So I’m Supposed to be…Nice?

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.

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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.


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.

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  • Shut up shut up shut up shut up.  I don’t want to hear this.  I don’t!  I want my things my way when I want them.  Which means clean.  And pristine.  
    Nine days.  You had a baby nine days ago and are already knocking out posts.  I haven’t posted in a million years, and my baby was nine day old, like, 4 years ago.
    Come write my next post for me.  I’ll send you a gift card for Bell’s in return.

  • I was only able to write this because the table was covered in crumbs.  And there was a dirty diaper in the living room.  And wet clothes in the washer.  And dirty dishes in the sink.  And I ignored them ALL.  I swear to you it’s true!  Doesn’t it just make you wanna break out in hives????

  • Claire

    Congratulations Dwija!  I’m so happy for you.

  • Yup.  Totally does.  But I have serious issues.  Don’t be like me.

  • Congratulations, Dweej!  And I totally understand the feeling.  Urge.  Whatever it is.  I’ll say an extra prayer for you!

  • MB older mom

    add to this the idea that you (okay, I) have to prove that I can efficiently keep all the balls in the air despite the size of my (I mean your) growing family.

    Let me tell you, tho, that now that my family has begun to shrink (children growing older and moving on their own), with lessening hope of new additions ( a subject I can’t talk about because I can barely breathe when I do) I find that I have less to prove, and more desire to hold still and cuddle and read and think.  Yes, it’s jut like the “Older Ladies” used to tell ME, It goes to fast, and not a moment staring at your newborn (parents and siblings) is wasted.

    But I still yell about the crumbs and the wet bathing suits on the floor.  oh yes I do.

  • Beth @ Aunt B’s Kitchen

    Loved this.  Thank you.

  • So far I haven’t today…but what with my fallen nature as a real human, I’m sure I will again in the not-so-distant future.  Keep reminding me, MB!  Keep reminding me!

  • Jocelyn

    Wow. This really hit home. Thanks, Dwija. The mess is still driving me crazy, but you’ve given me more to think about.

  • This will be me any day now. Thanks for the reminder! That’s why there’s wine, right??

  • Meganjeffery

    I am not a control freak…more like a cleanliness nazi…I scare the poor little children..I do. Pregnant me is not necessarily the nicest me, either, esp. when hungry or sleepy. My older girls are not all that helpful, and there is one who is home enough that she should be helpful indeed. My teen and tween daughters are so much help, and they do jump when I yell, but the yelling is really not nice, or needed. So it is messy – we take ten minutes and tidy up. I get someone to spend 10 more running the vaccuum and then we all sit back down with the little ones again. And yes, as a poster said below, not one second of staring at that newborn (or any other child) is wasted! My mom taught me that with my first…she said to let the dishes go, let the mess happen, and just soak up that baby, because soon she would not be a baby anymore and the amount of dishes never matters, you will never look back and wish you had done more housework, but you may indeed wish you had spent more time staring/snuggling/soaking. Enjoy that baby!

  • Cindy

    My sister is very much like you (minus 3 children) and letting it go was terribly difficult.  I found a poem and cross-stiched it for her …
    “Cleaning and dusting can wait ’til tomorrow …
    for babies grow up … I’ve learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down cobwebs … dust go to sleep …
    I’m rocking my baby …. AND BABIE DON’T KEEP!”

  • Cindy

    Leave to me to screw things up … and I don’t have any kids!
    The last line should read … “and BABIES DON’T KEEP!)

  • John

    Keep up the good work.  You figured it out very well.  Very refreshing read and so real.

  • Micaela

    Ugh. Postpartum period is the hardest for me to handle. If you would have asked me before I had kids, I would have said that I was a messy person and fine with it. But since having kids, I am a messy person who absolutely hates it. Can’t I just stay on top of it? Just barely, on a good day, when all is right and the kids all nap and it wasn’t that messy to begin with. And when you throw a new baby in the mix, I get so messed up. But I realized this (the need to let go and be nice and focus on other aspects of my vocations) after my last baby, too, and it brought me much peace. For awhile. Until I was absolutely drowning in ceumbs and couldn’t take it for one second more.

    Wait, does that mean I didn’t learn this lesson after all?

  • Andrea M

    Just reading this gave me anxiety!  I know exactly what you’re taking about.
    Having a homebirth was an interesting phenomenon for me because I was there and I saw all the mess from the start.  I gave myself some time off, but not as much as some would suggest.
    I need to live in an orderly way.  I don’t want everything perfect all the time, and don’t expect that with 5 little kids.  But, sometimes in order to have peace to soak up that little baby, we needed to clean house a little bit.  I wish I had the peace you are finding here.
    (The one perk for me is that even though I’m a crazy person while pregnant, once that baby comes I go back to being pretty nice.  Maybe they were more willing to help me because I wasn’t a screeching whale anymore…I don’t know.  ha)

  •  The magic is that somehow the house is actually pretty presentable even after I decided to stop hounding everyone.  Which is good…but also bad because it means I’ve been freaking out for NO REASON.  From a lesson comes another lesson 🙂

  • This morning, and I think several other upcoming mornings, you get a pass.  Do your best, try to let go, and try to be nice…but don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t always rise to the occasion.

    Oh, and look for a groupon for a cleaning service for the next few months while you regain sanity.  Wait…try to regain sanity.  🙂

    Congratulations by the way!!!  Adorable!

  • RoseAnne Cleary

    I just happened upon your blog because my son [Sean Cleary] and your amazing baby were near each other on Facebook. You have come to a wonderful insight about your vocation – one that I still struggle with. Phooey on Martha. There may be a Martha time in your life but don’t waste daylight on it now!  Please know that I’m on your cheering squad.  RoseAnne Cleary