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I love to create, be a mom, a wife, a teacher, and a Jesus follower. These are just some of the musings about who I am!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

For All the Moms Out There...

I have been wanting to write this post for a while now.  You see, I have a confession.  My house is a mess.  I haven't dusted in months (quite possibly since last summer--that's 2012 people), I haven't mopped since the fish bowl spilled on the floor in December last, and my counter looks like the junk drawer threw up on it. 
Now, here's where it gets good...I DON'T CARE!!  Ok, so maybe that's a little bit of a lie.  I do care--a little teensy bit.  The part of me that cares is the voice of my mother ringing in my head.
She came to visit me at the start of this month.  After I returned from the retreat for which she was babysitting the boys we had a conversation.  It went something like this:
Mom:  "Tracy, we need to talk."
Me:  "Ok Mom, what's up?"
Mom:  "Did you know dust mites are bad for your health?  I dusted and I really think you need to do a better job of cleaning."
Me:  "I know, but I just have different priorities."
Mom:  "I taught you better than that..."
Me:  "Yes, you did.  You are a great house cleaner, but I just don't have that as a top priority right now."
Silence ensued...
And the dust llamas spit in frustration.
Ok, so let's get real here.  That picture isn't of a dust llama...those reside under the tv console and master bed (they are so big that the term "dust bunny" just doesn't apply).  Let's also be frank about this:  my mom is a great house keeper.  She taught me from a young age how to clean things exceptionally well.  She did her job as a mom.  And for that I am thankful.  I know how to pass the white glove test!  The thing is, I just don't want to.
It isn't my mother's fault my house isn't spotless...it is a choice I make.  Sometimes I detest having to make that choice.  Women, like it or not, are still judged on how their home looks when others come over. 
What if, WHAT IF we decided to see a woman's worth by the character of her heart, by the way she loves her children and husband, by the way she chooses to spend her time?  Aren't those the things that really matter? 

I realize that having a clean-ish house is necessary.  I don't want to live in squalor.  I want to take care of the nice things we've been blessed with.  What I do want to do is spend time making memories with my kids, with my husband, and with my community.

The phrase, "Excuse the mess, this mom is busy making memories with her kids" is my new motto. 
Women, mothers, BE FREE to live life, leave the dust on the floor, and live life.
PS.  Mom, I love you--and your clean house!

Update:  I have received a lot of positive feedback on this post.  Thank you!  I think young moms, in particular, are relating to the sentiment I'm trying to convey here.  I want to clarify something, however.  My house IS mostly clean.  My toilets are scrubbed, sheets changed, and counters wiped down regularly.  We, in now way, live in an unhealthy environment. 
I also want to add, this post is in no way meant to disrespect my mom.  I am sure it was hard for her to have that conversation with me...what I hope, instead, is that our dialogue will serve as a jumping off point for changing the expectations that are put on women.


'Jo' said...

Ha... Last month I found a HUGE spider web and egg sacks, plus the killing ground in the corner of my dining room. It occurred to me that, obviously... we miss that spot a lot. She remains there, because after all, she did manage to kill a lot of ants over the summer, so in mind, she's assisting with the house cleaning. (Egg sacs removed).

Jordan Baker said...

THANK YOU for this Tracy! This is for sure my number one struggle, every. single. day. I do know how to keep a clean house, but it sure as heck isn't a priority (right now). And I hate that exhausted/anxious/guilty feeling that hangs over me every time I choose to sit and relax or do something I enjoy...instead of cleaning. At this point, keeping an immaculate home will remain low on the priority list, but there will be lots of homemade food, dance parties, and family time :).

Eliza said...

Dust llamas! Haha!

I love going over to people's house and seeing their mess. (And love it that you posted it!!) It makes me feel like they trust me enough to see their real life. And then when they come to my house, I don't feel the need to rush around cleaning because I know they'd understand the mess.

Remember that family's house we stayed in in Camden? I often think of them and how they welcomed us all in to stay there, regardless of the dust and clutter. It was their warmth that impressed me and made their house most welcoming.

...And I haven't dusted since we moved in... ;)