Phyllis Diller – “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.“
Boy do I agree with this statement! It seems like you clean one room and move on to the next, and before you are done with that room they have destroyed the room you just cleaned!!
I have a touch of OCD/Procrastination when it comes to cleaning though and it tends to show. My thought goes like this “If I cannot do it right then why do it right now?” The problem with that is when you have small children like I do, the right time may never come to do it “the right way.” So I try to do what I can with what little time I have every day. But those days that I choose to ignore some of the chores are the ones where I find myself enjoying my kids and laughing and playing with them more.
The above picture just grabbed my attention and struck a chord with me. Why would I be wasting the precious memory making time with my kids, by making sure I have a spotless house? Why stress about it? What will my kids remember from their early days? Will they remember a Mom that was present and nurturing or a Mom that was constantly stressing out about the house being obsessively clean?
Part of me screams out that the kids will do better and live better in a spotless and organized house. But another part of me says why waste a lot of time doing things that will always have to be done, when I could be spending that time with my kids?
As a child, my Grandmother was someone who actually was diagnosed with OCD. She would carry baby wipes with her everywhere and before we touched her we had to wash our hands, after we touched anything we had to wash our hands. She would wrap things in plastic wrap, then in foil, then put it in a zip-lock baggie to store things. She always carried a plastic set of utensils in a zip-lock baggie for when she would eat out. She would clean like crazy. And guess what? She always had her house clean and organized. But she was alone.
Now I am not advocating that we all live in houses that belong on the TV show Hoarders, but I am saying that the things that really matter in life are not really things, they are the people who are part of our lives and the children God has given us to care for and to teach and to love. If we can use the times that we do clean as teaching moments for our kids, then all the better, but as a reminder to myself and to all Momma’s out there, they will not remember the times that the laundry was overflowing or the sink was full of dishes, but they will remember the times you got on the floor and played with them and enjoyed a laugh or two with them.
I will close with this poem that I am sure most of you have seen before, but it serves as a daily reminder to me that time is short with my kids.
“The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”
~Song For a Fith Child, by Ruth Hamilton