confessions [of a mama] part.14

 Whoever coined the phrase: 'cleanliness is next to godliness' must not have had toddlers!
I think most of us home.makers can relate to having a love/hate relationship with our nest.
We delight in making it a warm, inviting, organised, and beauty-full... home.
We cringe at the messes, clutter, and carnage that creep around every corner.

We find ourselves choosing a position between two extremes: on one side the 'Stepford wife' who's spotless, sterilised, sparkling home makes you feel like a dirty hobo just for setting foot in it. While the other side shows the chaos, clutter and cacophony of a home fit for zombies.

 I tend to fall in between these two extremes.. with a style I've referred to before as 'shabby-chic'. 
 In that, our home is moderately clean.  For every area of tidiness, there's a corresponding place of messiness.  Which is to say, I'm the kind of person who gets irked when there's an untidy spot giving me the ugly eye...  my blood pressure starts to rise when I see clutter/chaos left unchecked.  Once I've done a frenzy-cleaning I feel way more calm, content, 'deserving' of a break...  However, I also don't mind leaving a space slightly rumpled, neglected or moderately messy if it means I'm freeing time to pursue something better (children, creating, socialising, etc).  Sound contradictory?   That's the confusion of my own mind.
It comes out looking like this:
The dishes are always either: dirty in the sink - or - drying in the rack.
The laundry sits in a dirty pile half the week - and a clean pile the other half.  Then it gets sorted in to neat groupings for our 'floor-drobe'... right, husband?
The toys get sorted and stashed... and two minutes later, scrambled afresh.
Dust-bunnies have been named that for the very reason that they multiply grotesquely (not because they're cute and fuzzy).

 I don't know about you, but it feels almost enraging exhausting sometimes.
Like trying to keep a home clean ('enough') is a lesson in futility.

Like you're trying to walk up a downward escalator... and if you just stop to relax for one moment, you'll be sucked down.
Like you're fighting Hercules' many-headed Hydra... and for every successful attack - two more messes show up in it's place.
Like you're 'brushing your teeth, while eating Oreos' (quote).

The clean-dirty-repeat-cycle never stops.
It doesn't wait for me to catch my breath.
Like life, it just keeps on going, while I have to try and learn through it.
Learn?  You say?  Yes.

I need to learn to not loathe this part of life.
To not fill a blog post with rantings about it (oops)!
To not let the pressure of shame force me to pretend I 'have it all together' for every flippin' person that comes to visit our house to think that we never really live here because it's kept in such an unrealistic state of cleanliness!
Why do we all do this to each other??
Invite someone over, and go crazy cleaning the house to ensure they don't discover we live like uncivilised sewer rat-people!

Most importantly, I keep needing to learn to look at these souls..
..and not see lil' mess-makers.  But softly start singing:

"Mother, O' Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth.
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek - peekaboo.

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo.
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."
~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Yep, that's the dirt on how I clean,
Just another manic Monday here,

thanks for letting me rant,
Mel ;o)


  1. Haha! So true, Mel! Maybe it's because our kids are exactly the same age but you have captured my life perfectly!!! Thanks for the little reminder to really look at my little souls!

  2. aw Bev, how fun it would be if you lived closer... 'play dates galore' would be had I tell ya. Thanks for sharing in the beautiful.messy.journey here. xo

  3. Apparently ....

    "The origin of " Cleanliness is next to Godliness," a common proverb, dates as far back as ancient Hebrew writings and possibly longer. While some attribute to the Bible, it's actually not found there. The known English appearance of the proverb is from the writings of Sir Francis Bacon in 1605. In his 'Advancement of Learning' Bacon wrote, " Cleanness of body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God." Roughly 200 years later, John Wesley used the words we are now familiar with, " 'Cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness." For more info on well known proverbs and phrases, visit www.phrases.org "

    I agree with you said on being real with people and not putting up a fake front. And I agree with you on socializing with other people and spending time with kids and husband is more important than a little dust. When someone comes into my home the thing I want them to come away saying/feeling is that they had really great fellowship with us and felt the warmness and that they felt like we wanted quality time with them.

    After reading your blog entry, my husband and I got into a discussion about what the Bible has to say about these things. So I will share a few things we talked about....

    Proverbs 24:30-34 it says the following....
    30 I went by the field of the lazy man,
    And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding;
    31 And there it was, all overgrown with thorns;
    Its surface was covered with nettles;
    Its stone wall was broken down.
    32 When I saw it, I considered it well;
    I looked on it and received instruction:
    33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    A little folding of the hands to rest;
    34 So shall your poverty come like a prowler,
    And your need like an armed man.
    The conclusion from those verses is this, if the disorder in your home is because of laziness then it is a sin. But if it is because of you concentrating on more needed things then it is not.
    In Titus 2:4-5 is says what the most important things are for Mothers...."that they [Older women] admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed."
    Keeper at home or Homemakers = Literally means Guarding the home and it has the idea of domestically inclined (from strongs concordance).
    But you can also be the opposite....... Be so Clean and spend time making your whole house spotless AT THE EXPENSE of your husband and children and hospitality etc. that is also a sin. Because then you are neglecting the 3 commands: to love your husband, and children and being hospitable.
    1 Peter 4:9 & Romans 12:13 says be "given to hospitality" Being Hospitable means "lover of guests or strangers" and that literally means "Pursuing the love of guests & strangers"). People are more important than things!
    So there has to be a balance. And each mother/wife needs to ask herself before the Lord is the state of my house because of laziness (I'd rather watch TV or read my novel than clean my house) or it because I have been spending quality time looking after and loving my children and husband?

  4. At least you are brave enough to photograph it!
    Annnnnd put it in words!

    "Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking."

  5. Same here, same here. Gosh, I always love your photos!


  6. We gave up here. With a husband whose extent of cleaning is doing the dishes, I can't keep up with the mess of a gaming man and a 11 month old while working full time.
    Only on big occasions does the house get a spotless clean. I wish I had the energy to do it more.

  7. Wow Rach, that's an extensive amount of study/research in response! Thanks for taking the time to share... 'Balance' is the endless pursuit in all areas of life for me. We have such pendulum hearts tossing to and fro don't we? Thanks, mama. ;o)

  8. Heh, well, 'brave' enough to take pictures of small 'pretty' messes! ;o) I'd fear to scare off my sweet readers like you with anything too icky! Keep rocking there mama. xx

  9. Aw, thanks beauty. ;o)

  10. Yes, that's got to be a real challenge.. these are the times I try to remind myself it's just a 'season' and soon it too, will pass. Key: figure out how to make cleaning the 'game' for the hubs! ;o) lol

  11. Remind me to tell you something funny about this subject tomorrow.

  12. Wow! I love that poem. I'm all teary eyed now. Yes, this is the state of things isn't it? Always trying to find a balance with the mess. It's pretty much exactly the same for me around here. My mantra is, "my house will be perfectly clean once it's empty and silent." I think I've come to terms with the mess for the most part. Mostly, I just hope for a pause from the judgement of others in this regard. Living out in the country helps :)

  13. Awww... glad you like that poem (I've actually referred to a loooong time ago here too) it's a good reminder for sure. That mantra is a key perspective maker too.. bittersweet for sure. I want to come live in the country!! xx

  14. LOVE this gentle reminder of what is important. My children are growing growing growing at a rapid rate; our eldest of 4 barely into double digits but already 5' 4" so I understand the urgency of grasping what you are saying in this post! Stop & take it all in because it truly does fly by. We all know the laundry is never completely done in any given moment no matter how hard you try! One of the mysteries of the universe is where does the laundry come from? All that laundry actually is what reminds me how lucky I am to have little loves about from the little baby socks from long ago to the monkeys racing swim suits of today... sparkly dresses, grass stained jeans, towel after towel, wrinkled sheets & all the rest... I am a very lucky mama indeed!

    Girl I really loved this post! Thank-you.

  15. P.S.
    Is it just me or is inviting company over the best way to get the house really sparkly? lol.

  16. true! There's a method to the madness there for sure ;o)

  17. aww.. thank YOU sweet soul. ;o)


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