What you’ll find at my house

I’ve shared before how much I like Pinterest.  I really do.  I’ve found lots of yummy recipes and some great activities for my kiddo through Pinterest. I’ve found things that make me laugh and others that make me think.  I also often come across all sorts of Pins telling me how I can organize my house, maintain a rigorous cleaning schedule and have a laundry room that looks like it came straight from the pages of “Better Homes and Gardens.”  These aren’t bad Pins and I know there are lots of people who find them helpful or aspirational.  Or surely there must be since there are so many Pins and blogs telling you these things.  I’m just not a person who finds them helpful or aspirational.

I have two small children.  One is 4; the other just turned 1.  Having a clean house with them around is hard to say the least.  I know moms with children the same age as mine who have immaculate homes.  Good for you!  I sincerely mean that.  Good for you!  But, that’s not how my home is.  I have felt bad about that.  I have felt guilty about that.  I have felt incompetent because I don’t have it all together.  I’m learning to relax a bit.  It’s a process.

So, in case you decide to stop by my house unannounced (or even announced sometimes!), here’s what you might encounter.

There will be toys on the floor.  My 1-year-old loves to get his toys, his sister’s toys, the dog’s toys and pretty much anything he can get his hands on and move them to random places throughout the house.  Yes, I could follow after him picking them up and putting them away, but he’d just get something else out in the meantime.  And I just plain don’t have the time to follow after him constantly picking up toys.  So, if you come over, chances are high you’ll find toys on the floor.

You’ll also find toys on the furniture and probably on the counters and even in the bathroom.  Yep, they get around.  My 4-year-old is way better about putting away her toys, but she’s a preschooler and she struggles to put things away, too.

There will be crumbs on the carpet, table and kitchen counters.  Are they all horrible all the time?  No.  Are there times when they are?  Yes.  Do you know how hard it is to vacuum with toys strewn about, a 1-year-old trying to chew on the cord to the vacuum cleaner and a 4-year-old pretending that both she and the dog are scared of the vacuum cleaner?  It’s not an easy feat.  And I’m not touching the vacuum during the boy’s naptime.  No way on this earth I’m going to risk messing with his sleeping.  Don’t get me wrong, I do vacuum, but it just takes a great amount of forces aligning in order to happen sometimes.  As for the table and kitchen counter crumbs, those just happen in the midst of three meals a day for four people.  I always intend to wipe them up.  Many times I get that far.  Many times I also get interrupted with someone needing something.

There will be a pile of jackets in the corner of the dining room.  Getting all of our coats on and off and getting them all the way into the coat closet two rooms away is a challenge.  Have I mentioned having to keep the boy out of the dog’s food and water dishes?  Or from pressing every single button on every single electronic he comes across?

There could be a laundry basket filled with folded clean laundry sitting somewhere.  I do a decent job of getting dirty laundry to the garage for washing and drying.  (Our washer and dryer are in the garage, which presents a challenge in and of itself in having to leave the kids in the house unattended.  Hello, naptime!)  I even do a decent job of bringing them back into the house and getting them folded.  But, sometimes they stay in the basket because by the time I get them folded, then it’s time for the baby boy to take a nap and his room is adjacent to every other room where I put folded laundry: my bedroom, my daughter’s bedroom and the bathroom.  So, sometimes a basket of folded clean laundry sits somewhere for a day before I get a chance to put it away.

There will be boxes of crackers or bags of pretzels sitting on the kitchen counter.  We don’t have a pantry.  We have cabinets and sometimes they aren’t super user friendly or spacious enough.  Sometimes a few things stay on the countertops instead.

There may be crayons, markers, construction paper, scratch paper, safety scissors and/or coloring books on my kitchen table. My daughter loves art projects.  She loves drawing, coloring, painting and cutting.  A fair amount of time, any of her supplies are on the kitchen table rather than in her craft drawer because they keep her busy and happy when I’m doing things like making meals or taking care of her brother.

However, in the midst of our lived-in house, you’ll find other things if you come to visit.

There will be a 4-year-old happily making a card or drawing a picture for someone she loves.  She’ll be chattering about it at the table and asking how to spell words. She may be trimming paper and making a mess, but she’ll be smiling and having fun. She’ll be doing something for someone else exhibiting the kind, generous spirit she has.  She may take a break to give her brother a hug or help him find a toy he’s dropped.  She will sometimes be found in the kitchen helping her mama make a variety of things from freshly squeezed lemonade to whole wheat pumpkin bread.

One of my two adorable little ones going about his business recently of spreading toys throughout my house like this toy blood pressure cuff that belongs to his big sister.

There will be a 1-year-old traipsing around with a sippy cup or any variety of toys from a play hairbrush to a toy helicopter to a Disney princess figurine to a plastic toy wrench.  He’ll be doing his little toddler walk that’s sort of bow-legged and be checking out what his sister is doing.  He’ll stop along the way to give you the biggest, happiest smile anyone has ever seen.  He’ll look up at his sister with adoration and love.  He’ll pause for a minute to snuggle with his mom and then go about his merry way.

There will be a mama doing her best to take care of them and play with them and love them. She’ll be letting some things slide, like crumbs on the counter, just so she can sit on the floor and let both kids come and go in and out of her lap.  She’ll be petting the dog and throwing his ball.  Or she’ll be playing peek-a-boo as she folds laundry.  She may be pretending to be the little girl while the little girl pretends to be the mommy.  She may also sometimes be hiding in the bathroom for just a minute of calm.  She will be struggling, loving and surviving.

There will be a daddy coming and going from his home office.  He’ll be getting work done, taking conference calls and letting the dog in and out.  He’ll take breaks to tickle the 1-year-old and appreciate the art or tower building skills of the 4-year-old.  He’ll help the 4-year-old into her coat so he can take her to dance class or preschool.  He’ll stop by the kitchen to talk to his wife.  He will be loving, encouraging, supporting and surviving.

There will be a family living life together.  They’ll be loving each other.  The kids will be kids, but by God’s grace they will be loved and secure and know that they can count on their family no matter what.  They will know they are safe and protected.  They may not know what it is like to have a perfectly clean and organized home, but they won’t mind one bit.  There are too many other things to have fun doing.

Should you stop by unannounced, you’ll find us living life.  You’ll find us in the fray.  In a few years our house will be easier to keep clean.  You won’t find baby toys strewn about.  We’ll be dealing with other challenges and new phases.  We’ll get there when we get there. For now, I’m trying to embrace the fray and chaos of life with little ones.  I’m trying to ease up on myself and my expectations of what I can and can’t manage.  And I’m learning to not apologize for the things I simply can’t get to.  My children don’t care.  They want me more than they want a perfectly clean and organized home.  That’s what is important at the end of the day.  And that’s what I want to give them.

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