images of my clean house came the thought, I chose this life.
I chose this life knowing that messes were part of the package. I chose it knowing that I wouldn’t get enough sleep. I chose it knowing that I was going to sacrifice a lot of personal comfort and freedom. And I’m glad.
This is my life. This is my JOY.
Then a smile crept over my face and I chuckled a little…because all the messes were evidence–evidence that my life is everything I ever dreamed it would be. The cars that meant I have healthy, inquisitive, active children. The crumbs in my kitchen proved that I have enough to eat and a comfortable house to live in. My husband’s shoes sitting by the door–evidence that I found the man that I wondered for years if he even existed, the man I will love forever.
It’s not a perfect life, but it is good. It is full of JOY.
Now, granted it’s easier to think of the chaos this way when I’m standing in a quiet house looking at it than when I’m surrounded by little boys who sometimes seem bent on destroying any order I try to bring to the house, but still….the truth was revealed in that quiet moment. I was grateful for the reminder that even though my life is exhausting, messy, and frustrating as I try to manage all my responsibilities and find time for my dreams, it is a wonderful life.
So next time my house looks like a tornado hit it (which is daily), instead of screaming at the universe in frustration, I’m going to try to remember that the mess is the evidence of my two little joys and the life we are building together.
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Nicole @ The Professional Mom Project
Love this! There are so many days I wonder the same thing and realize all of the “problems” – toys all over the floor, dirty piles of laundry to contend with, running out of cheese and strawberries every other day – are wonderful “problems” to have. Children are fantastic and we are lucky to have them 🙂 Found your post at #ShineBlogHop
Thanks for visiting! It’s sometimes hard to keep the craziness of motherhood in perspective, but I feel like the more I remind myself of these things, the more I enjoy my life.
Beautiful Meg, and so true. I love this line: “It’s not a perfect life, but it is good. It is full of JOY.” It shows that perfection is not what’s important in parenting–it’s the joy and goodness we find in the chaos of it all. Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful piece with us on #shinebloghop this week 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Maria! It’s so true that there is much joy to be found in the midst of the messes of life…and not just in parenting.
It is hard for me to love the mess – but sometimes I remember that it really means I have creative, inquisitive and exploratory kids!
Same here! Ky kids love to just dump things out all over for the sake of seeing the destruction in action. Sometimes, I’m so tempted to throw out all the play kitchen food! But…I’m glad they are curious little Georges. 🙂
This is so true! I remember before I had my son how relatively clean everything stayed. You know what, though? Wouldn’t trade this for the world! I love everything about being a mama! Thanks so much for making me smile tonight! Have an awesome week!
Life’s all about trade-offs, right? Like you said, we could have clean houses, but then we wouldn’t have these amazing little people that run around showing us how to appreciate all the little joys of life. Thanks for stopping by!
I once hear a wise woman say that someday her house would be clean and set back to perfect 90 degree angles…and she would be alone. I think of this often when I loose perspective. Loved this!
I love that! I have a similar quote that I love, and try to remember: “If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the piles and piles of laundry will disappear all too soon and that you will, to your surprise, miss them profoundly.” – Thomas S. Monson
I guess that is how I should feel about the water glass full of jelly beans I found under my son’s bed this morning. Joy. hehe
I’ve always said boys are like puppies, but maybe they’re also part squirrel…highly distractable and prone to hide things away for future consumption. 🙂