Maybe it’s the rainy, spring weather (and corresponding mud tracking in on my floors).
Maybe it’s the compilation of clutter after being cooped up in the house all winter.
Maybe it’s because my kids have been on a lazy streak.
Or, quite possibly, maybe I’m just trying too hard and it’s all caving in on me.
I have no idea why, but the ugly truth remains-
I cannot keep my house clean these days.
Notice I said I cannot keep my house clean. I am cleaning my house. All the time, it seems! But keeping it clean is quite a different story.
After frustration, tears, and a melt down this week (ahem!), I came to a few conclusions about homeschooling and homemaking. You can call these survival techniques, brain washing, or whatever else you want to call them…
But here are three things I believe every homeschooling mom needs to remember about homemaking-
Relationships Are First
Obviously this one has to go first since it’s “first,” right? Too often, this one gets booted down to last place in our list of priorities (at least, that happens in my house sometimes).
I’m not suggesting that our children get to live like pigs while Mom does all the work, just to keep little Junior and Sally happy and feeling “loved.” But, truly, what is more important in a home than the hearts of the people who live there?
And, just to bring that down to earth a little: what is more important in a messy bedroom other than the little people who live there? (I have to remind myself of this one a lot!)
In our quests to be
Super Woman great homemakers, sometimes it’s really easy to forget the whole point, and that’s loving well, not just living well.
Bless my heart, I used to think that the harder and longer I had to work at something (a meal, a project, or whatever), the better it proved what a great homemaker I was.
After five kids and seven years of homeschooling, I’ve sort of gotten over that bunch of bologna.
Most week days, we eat on paper plates, dine on left-overs, sandwiches, or other quick meals, and feel like we’ve done heroics if the dishes are washed and the living room is presentable at the end of the day.
Life is already complicated enough, so don’t make it harder by burdening yourself with ridiculous expectations.
Maybe your sister is a gourmet cook. Maybe your friend sews, or crafts, or builds rocket ships for science projects. Hurrah for them! I eat sandwiches on paper plates and let my kids stand up and wiggle while they work through a math page. Hurrah for us!
Simplify, my dear, simplify.
Perfection is a Mirage
That means it doesn’t exist.
Not in the real world, anyway, and especially not in my world as a homeschooling mom.
Two of the biggest lies I have ever believed:
(1) If I can just do the right things in the right way, my life and home will be perfect and stay perfect.
(2) When I finally reach perfection, I will be happy.
I have yet to find a pathway to perfection, or anyone else who has found it.
Furthermore, I have found that I can be happy right where I’m at on any old day of the week, and that includes the days when I’m up to my elbows in clutter, crumbs, and what feels like chaos.
Am I giving permission to homeschooling moms to be sloppy homemakers and passive Pollys about structure, routine, and cleanliness?
No ma’am, I’m surely not.
But I am giving you permission to enjoy your imperfect day, and the people you are sharing it with.
And I am readily confessing that my life as a homeschooling mom means that I deal with a lot of messes, and I’ve learned that going to bed with a sticky kitchen floor isn’t the end of the world.
Going to bed with a child whose heart is closed toward me, or a husband who just got chewed out because he dropped his dirty laundry on the bathroom floor… now that is something I should be worried about.
But messy floors? No.
I can clean the floors tomorrow and, yes, they will get messy again. But I can never undervalue the worth of the relationships I am building and the character I am training into the hearts of my children.
Those eternal things can happen in the midst of a less-then-perfect-home.
And those eternal things can also be overlooked or undermined in my relentless pursuit of perfection.
Ultimately, I am a steward of my home. That simply means that taking care of my home is my privilege, my responsibility, and my act of worship to God. Home is where I serve my family, train my children, and welcome my friends.
This place called home, this imperfect, crazy place, is where I can love big, forgive deep, and live out beautiful, grace-filled Christianity every single overwhelming day of the week.
Lord, help me never forget that!