Our fifth child was born 9 days ago. Just 9 little days. If anyone were to tell you that they have or haven’t done something (besides your basic life stuff…eat, drink, breathe. Sleep. Ahem.) for NINE WHOLE DAYS, you’d probably wonder if they weren’t being a tad dramatic.
Well put on your drama hats, folks because I have neither left the house nor cleaned the house in NINE WHOLE DAYS. And I wish I could say it feels good, but it doesn’t. It feels good to have a fantastic new baby in our house. It feels good to have a husband care for me and friends care for us. It feels good to know that I’m getting stronger every day. But not doing the things I want to be doing? Not good. That’s a hard pill for this control freak to swallow.
“I’m supposed to care for my house,” I said. ”Certain things have to be done,” I mumbled. ”This is my vocation! I’m dropping the ball on my vocation! Children! Quick! Start cleaning!” I hollered. And it was uncomfortable and I was irritating people and everyone was walking on eggshells, but hey….this is just my cross to bear.
Gotta bear that cross.
Gotta clean this house.
Yep. Duty time!
Except. Except. I was making everyone else miserable. Because do you know who really wants the house to be clean? Me. Do you know who cares about clutter and crumbs? Me. Do you know what I lovelovelovelovelovelovelove? A pristine, organized home. It’s hard to make this place look good, I’ll give you, what with the old paneling on the walls and the water stains on the ceilings and all, but by golly I do my best. And I like it! In control. In charge. On top of things. A Martha house the Martha way.
But now I can’t, and maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe, just maybe…letting this house get a little messy is really my cross, not the cleaning of it. Maybe learning how to just give my family a break is what I’m being called to do. Maybe I’m supposed to be learning how to be, well, nicer.
Can I just be nice? Can I just let the toys spill out of the den into the living room for a few weeks? Can I let them gather around the baby and ooh and aah even though their rooms are a mess or someone left their shoe in the middle of the doorway?
Just as much as my vocation is to keep a tidy home and raise well-behaved children, it’s also to show them love and patience. To care for my physical health. To hold my newborn. To take a deep breath and be NICE.
Today I will try to just be nice. Starting now. Because this morning totally didn’t count.
Dwija Borobia lives with her husband and their five kids in rural southwest Michigan in a fixer-upper they bought sight-unseen off the internet. Between homeschooling and corralling chickens, she pretends her time on the internet doesn’t count because she uses the computer standing up. You can read more on her blog house unseen. life unscripted.