Seriously, it is maddening...simply maddening. Monday I went "clean the house crazy." My kids always know when it is coming because, according to them, I turn up the music loud and have a look of determination about me. Well, I set to work cleaning from top to bottom, room to room. I even vacuumed the ceiling fans. So what is maddening about that?
Well it is only 3 days later and guess what? My house looks like a bomb went off in it...seriously I do not even know where some of this stuff comes from. And what is happening inside of me? Well I can feel what Jill Savage in her new book, No More Perfect Mom , calls the "Mommy Monster," rising up within me. Ain't nobody got time for that!
The Mommy Monster says the following things, either out loud or to herself, "No one appreciates me around here." "Why do I even bother." "I am living with a bunch of slobs." "Maybe I will just go on strike and then we will see if anyone notices." She might cry, or yell, or even pout. She is called a monster for a reason. And I can feel her trying to push her way out today. Here is a picture of my living as I sit, right in the middle of it, typing this blog.
Scary isn't it? And that is just one room! Really I mostly want to cry, but what good would that do? Before we had kids, that whole first year of our marriage, I enjoyed a clean house. I am an organizer and a cleaner, a place for everything and everything in it's place. But 20 years, and 7 kids later...well a clean house is next to impossible. Jill Savage says it like this, "Of course, each season of motherhood is unique. Kid clutter comprises different kinds of toys and “stuff” depending on the age of your children." She goes on to say that the infant years are full of rattles, and baby items everywhere, the preschool years have puzzles and interactive games, the grade school years are made up of pieces. Legos, barbie doll accessories, etc. The teen years are made up of sports bag, music gear, iPods, and in my opinion, shoes! The problem here is we have the infant stage, the preschool stage, the grade school stage and the teen stage, all at the same time! Add into that the college stage, where when our son is home so is all of his stuff...and it is a recipe for crazy!
Two things are coming into play and bringing out the Mommy Monster in me. One, I am not really cleaning the house for my family. I am cleaning the house for me. I like a clean house. I like things organized and put away. And I will look bad if it isn't clean and someone stops over. Me, Me Me! However, I am reminded of the Scripture verse from Colossians chapter 3 verse 23 that tells us, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, and not for man." I am not approaching this clean house thing with that mind set at all.
The second thing that is coming into play is I am not allowing myself grace. I am listening to the negative self talk in my head instead of the voice of truth. I say in my head, "Marla, you are such a failure. You are home all day, you should have finished that laundry before you went to bed." But the truth is, I had finished 3 loads of laundry, made lunch and supper, changed a million diapers, helped 2 kids with homework, and gave 3 kids baths. I am a Type A personality, and when I make a "To Do" list, I expect myself, and others, to check everything off before the day ends. The truth is though, that sometimes life happens. Unexpected needs arise, a friend needs some counsel, a child needs a listening ear, and people should always take precedent over my list.
One other thing I need to keep in mind is that being a stay at home mom differs from when I was working. As a teacher, I made progress in what I did, I wrote a weekly lesson plan and moved forward with that, chapter by chapter, book by book, test by test, until we arrived at the end of the year, all educated and ready to move on. As a stay at home mom, I do and redo the same tasks several times a week, if not several times a day. Does that make sense? So I often feel like I have accomplished nothing when I really have accomplished it, I just have to reaccomplish it! (I love making up words!)
So today I am giving myself some grace, I am writing this blog when the self talk says I should be cleaning, and when I am done here, I am going to go play cars with my two year old. I will clean the house later, maybe!