In my last post, I said “And finally two blissful hours where I turned on some music and cleaned the house, uninterrupted. And that is a post to come. It was just that good.” Please don’t get the idea that in that time my house was clean. What that meant was that those two hours gave me the kick-start that I needed to get started. Now I can sit writing the post knowing that my kitchen is clean, that I finally vacuumed up the flies that were in the window sill when we moved here, and still smelling the scent of lavender from washed floors. The truth is that
most every day, I am really discouraged in the house keeping area and if I had written this yesterday it would have been much more disheartening.
I mentioned last week some of the poems that I have seen on leaving work undone to play with little ones and this is one that I particularly remembered. I couldn’t help but add some of my own lines to it (in bold). If you really love this poem please know that I am just being a little tongue in cheek while relating to my own life.
BABIES DON’T KEEP
Mother, oh Mother,
come shake out your cloth,
(for the smell will linger long after washing in this humidity)
empty the dustpan,
poison the moth,
hang out the washing
(And try to fold it so that the child can tell which is clean and then won’t put on underwear that was already peed)
and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
(sheets should be washed weekly)
Where is the mother whose house
is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery,
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little
Boy Blue (lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting
(While fruit flies are hovering and multiplying)
and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done (And now darling, you’re hungry)
and there’s nothing for stew (and I’m hungry too)
and out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing
will wait till tomorrow (as ear wigs gather beneath that wet towel, and laundry forms a big clean/dirty pile)
for Children grow up,
(And they’ll keep house like I do)
as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. (you’re covering my few clean forks and spoons)
Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep……
~Author Unknown ~
The poem is sweet and I agree. I want to spend time with my girls, I want them to know that they are more important to me than a perfectly clean house. I want to art with them, I want to foster their imaginations, I want to cuddle them, and to laugh with them. But, my added lines aren’t a joke. The fruit flies do multiply in moments it seems, the earwigs love anything slightly moist, and I can’t expect a three year old to know the difference between a basket of heaping dirty clothes beside a heaping basket of clean clothes. And I can’t very well teach them how to take part in household chores and how to clean up after themselves if I’m not setting the example. And I can’t say that they aren’t affected by the chaos around them, especially not when it comes to things like waiting for breakfast because the dishes need to be washed (they inherited their mama’s need to eat first thing).
I guess that you could say that Dan and I have pretty traditional roles in that I do most of the cooking and cleaning. We talked about it, this is how we mutually agreed it would be. I want and enjoy that role. And I take it seriously so when I know that I really have no valid reason for not doing it well, I feel defeated when he steps in to help. Oh, I appreciate it and I am not talking about doing some dishes or making the supper, but I don’t want him taking on all the home responsibilities before/after a long work day. I don’t want perfection from myself and I don’t wish this to become an issue of my value (I struggle with this) but I want to do this well.
So last night instead of attempting to tackle the list or the stack of dishes, I sat and was silent. I talked to HIM about this because I should have done that long ago. And then I let words off of thin pages within leather bindings reach deep into my spirit as I chose to shake off the bonds of defeat as I accepted grace. And then I asked Dan for the morning so that I could clean. And I slept. This morning I cleaned. And oh this may seem trivial but this has been dragging at me and discouraging me since we moved here. I have been able to focus on other areas and to see the joy in them but even that was getting harder. How I needed this day of small victory. And a clean sink. Lavender scented floors. Flies sucked up in a vacuum hose.
I so agree – the poem is sweet, but perhaps a little unrealistic. Perhaps it has been used as an excuse at times? (for me, anyway!). A good reminder to do it all with integrity, being satisfied with that.
Oh, how much I can relate! I have had that poem posted in Rilla’s room for a few years, mostly to help me calm down and focus on my little ones when they so desperately need me. But I love the additions you put into the poem. I feel like I am living every day in this tension of NEEDING to have the house clean, and yet needing even more to have time with my children, and yet… I really need to have the house clean! And have good food and clean clothing to them available, etc. It feels like a never-ending challenge.
Hello lovely lady!Wonderful post…I struggle with the same things…for me this has been a week of learning to be content when I am less than perfect (which is all the time, naturally…I’m just not very good at remembering that in my weakness He is stronger).
Saw this and thought of you: http://www.nutsonline.com/gluten-free/
Thought it might come in handy for birthday parties or whathaveyou.
Thanks so much for the link! I haven’t come across that one before and I am find everything that we tend to eat in terms of nuts etc is in small quantities and so expensive here. This looks like it could be quite reasonable so I am excited to go through it!
Oh dear…I understand…and appreciate this! Yes, savor the moments and embrace the babes, but when you can’t find them beneath the laundry things can get a little crazy! This is a daily (hourly!) struggle for me. Thanks for sharing. I know many can relate 🙂
Oh, I don’t know you, but I love you. This post tweaked all the little twinges that nag at me while I’m colouring with my 3-year-old or dancing with my one-year-old and attempting to keep my eyes closed to the dust bunnies under the couch or the dried raindrops on the windows or the long strands of hair gathered under the shampoo bottles on the (dusty) bathtub ledge. I can’t believe how guilty I feel when I take the time to clean whilst my little ones play by themselves (gasp!) and use their imaginations to their hearts’ content. No, babies don’t keep…but neither does my sanity in a house untouched by loving cleaning hands!