You leave your mess, and I’ll leave mine

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Okay, so those chocolate chip scones I made yesterday?  I made two more batches, they were that good!  One batch makes eight scones, and that was only one per person (with Grammy and Pappy), so my kids were begging for more.  How could I say no?  I just couldn’t.  But, someone please needs to come to my house now and eat the last scone and a half!  My kids will just fight over an even splitting, and I really, really should not eat another one!

Remember I also mentioned overnight company this weekend?  I’m supposed to be cleaning right now.  Dee has the kids downstairs watching the new “Cars” movie he bought for them.  (So we can watch it over, and over, and over…)  I’m taking a quick break though, to drink the coffee Dee made for me.   And also to polish off the rest of the Starbucks ice cream in the freezer.  (It was going bad?)

I go back and forth between freaking out that my house isn’t perfect and kicking myself for thinking that it needs to be.  Can I find a happy medium?  I’m trying.  (You show me a practicing perfectionist that says she’s happy, and I’ll show you a miserable family!  Plus, she’s probably lying.)

Remember about not basing feelings on performance?  Right.  So I keep telling myself that a little mess might be good.  Leave some Legos on the floor, maybe not scrub those blue pen scribbles off the door.  Because, maybe my friend would like to see an honest woman.  A mom not pretending to have it all together!   Maybe the truth would be better.  The truth that most days, there are dishes from several meals in the sink.  There is laundry on the mud room floor.  Sometimes even dirty diapers!  And dust, dead skin cells floating around, because we LIVE here!  Maybe that would be a gift, to let someone else see my mess.

Why is it that I feel the mess has to be completely gone for someone to see beauty?  Perfection?  “Perfect” doesn’t mean “no messes.”  LOVE is perfect, and love is sometimes messy.  Perfect is hanging up the broom to grab a rake, and making a huge pile of leaves for my kids.  Perfect is inviting someone into my home even if I haven’t had time to vacuum the dead stinkbugs off the curtians and bake a gourmet dessert.

And the most pressing question of all, “Am I passing the horrible weight of perfectionism on to my kids?”

Yes, I asked myself this question tonight, as I dusted away evidence of our existence.  If my children see me rush around crazy when company comes, what am I telling them?  If I only speak gently when my kids are being quiet, calm, obedient, cute… what am I telling them?  That they have to be “perfect” to gain acceptance?  To be loved?

I think this nagging feeling, that I might be planting fear in my children’s’ hearts, is what motivates me the most to leave those Legos.  Those tinker toys.  Those dirty socks and dirty dishes.  Leave them until I can clean up in a calm, unhurried fashion.  Because I am a mother most of all; and lavish, unafraid, unconditional and limitless LOVE is what my children need!  Not doubts that they must earn love.  Perfect love casts out fear and doubts, and does not require anything in return.

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About patchofheaven

"Mom" sums it up quite well! I cook, I clean, I homeschool, and yes, I do still ride a tricycle. I love to read books to my kids, and every once in a while I manage to read a book "all by my big self." I journal about my life, here at patchofheaven; hoping to remember, grow, love more, and entertain my mom and other readers!

9 responses »

  1. Wow Ruth! You hit the nail on the head with this one! Your comments about what you are teaching your kids, and planting fear in their hearts really struck home… So convicting! Thank you for sharing your perspective, friend! I needed this today!

  2. Ruth, I am with Heather. This blog was perfect and a necessary reminder to all of us moms who drive ourselves crazy because once again there’s peanut butters smeared on our walls, peeling paint on our antique tub and sink, food stuffed behind our radiators… Yup! I was thankful for your timely and wise reminder!

  3. I loved this post! Though I’ve been feeling just the opposite lately. Our house has gotten a little too messy lately. You know the kind where you don’t even want to open your front door. So, I’ve been wondering if I’ve been teaching my kids bad habits and teaching them that cleaning isn’t important. I think a happy medium between the two of use would be perfect. Please pass the scones. 🙂

  4. Ruth –
    You and I are together in this battle against perfectionism. Sounds like you are closer to victory than I am! I still do a lot of shouting to “pick up this stuff right now because they will be here in ten minutes!”
    Thanks so much for the reminder of what is truly important!
    Gina

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