There were a number of things that I would and wouldn't do. My children, for instance, wouldn't watch television. Why? Aside from all the hoity-toity, better-than-you reasons, they wouldn't need to. Because my children would be free to play and have fun. Not only would it be allowed, but encouraged. And Mommy would be right there joining in.
I certainly would do nothing to squash their creativity. Drag all my chairs and blankets into a room to make the world's biggest fort? Sure thing. Make mashed potato sculptures decorated with peas and corn before eating them? Absolutely! My children would be allowed to do all those things I loved to as a child, but always got yelled at for. The mess created would be nothing to me. Whether it be paint and glue from art projects or stains from feeding "myseff" blueberry yogurt.
Fast forward to the present. My daughter is too young to drag all the chairs around, but I am much more interested in figuring out how to get her to put her toys away than I am in sitting among them to play with her. I give her dry finger foods to feed herself and insist on holding the spoon for anything that might ooze off. I don't even like to let her eat fruit outside of her high chair because of the sticky juice stains on my tile and carpet. Needless to say, we've never even considered doing an art project.
I am not making time to let her explore. She loves to splash in the water, but I rarely bathe her and we've only turned on the sprinklers once. She is so happy with little things that I so rarely provide. I am shortchanging her and stealing her childhood, as surely as mine was stolen. And I have no excuse. I am just lazy and don't want the inconvenience. I look around at all the chores I have. Both the maintenance, and the improving. There's just no time for silliness.
After all, I have a new baby on the way and so much to do before the arrival. Boxes to unpack, junk to be put in its place, finding those places to begin with.... I want so desperately to have a beautiful home. One that is pleasing and comforting to relax in. Where everything both has a place and is located there. This is a thing I've never had. Consequently achieving it is harder than it should be. Simply put, I don't know how it's done.
|Squiggle showing you a sample of my housekeeping skills.|
It is a dream that I, and my husband, have shared for years. Many hours are spent in its pursuit. But I can't continue to sacrifice our present to chase that future. My child and husband need me now. As nice as a clean living area would be, my family does not need a model house as much as they need a loving home. They need a mommy and wife more than a maid.
I have to believe that with God's help I will find a way to give my family both in the future. But there are many years in which to clean, and relatively few in which to enjoy my child(ren).
I don't want my kid's memories of me to be someone who was always nagging about cleaning, despite never meeting the goal. That is the household memory I have, and it saddens me. My hope is that they recall their childhoods as joyful. That Mommy was always there for them, even if there were other things to do.
|The expression I prefer to see on my child.|
So here's my goal moving forward. I will do at least one "special" fun thing a day. When Squiggle is awake, I will focus on her. My cleaning will involve her or be done during naps. Sure her "help" will make each task that much longer. But we will be together. Which is really what she wants and needs.
|Squiggle "helping" Mommy.|
And if the house isn't perfect when Wriggly finally arrives? Well, then I suppose I will have another helper on my journey.