I have a sign hanging in my kitchen that quotes the above quote. I like the quote...but honestly, I hate sticky floors. I hate messy kitchens. I hate laundry piles and dirty ovens. I am not the neatest person you'll ever meet, I'm not very good at dusting and washing the windows. But throughout the day, I am always cleaning. I do the dishes as I cook and bake. I put things away in-between everything we do. I can NOT leave the house when it is messy. I can't stand having an un-vacuumed floor. I'm crabby when the house is messy, especially when I've already cleaned it once that day.
I love a clean house. I feel so content when there's no mess, no clutter, and everything is in its place and candles are burning.
The problem is, I too often focus on cleaning. I'm always doing the dishes and saying , "Just a minute Alexys, I'm almost done." I clean while the girls are eating breakfast. I clean while they're watching a movie.
I hate cleaning. But I can't help but do it all the time. I try to let it go for half a day and focus on the girls more, but then I end up overwhelmed at the bigger mess that I have to clean up later. (Where the mess comes from with just 2 small girls & in a small place is beyond me, I can't even think about what the mess will look like in a bigger place with more kids!!)
For awhile, I really thought that it was okay for me to clean up while the girls were doing something like eating or watching a movie. But lately I have realized, they like it when I sit with them at the table. They like to just be with me and cuddle on the couch while watching a movie. They like to know that I am focusing on them and giving them my full attention.
The other day, our house was a disaster. I mean, almost messier than it's ever been. Jayson was working and Addyson was napping and all I wanted to do was clean. Meanwhile, all Alexys wanted to do was dance. She kept asking "Mom, come dance with me? Hold my hands!" The first couple times, I said "hold on Alexys." (I was doing the dishes) She kept asking. I started thinking about it & realized that these were the moments with my daughter that I would look back on and miss. The moments when all she wanted to do was dance with me. And I realized that I did NOT want to look back on these moments with regret, knowing that I passed them by because a clean house was more important than dancing with my daughter.
So we danced. For about an hour. Holding hands, dancing around the living room.
Of course, she had on her princess dress. She loves wearing it. She loves twirling and watching her reflection in the TV. She let me get a couple pictures at the end :)
I think it is important to maintain a clean house, but not at the expense of my children. They already grow up so quickly and I don't want them to grow up thinking that a clean house was my top priority. Wanting to do children activities all day already doesn't come naturally to me, so being obsessed with cleaning doesn't help anything. I want to WANT to dance with my girls, read them books, play play-doh and color, and take them to the playground. I want to stop rushing through these things (or not doing them at all) because I'm thinking about the cleaning or other tasks that needs to be done.
In the story of Mary & Martha in Luke 10:38-42, I am Martha. I'm so busy doing all these things, but not taking to time to stop and listen and spend time with those around me. It is my prayer that my heart would be changed and that I can find a balance. That I can be ok with a less than clean house. That I will slow down and ENJOY my family.
Today, I want to DANCE.
I invite you to join me...put down whatever you are doing and dance... with your spouse, your children, with your friends, or with yourself :) The cleaning will be there tomorrow (I know, that wasn't assuring to me for awhile either, it sounded awful)...but today will pass by and your kids will grow up and you will not get these moments back. Just the memories. So let's make them beautiful!