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SkyMoms > Parenting Tips

The Mess Will Always Be There But Our Kids Will Not

“No nickel tours of the upstairs of our house tonight,” I yelled from the landing at the top of the stairs down to the bottom of the stairs where my husband was fervently sweeping the entry way.“

No nickel tours of any part of our house tonight,” he yelled back up at me. With the kids gone for the day, we were “tidying up” in anticipation of eight dinner guests because our house looked like there’d been some sort of an explosion. And by “tidying up,” I mean throwing things behind closed doors that were not intended to be opened during our party.

These days, we just can’t keep up with it, and the dog days of summer make it so much more challenging.

This is a photo of the cleanest room on the second floor of my house. (Yes, that's a camp trunk, which has been sitting in this exact place since June 5.)

And this is a photo of the hallway our children share up there. I’m not sure how someone hasn’t broken a leg.

So many people. So much stuff. Never a respite from the foot traffic or the mess.

As we swept Legos into a pile in our living room to put them back in the “Random Lego Bin,” I expressed my love/hate relationship with those maniacal little building blocks. I love them when they’re neatly organized in the storage cubbies we bought from Ikea. I hate them when they’re anywhere else.

“Someday, we’ll miss the Legos,” my husband replied. “Just not today.”

And that’s the struggle isn’t it?

It’s a war between “someday” and today. We long for a house that looks like the cover of the Pottery Barn catalog, and behind every cabinet and closet door, The Container Store. We want our home to be a place of rest, where we can kick off our shoes and nestle into the sofa for mindless television without a gazillion to-dos staring us in the face. We long for our closets to be organized, our papers to be filed, our pantries to be stocked, and the laundry to be done.

We long for the toys to be put away, for the dishwasher to be empty, for the bills to be paid, and for the dust bunnies to be under someone else’s sofa...just this once.

Some days, we just long for a clean toilet.

And yet we know that the very small people who create a very large share of all this work are the same people who bring us our greatest joy. Our children.

We have our children today. “Someday,” we won’t.  Today, the Lord softened my heart while I was folding the laundry, of all things. As I sat on the hearth in front of our fire place where I always tackle this task, I came across a small pair of white Minion boys underwear. I’ve sorted this pair of underwear more times than I can count, but today, I noticed how tiny they are.

"Yes, they’re tiny today," said the Lord. "But someday, they won’t be tiny anymore."

Ouch. That one hurt.

So moms, as we crawl through these last dog days of summer, may we give ourselves permission to get caught up in what is today. Let us not be discouraged by the messes or the task lists. But let us be encouraged by the joy that is our children, messes and all.

Let us be kind to ourselves regarding the condition of our homes.

Let us allow the interruptions of our children to be our ministry.

And let us release any task that isn’t mission critical, knowing that those tasks will greet us with open arms “someday.”