My house is put together.
And it’s a miracle.
I went live on facebook on Saturday morning to talk about our little miracle – we’ve had a clean, put-together house for almost an entire month! I decided as a follow up to do 5 posts, one containing each step that I talked about in that loooooooooooong video. I talked forever, but it was actually reasonably simple to implement these things. BUT it made a GIGANTIC difference in our peace of mind, ability to find things, etc.
Step One: SUCK IT UP.
This was the hardest part for me. For some reason, I was battling myself with all these thoughts. I would say to myself, “It’s all too much! I shouldn’t have to do all this. How does anyone do this? I am so exhausted! I work full time in an especially exhausting job. Nobody is as tired as me. My kids are messier than everyone else’s kids, so they don’t have it as bad. If only our baseboards were in, our house would be finished and I could get it cleaned up. We have too much stuff, so there isn’t anywhere to put it, so I’ll just have to live with it all being a big mess. I can’t clean this up tonight; I’m too exhausted. UGH! Why are there so many dishes?”
and so on, and so on, and so on. *insert eyeroll here*
Basically, I was making excuse after excuse for why my house was so disgusting. I am the queen of validating – I can validate absolutely anything to myself.
The problem is that making all of those excuses did not, in any way, assist me in cleaning my home. There was stuff all over the floor all the time. There was so much clean laundry that was never put away and ended up in piles on the floor just to be washed again because I couldn’t determine if it was dirty or clean. Counters were covered in random junk that was left out instead of put away. There were crumbs and sticky spots on the floor all around the dining room table. We had mice at one point – not sure if that was because of dirtiness or just because of our neighborhood being so close to a wooded area. It was impossible to walk through our home without a hundred tiny crumbs sticking on the bottoms of your feet. The bathrooms constantly smelled like urine and feces.
It was all too much. I cried over it so many times, so overwhelmed. Everyone kept saying, “This is just a season. Soon it’ll pass, and you’ll be sad that your kids aren’t little anymore.” I would always think, “Okay, so I’m miserable and sad now, and later I’ll be miserable and sad, but my house will always be like this and I’ll always feel overwhelmed so basically you’re saying I’ll be miserable forever?”
About a week before Christmas, I had an epiphany.
Suck it up.
That was my epiphany.
I said to myself: You are a grown-ass woman. When the age boxes show up on paperwork, you have to check “30+.” There isn’t a world in which you aren’t an adult. You own this home. It is a blessing. You had those kids. They are a blessing. You have a partner who is willing to be helpful. He is a blessing. You have the obligation to steward well what has been given to you. You have been blessed with much, so you must be faithful with much. And how many years did you dream of this exact life? How long did you ache to find such wonderful love? How long did you dream of making your house your own by remodeling and living in a neighborhood with great people and a pool and playground and tennis courts? From what age did you begin imagining having your children and raising them, dreaming of high-waisted mom jeans and a big huge perm? Your life is incredibly wonderful, and you are choosing to complain about how hard it is instead of working this weedy garden. Do. The. Work.
Suck. It. Up.
Now, for some people, this kind of straightforward, rather harsh self-talk might not be helpful. But for me, it is necessary. I need to be brought back to reality when I get in these emotional fits of Mrs. Grumpy Gills.
And reality is: my life is amazing, and I have every power to make it feel so.
I set the tone in my home. I have immense power. I am not weak. It is not impossible. Yes, it is hard. Yes, I am tired. But I will NOT waste this time anymore. One chance. One life. I will never be thirty-one years old again. My kids will never be 5, almost 4, and 7 months again. This. Is. It.
Something shifted in my brain that day. I am not going to waste my only chance at giving my kids a stable, happy home just because I’m grumpy about being a working mom. I cannot stay home in this season of our life, regardless of how much I want to. (I’m truly convinced that if I stayed home, none of this mess would ever be an issue – I know it’s true because whenever I do get to stay home, our house is very put together and tidy.) I cannot change our circumstances in this way. But I can change my attitude. So from now on, I’m going to suck it up.
New phrases for self-talk: You might only get today, and then you’re into eternity. Don’t let the trivial pursuits of this day stop you from the eternal pursuits. When you are a literal mess, you are also a spiritual mess. You cannot give and feed into others when you are frantically clinging on to your last shred of sanity. Push off the weighted demons of perfection, dreams of how you wish things were, and excuses. Work. Tend your garden. With a sweet spirit for Jesus, serving Him in it all. The mundane becomes the holy. The trivial becomes eternal. Your children see this energy. They see your praise to the One who gave you everything. They see your effort to be faithful in these things. They see how you steward what has been loaned to you. This is your only chance to show them Jesus when they are kids, and someday they’ll grow up and have to clean a house, too. Teach them. Right now.
My friend Lindsay calls this the CEO mindset – you are the CEO of your life! And with this mindset of “I will do this,” I was able to move into Step 2.