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Pickles in the bathroom

2010 September 11
by Pamela

After reading this post on Money Saving Mom and realizing that even Super Woman has help, I cut myself some slack and decided to hire my mother’s helper Brittney more often.  And since there is no time like the present to delegate dusting, I started today.  My girls had friends over all day and played fairly independently, so Brittney was able to assist me with housework.

She dusted, packed away some china, washed down part of the kitchen, supervised lunch, and did some other much-needed jobs.

I cleaned the bathroom, washed sheets that got wet the night before, washed the bathroom rug, cleaned out the fridge and freezer, and washed the floors.

It was a blissful day.

Tonight the girls needed showers, but Mary Claire was still at a friend’s house so I showered Elizabeth alone.  I got her dressed, fed her a night-night snack (she requested pickles, oddly, but hey at least she’s eating for once) and then spent the next half hour picking up all the books, toys, and dress-up clothes she dropped all around the house.  Because the house was clean and I wanted it to stay that way until Bob could come home and witness the sight. 

When Mary Claire came home I got her into the shower only to realize that the freshly-cleaned tub now had a bad ring of sand stuck to the sides and bottom, thanks to Elizabeth’s afternoon in the sandbox and my forgetting to rinse it.

Then I looked at the freshly-washed bath rug and saw little bits of something gross ground into it.

Chewed-up pickles.

Next  I went to put Elizabeth’s clean sheets on her bed only to realize that I only washed the flat, not the fitted sheet.  Which meant she didn’t have clean sheets that were going to stay on properly through the night.

Then I tried to vacuum the family room while Mary Claire and Elizabeth ate some freshly baked cookies the neighbor brought over for them.  I got some doll hair stuck in the vacuum which took ten minutes to get out.

After attempting repair work on the vacuum,  I went into the kitchen to check on the girls and my foot stuck to the floor.  The freshly-washed floor.  “Someone” spilled orange juice on it and decided to douse salt from the shaker on top of the stickiness.  So our floor now feels both tacky and sandy.  It’s a lovely feeling and look.

This is life with two young children.  I would like our house to be clean and straightened all the time.  But it doesn’t happen.  Even on days like this when I had plenty of energy, time, and help, it still doesn’t happen.

And that’s life.  The chores we do as parents need to get re-done all the time, sometimes immediately after they are completed. 

I’ll be honest:  sometimes I find this reality downright unfair.  If I am on my hands and knees scrubbing floors and tubs, I sometimes think I have a right for them to stay clean for x amount of time.

But the reality is that we have an open home.  We have children in it all the time and we allow them the freedom and space to imagine, explore, and create (although I don’t advocate exploration via orange juice and salt). 

Do I wish our house was always clean?  Absolutely.  But would I forsake hospitality to my children and their friends for it?  No. 

We are here to serve and love one another.  Yes, I’m also here to teach our girls to become adults, which means I’m constantly working with them to clean up after themselves.  But the bottom lines are always the same:

Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.  (Mark 10:45)

What you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.  (Matt 25:40)

This home is not mine, nor are these children.  The home and children are under our care for only a breath in light of eternity.  I have to constantly remind myself of this.  Even more so I need to remind myself that the way I respond to pickles in the bathroom will make more of a difference in the girl’s life than having a clean bathroom rug ever will.

So much to learn, so much growing to do. 

And now I’m going to fight the urge to wash the floor again.  The beauty of housework is that it waits patiently for you.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. September 11, 2010

    I love this post, Pamela. THIS is why you have your blog – to speak truth to someone else who loves her floors (and everything else) to be clean and yet wants her daughter to know what’s truly important. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Ellen permalink
    September 12, 2010

    I love this story- it brings back many (now!) fond memories!! Flour all over a freshly washed floor (and in the cupboards and down the stairs, legos caught in the vacuum which led to the rule that small things didn’t come to the Wright house. Peas circling around Terry’s plate cause she hated them. Bobby jumping into every pile of snow on the way home and then all that melting snow dripping down the stairs with his ecstatic grin and red cheeks looking so happy! You’re so right – someday you’ll have a clean house all the time and darn if you won’t wish for some screaming kids running through it and grabbing cookies to smash all over a freshly vacuumed rug.

    • Pamela permalink*
      September 13, 2010

      Ellen, this is why I love you so much. After raising seven kids, you always have a story to match any of my own. It makes me feel more normal.

  3. September 13, 2010

    This is awesome… lol

  4. Karina H permalink
    September 13, 2010

    Oh how I do love these stories. Since I now spend time with both your girls on Sunday morning I see firsthand how amusing your dear ones are :-) This one specifically though rings true in my world as well as my desire for neatness is high. Thank you for your transparency in this blog, I appreciate you!

    • Pamela permalink*
      September 13, 2010

      Thanks Karina for taking care of our girls. And thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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