No one who knows me well will tell you that my greatest gift is tidiness. After several years of raising two babies 17 months apart, I stumbled across this quote:
“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before the snow has stopped falling.” Phyllis Diller
A dear friend of mine just had a baby and she said their laundry baskets have been converted in to their “dresser drawers”. I can relate! This quote was freeing and I tried to let its truth wash over me daily. I battled the internal conflict of trying to keep everything perfect around me and tackle the overwhelming tasks before me.
Janine and I recently had a great conversation that led to the idea of this blog. She explained that last week her pod girls had to use the restroom and along the way, they had to pass by her laundry room. It was laundry day and her boys had piled up their laundry all down the stairs and dirty clothes were billowing out of the laundry room spilling on to the hallway floor. Apparently women were practically stepping over the piles to get to her facilities! Upon arrival to the restroom they were greeted by poop stains in the toilet. I am certain that during my son’s potty training stages, my pod girls were met with unflushed toilets, an abandoned pull up, or possibly even spillage on to the floor from a missed attempt. They also have walked in to my kitchen following our family dinner and have seen dirty dishes on the table along with piles of bills and other stacks of “precious school memorabilia” that no one wants to part with! My night pod is almost always greeted by a pantless 2 year old, as my Joshua has not figured out how to pull his pants back up after going potty. I used to apologize for this—but now I know that it is a season…the dishes always get done, the memorabilia gets filed, and my boy will learn to wear pants (hopefully before college)!
Janine and I chatted about the implications of our homes and families’ on “display” and the fact that it is quite freeing not only to us, but probably to our clients to see that we are HUMAN. We live normal lives and we are doing our best to delicately balance family, work, our health, and our spiritual lives. In balancing these precious legs of our stool*, priorities shift. If we held to the desire to keep the perfect house, have perfectly dressed (and behaved) children, maintain the body of our 19 year old selves, prepare healthy gourmet meals each night, keep the corners dusted, and the toilets poop-stain-free, we would be trying to keep up a persona that is not humanly possible. It is fiction.
Today my encouragement is this…extend yourself some grace. Steer clear of perfection. Take care of the essentials. Then, stop and read a book with your child. Go play tag, shoot a few hoops, look in to their eyes and tell them you love them! Put down the broom, dust pan, or spatula and go for a run or a swim. At the end of the day, ask your spouse how their day was and then listen…really listen. Leave work on time or a few minutes early, call a friend and go grab coffee. Read a book, journal or pray. As you exchange a “perfect life” for a more balanced stool*, embrace the pounds of laundry and the poop stains in the potty…they are probably signs of a life being well lived.
*The 4 stool legs spoken of in our studios are family, work, wellness/exercise, and our spiritual/quiet reflective life.