This was written almost three years ago when my oldest child was in school full days and I had my youngest at home with me.
(don’t miss the beautiful poem below)
Being a mom, a stay at home or work at home mom, can be a tug-o-war sometimes. When you work outside of the home you aren’t surrounded by all the things that ‘have to be done’ during the day. No dirty dishes staring at you; no stairs cluttered with toys, clothes and shoes; no wood floors with footprints, spills or dirt taunting you; no overflowing laundry baskets needing to be emptied. I know - I’ve worked outside of the home before and when you’re at work, your busy with work. Even if you wanted to take care of stuff at home - you couldn’t. But ever since becoming a SAHM/WAHM, I find I struggle with balancing ‘taking care of my home’ and ‘creating a home’. I have all these things staring at me everyday - which isn’t easy when you have tendencies like me. I like organization. I like clutter-free rooms. I like dirty dish-free kitchens. I’m one of those. Yet, when I have all those ‘to-do’ jobs looking at me all the time - I also have two bright blue eyes staring at me too!
Sometimes I have to remind myself why I chose to stay home when I had children. To raise my children, to spend time with them, to nurture them. Not to ignore them each and everyday so I can ‘get stuff done’. Don’t get me wrong - I certainly don’t neglect my house. It’s clean, dishes are done throughout the day, laundry is done every week (and clothes get put away the same day), the floors get swept - but I don’t make those my first priority everyday.
My children come first. I have to get my daughter off to school by 7:45 and then it’s me and my buddy, my son. I make sure he’s the first thing on my ‘to-do’ list. We play Tarzan, we take nature walks, we make forts, build block towers, go to the park, have picnics on the living room floor - and we love every minute. At the end of the day I love to hear him talking about the basketball that he got in the hoop or the worms he found in the garden. I look at his dirty clothes covered with half of the backyard, food, markers and paint. This means he had an active and productive day. Sure, I don’t always have a clean kitchen as early in the day as I’d like - but I’ve learned to let go of that. I’ve also learned to have him help me with all my chores and he loves that he’s such a good helper for mommy.
I know some people get carried away on both spectrums. Some people live in one big mess because they play all the time, others live in one squeaky clean house with lonely kids - because they work all the time. I’ve learned to balance that out. I teach my kids the importance of taking care of what you have been given. Our clothes, shoes, toys, furniture…our house. I also try to instill in them the importance of play, using their imagination and being creative. Just clean up after yourselves when you're done!
I found this poem the other day and I really liked it. It reminded me of the season I’m in right now. One child in elementary school and one 4 year old boy who is with me everyday! I hope you enjoy it and realize how important this time with your children can be.
We only have a few short years with our children wanting to spend time with us, before it’s us wanting to spend time with them (and they may not want to at this point). Cherish the relationships you have, the children in your home, the spouse you married - this is what matters. Your house will get messy - this is a truth. It can always be cleaned. You won’t always have the opportunity to watch your young child find excitement in the crunching of the autumn leaves, their pride in a finger painting masterpiece they created or just holding hands while you take a walk.
Live on Purpose!
I Took His Hand and Followed
My dishes went unwashed today,
I didn't make the bed,
I took his hand and followed
Where his eager footsteps led.
Oh yes, we went adventuring,
My little son and I...
Exploring all the great outdoors
Beneath the summer sky
We waded in a crystal stream,
We wandered through a wood...
My kitchen wasn't swept today
But life was gay and good.
We found a cool, sun-dappled glade
And now my small son knows
How Mother Bunny hides her nest,
Where jack-in-the-pulpit grows.
We watched a robin feed her young,
We climbed a sunlit hill...
Saw cloud-sheep scamper through the sky,
We plucked a daffodil.
That my house was neglected,
That I didn't brush the stairs,
In twenty years, no one on earth
Will know, or even care.
But that I've helped my little boy
To noble manhood grow,
In twenty years, the whole wide world
May look and see and know.
By Mrs. Roy L. Peifer