I love my house. It isn’t perfect, but yet it is perfect for our family. It is a great investment, has “good bones” if you will, and although we have our list of to dos, it is a wonderful home for our family.
I have been working a lot lately, and I’ve started to see dust collecting in the corners, the cabinetry smudged with too many fingerprints, and noticed the bottom of the boys’ feet are dirty at the end of the day. For the first time I find myself contemplating hiring someone to come in and give the place a good shine. The problem? I just can’t imagine myself actually paying someone else to keep house in my place because so much of my self-worth is tied up into the effectiveness of my home.
That’s right, I said it. And judge me if you will, but I’m just sharing my truth.
When my home or my health is bad, the other is also less than stellar. And having to admit that I cannot keep up with my own home would devastate my self-esteem. There are more than a few connections between me and my household. Consider the attributes of my home:
It’s a good house, well-built and sturdy
It has some imperfections—but the cracks in the foundation are reinforced with piers that have a lifetime warranty, and almost all of the resulting cosmetic issues have been corrected
It has some unique and beautiful details
It takes a beating from my kids, but the flaws build character and memories without detracting too much from the value
Notice the similarities? With four boys, teaching, and working at least 30 hours from my home office each week, I spend my day putting out fires and sometimes the important maintenance and investments I should be making get put off for another, still unscheduled day.
On any given day, there is literal poop on my floors. Like, for real human excrement and fluids. So who has time for steam-cleaning the carpets or applying stone lacquer every six weeks?
Yep, that’s dust on every shelf. But I removed toys from every room twice today. I changed four diapers, and plunged a toilet. I hung four monster piles of clothes into three different closets. I swept the floors after upteen meals I’ve prepared for six people in at least five different shifts (today alone) not to mention cleaning up an entire spilled container of corn meal, and a full box of baking soda (for real, these all happened in one day).
Something in this house breaks, leaks, falls off or stops working every day. Every. Day. And these repairs cost cold hard cash--preventing me from investing in all of those upgrades I would love to do one day…
These distractions only add to the similarities between the way I care for myself and my home. I can’t help but notice that any failings in my housekeeping are similar to my failures with my own health and wellness.
I sometimes do the bare minimum just to get by. As I type this, I’m sitting in dirty sweats and my hair is…well, I should get a hat.
But I clean up nice. Just like my house. If I spend hours tucking, primping--cleaning the floorboards and putting polish on the grubby appendages I call toes—my house and I could be featured on the cover of a magazine. It might be titled She’s Trying Too Hard Digest, but still—a cover’s a cover.
I still have every good intention one day to live a healthy lifestyle, start a beauty regimen, get monthly pedicures…one day…
It’s funny how hard I can work for other people, and begin to let myself go. I’ve got to stop compartmentalizing what I do and who I am, and learn how to let some of the effort I put into my work spill over into how I care for myself. Whether I like it or not, much of my self-worth is connected to the way I provide a home for my family. Both my body and my house provide a home for my spirit and a shelter for my kids. Changes in my lifestyle should make a positive investment into my health and eventually, my homemaking. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but if I do have one goal it will be to do a better job counting and cultivating my blessings, rather than just managing them enough to get by.
Oh no. Gross. I think this is someone else’s poop under my fingernails (sorry, I know--TMI). Did I mention that while I’ve been typing I had to stop and plunge yet another toilet? Today was one of those red letter days where my kids pulled off a hat trick—four bathroom-related catastrophes in under an hour. Isn’t that just a perfect illustration of my job as a mother? I work to provide a home, I interrupt that work to use my bare hands to upkeep that home. It’s a hard, overwhelming, often thankless job—but it is so important and I am very blessed to have a beautiful family to care for and a beautiful home to keep. So, please excuse me while I finish cleaning the bathroom, and SCRUBBING my hands. And if you have any recommendations for a good housekeeper, please share because it’s time I made that investment for my home, and for myself.