When we began our journey into more mindful, homemade eating, there was a moment when I was in our kitchen trying to follow a new recipe while the kids ripped the house apart, tangled themselves around my feet, and attempted to climb up me and onto the counters and hot stove. I remember it occurred to me to take a deep breath and let go. For a moment I pretended I didn’t see the strewn toys or sticky finger prints. For a moment I ignored the sink full of dishes and the flour I spilled on the counter top. For a moment I was free. I sank my teeth into my warm from the oven pita dipped in fresh hummus and tzatiki and watched the kids devour theirs. For a moment I let myself not fret and it felt good. A delicious warmth filled my body and my jaw relaxed. It was a good moment and I knew it would be wise to foster it more often.
I was raised in a very tidy house; it was both glorious and frustrating. I have carried the same ideals into my life and home. I have no qualms with having a clean house; I prefer it actually. But lets be honest; it’s holy-good-god-exhausting. I put the books back on the shelf and turn to pick up the apple peels Silas has spit out only to turn back around to find every book I just replaced back in the floor . Mystical, magical, frustrating creatures those toddlers are, no?
Yes, it is true, I much prefer a clean, tidy and well organized house; I nearly shut down when my house is in chaos. But I don’t think it is a realistic goal for us at this point in time; this season of our life. The problem is that the lifestyle we want, mixed with the ages of our children just isn’t conducive to a tidy house. There is always some good food to be prepared and eaten which translates into a sink full of dishes. There is always something to build or toy to craft which results in a dusting of sawdust and a pile of supplies left at the ready. There is wood to be brought in or chicken water to be changed leaving a trail of snow and wood bits through my kitchen and living room. There are books to be read and books tossed aside in the wake of finding just the right one for the moment. There are people to visit, adventures to be had, walks to be taken, learning to be done and, therefore, dishes to be left; beds left rumpled.
You see, I need to let the ideal of the constantly tidy house go. I am 31 years old and just now realizing I need to learn how to function in a different element than the one I was raised in; pick my battles more wisely. I need to find a balance between living the life we want full of learning, creating and exploring combined with comfort, flow, and cleanliness.
I would much rather have the house that smells of wood smoke and baking; the house filled with young plants stretching for sunlight in the window sills and slightly sticky, happy children reaching for a hug than be the resentful mama frantically sweeping, dusting and ranting about the state of the house only to lay my weary head on the pillow and promise to do it better tomorrow.
I’ve grown tired of the guilt and the apologizing to unexpected guests. I would rather clear the couch of toys and book, and warm them with fire, tea and good conversation than fret. Slowly, I will allow myself to just be in it; without judgement or resolution. I am allowing myself a moment of grace in hopes that that feeling will grow and become a more comfortable place for me. And then I will do it again the next day and the next one after that. And so it goes; a new habit will replace an old habit.
I will fail and rant, of that I am sure, but I will give it my best. That I promise.
Won’t you join me?
go gently + be wonderful