Wednesday, June 1, 2011

please excuse the mess, we live here

I want to be the best.  At everything.  For me, mediocre is not an option.  And once a job has begun, it must completed.  No exceptions allowed (such as exhaustion, late nights, insurmountable obstacles, you name it...).  I've heard people say that I'm what they call a "perfectionist".

This is especially true when it comes to my housekeeping.  All or nothing.  Literally.  The entire house must be scrubbed, disinfected, cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, could-eat-directly-off-the-floor-spotless.... get the idea.

But what does this end up doing to me?  Exhausted discouragement.  Every.  Time.  There are days I feel defeated before I start.

I'm learning, "the reality is that people...circumstances...and things do not have the ability to be flawless.  Perfection on this earth is not possible...It's truly a relief once you and I realize that God doesn't expect us to be, do or make it all just right, all the time, in order to be valuable and compassionate friends, mothers, colleagues, or Christians.  Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."  (It's a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life by Joan C. Webb)

My solution?
  • I use my washcloth from my shower to wipe down the bathroom (shower, sink, toilet) after I get out of the shower on Mondays.  And I leave it at that.  Deep cleaning can happen another day!
  • I pick up and properly put back in place - what I can - from the bedrooms on Tuesdays.
  • I empty the fridge of uneaten leftovers on Wednesdays.  I mop only if I have the time.
  • I vacuum and dust when I can get to it.
  • I do, at least, one load of laundry a day.
  • Dishes are done once daily (minimum).  {I don't have a dishwasher}.
  • Counter-tops are wiped down, floor swept, each night after dinner.
  • I spend 10 minutes at the end of each day to go around find the "homes" of objects used during the day.
  • I am sure to REST on Sundays and do NO house-work, NO MATTER WHAT...even if the house is still a disaster.
  • I basically do what I can when I can.  And if I don't?  I don't beat myself up about it. 
I'm realizing that time in God's Word, time with my family, and time to have fun with friends is much more important than a clean house!  I tell myself, self, as long as the health department doesn't come and shut you down, you're doing fine...

So now?  I invite friends to drop-by, come-on-over, visit-me, whether or not ANY cleaning happens!  Is it embarrassing?  Sure!  Sometimes.  But it's a small price to pay for {happily} allowing those opportunities to nurture my very much needed friendships/relationships.  pssst...and do you want to know a little secret?  People who live, actually live, in their houses, do not have impeccably clean houses.  They, too, have crushed cheerios in their carpet, juice-stains on their couch, dishes in the sink, half-folded laundry, and toys all over the house!  So they'll understand!!  

My mother once said,
"The only rooms that look like the ones in magazines, 
are the ones in magazines!"

So sit back and relax while you drink your sweet tea on the porch.  The sweeping can wait.  The sunny day can't...

Today, this post is linked up to...


  1. you should see my house right now:) I LOVE your moms qoute- cracks me up:) and is TOO true! Just wait- the more kids you add to the house, the more messy it becomes and those perfectionist qualities will very quickly fade away:) I used to beat myself up because my house wasnt as cute, clean, picked up , everything has its place kinda house like my moms- but she reminded me that when she was my age in the midst of mothering little ones- her house was nowhere NEAR what it is know and you do what you can:)

  2. Yes, so very true. It's funny how even when I know the truth of this, I still need to be reminded of it from time to time. Otherwise, I stress out about it for sure!
    And sometimes, that smeary handprint on the window is just too precious to clean off! :)

  3. excellent! You write so good! And this is so true

  4. My mom always said that people are coming to see me and not my house. My dad's cancer really helped us put that into perspective!

  5. Anonymous6/22/2011

    "Cleaning the house while children are growing is like shoveling snow while it's still snowing!"

    That's a quote I have had on my wall for YEARS. I am a bit like you. Not quite as intense, but similar. Here's the thought that really made me give up a little (in all the right ways)... when I go to someone else's house and it's a little messy and imperfect, I feel more at home.

    Aaaaaahhhhhh.... that's nice!

    Also, now that my kids are 15, 19 and 22 let me just tell you a clean home is OVER RATED!!! I wouldn't say that to someone who has a house that's a mess. But for you... reminding yourself daily that time spent with the babe(s) is PRECIOUS and FLEETING.

    Here's perspective - I've come to realize that this is my last summer with my family in tact. Timothy is 22 and is ready to finally flee. That's good! But it's a startling realization that this is the last time my family will be as it has always been. *sigh* I love my kids... I mean I really LIKE these people! It'll be hard to let them go. Good, but hard.

    Ok -sorry... enough already!!! Just wanted to share. I'm so often inspired by your pictures and words. Thanks for sharing your life, Michelle.


  6. Thanks, Kirsten for your encouraging words! They are MUCH needed!!!


Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer's year - it brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul. -Unknown