Babies vs. Housework

4
Dirty_dishes

By User:Mysid (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Even though I  can function like an acrobat who can multi- task, my new role as a mother forced me to evolve and adapt.

Once I became a mother, I suddenly discovered I had to devote 12 to 14 hours per day solely to nursing, burping, soothing, changing and bathing my newborn. Suddenly washing clothes (the baby’s as well as mine, which were often blasted with spit-up and other nasty surprises), cleaning floors almost daily (babies and toddlers LIVED on the floor) and sanitizing my kitchen and bathrooms added to the work. Slap dash meals and quick showers at odd hours left little time for sleep.

At first I tried to do everything around the house I had done before I became a mother. Even though I was an acrobatic multi-tasking woman, becoming a mother forced me to evolve and adapt. I finally capitulated and grudgingly accepted a basic fact–what was essential was clean clothes, clean little bodies, clean kitchen and bathrooms–period. Most anything else I liked to keep up was to give visitors a good impression. Sometimes I had to give myself a good shake and let go of  impossible standards. I continually reminded myself  a peaceful, centred mum has peaceful and happy kids.

Obviously Jesus did not want me to seek approval from society. When God asked something of me He always supplied the grace I needed. He was asking me to adjust my priorities and to put my children’s needs first.

A sudden burst of clarity put everything into perspective:

If I cleaned my house every day for two weeks at the end of that time period, my house would be clean.

If I cleaned my house once a week for two weeks, at the end of the experiment, my house would be clean.

And what if I cleaned my house only once, at the end of the two weeks???

My house would be just as clean as if I did it every day. It might take a bit longer is all.

This new way of viewing housework lifted a huge burden of guilt off my shoulders.

The second, acrobatic trick I discovered was a new skill that took a few years to master. This was the talent to run in two diametrically opposed gears, fast and furious and slow but steady.

Fast and furious was for the moments when the kids were sleeping or occupied.

Slow and steady was for anything to do with my little kids. If I tried to rush them, they dug in their heels, became antagonistic and angry. Trust me; slow and patient got better results because everyone was calm. I let my little ones fumble and try to do things on their own. In the end, even if they looked a little odd, they felt proud as they became more independent each day. Sometimes checked pants were worn with a polka dot top but I learned to let go of my embarrassment.

My children’s happiness and self-growth were more important to me than what outsiders thought about the state of my housekeeping or my kid’s appearance. As a mother, I did not want to die and find out my priorities were all wrong, that I chose public approval over loving my little ones.

Slow and steady was for anything to do with my little kids. If I tried to rush them, they dug in their heels, became antagonistic and angry. Trust me; slow and patient got better results because everyone was calm. I let my little ones fumble and try to do things on their own. In the end, even if they looked a little odd, they felt proud as they became more independent each day. Sometimes checked pants were worn with a polka-dot top but I learned to let go of my embarrassment.

My children’s well-being was more important to me than what outsiders thought about the state of my housekeeping or my kid’s appearance. As a mother, I did not want to die and discover I had chosen public approval over loving my little ones.

As St. Paul says all things shall pass away; only Love endures forever.

 

Copyright 2015 Melanie Jean Juneau
Photo: by User:Mysid (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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About Author

Melanie Jean Juneau is a mother of nine children who blogs at joy of nine9. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life. Melanie is the administrator of ACWB, the Editor in Chief at CatholicLane, CatholicStand, Catholic365 , CAPC & author of Echoes of the Divine.

4 Comments

  1. What a lovely article Melanie. Thank you for sharing!
    The most important reinforcement for me from your article was :

    Fast and furious was for the moments when the kids were sleeping or occupied.
    Slow and steady was for anything to do with my little kids.

    God bless you – please continue to share your blessed pearls of wisdom from all your parenting years. I have two little ones and every little nugget of Godly wisdom is so important.

  2. This was exactly what I needed to read today! Yesterday we arrived home after a week-long vacation with our extended family in a beach house that was orderly, uncluttered, and immaculate. In contrast, our house, which has never been orderly, uncluttered, or immaculate, felt a disappointment, and I’ve spent much of this morning looking around dejectedly. I love your confession that, as it should be, “My children’s happiness and self-growth were more important to me than what outsiders thought about the state of my housekeeping or my kid’s appearance. As a mother, I did not want to die and find out my priorities were all wrong, that I chose public approval over loving my little ones.” While my issues aren’t related to public approval as much as a reminder that life with six little boys simply looks a certain way, and there are definitely some things I could do better, nevertheless your piece felt like a little gift for me from heaven just when I needed it. Thank you!

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