Leave the Dishes in the Sink

In my head, I am the kind of woman who sweeps and mops daily, vacuums and dusts regularly and cleans the bathrooms once a week. In reality… I’m far from it. And it’s finally beginning to dawn on me that “ne’er the twain shall meet”. Keeping a house clean can be a monumental challenge amidst the day-to-day tasks of parenting, freelance work, relationship-building and just plain living. It’s the kind of thing that can really get me down, at the end of a long day of balancing priorities and accomplishing just the necessities, to have to empty the dishwasher again, clean up the dinner mess again, start the laundry again, fold and put away the clothes again. It is a never ending cycle and it is not an easy one to maintain. At the end of most days, I just want to sit. Maybe read a book. Maybe.

So, I’m slowly coming to a mental conclusion: my standards are just going to have to change. Normally, this would be a bad thing. No one wants to lower their standards — this means settling for less, degrading the ideal, undermining the barely-attainable goals after which we have always sought. But maybe it’s not such a bad thing when it means prioritizing the more important standards over those less critical. What’s critical to me is making time for my family; striving toward a deeper relationship with God; investing energy in the upbringing of my son and my relationship with my husband; seeking after the welfare of others before self, and using my vocational gifts to do so. Those things take a lot of time and energy. And sometimes, after spending a full day pursuing those things, I don’t really want to do much else. And sometimes, that’s OK.

I’m realizing it’s not worth stressing over the newest coffee stain in the carpet or the hardened bits of baby food that stick to the kitchen floor until I make time to scrub it. Those things aren’t as important as making time for a daily devotional, reading a book to my son, or spending some quiet time at the end of the day with my husband. The house may be a little messier and we may not have guests over as often to admire our pristine rural setting (haha)… but I believe I may be a better wife, mother, woman for it.

Especially when someone is there to remind me that he’s watching and learning. So, I guess I do clean often enough for him to recognize it… and it’s so encouraging (and cute) to see him imitating me in that way. But yes, that’s a giant orange stain on his shirt from lunch. And for now, I’m going to say that’s good enough.

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