Have you ever had someone drop by unannounced and see a look of judgment cross their face as they scan your home with a critical eye? I found myself in this situation and was so embarrassed. With three kids under the age of 8, I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. The worst part was this older woman was a member in our church. Word quickly spread among the older women how terrible my home was. Toys everywhere and clothes (in baskets) on the living room floor! How ghastly! That was almost 15 years ago, but today I realized a major truth. Something I wasn’t able to see through my shame and being blindsided by someone who may, or may not have had my best interests at heart. (God alone knows and I’m not to judge)
As I was standing at my kitchen sink this morning, I realized I had a clean sink, clean counters, clean stove, clean kitchen………….and coffee brewed. I thought to myself, “Man, why couldn’t I have kept the house this spotless when the kids were little. And that’s when I remembered that awful day when company dropped in unexpected. As I stood at the counter, shame filled me again. Why couldn’t I have kept the place up? What was wrong with me!?!
For those with little ones, let me say this, and please hear me…………the time will come when you aren’t chasing toddlers, grabbing toys out of the toilet, washing the dog for the umpteenth time because the kids found the markers again! You will have time to wash dishes and do laundry and clean windows. The reason my home is clean now is because I am not chasing kids, trying to keep them (and the dog) safe. It’s clean because I can concentrate on cleaning it. I am not digging building blocks out of the toilet, while keeping an eye on another dear child who loved drawing on dogs, walls and furniture with magic markers.
Everything has a season. Oh, how I detested someone trying to encourage me with that when I was a young mom! Here’s some encouragement that you can sink your teeth into: Chase the kids, wash the dog, do your best and give yourself some grace! Some of us know the trials and the storms and REMEMBER them! We get that the dog needs a bath to wash off the marker and the kids need you to chase them so they won’t demolish the few breakables you have left. We know what’s it like to wake up sick and want to stay in bed instead of spending another day, doing things that won’t remain until the end of the day! We understand that.
We would walk into your home, sit on the sofa, strewn with clean clothes and Legos and talk to you and pray for you and love you right in the middle of where we used to be. And by pray, I mean, pray for you to not lose your sanity in the midst of everything! We would pray for your strength and hand you tissues to wipe a little one’s nose and encourage you to keep on keeping on. Some of us might even venture so far as to watch the kids while you get away for awhile or help out with cleaning your home! So take heart and know that you’re not the only one who has gone through these things and certainly not the only ones who have felt someone else’s judgment or disdain. You are not alone.