Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A real house

When we were first married, I kept an incredibly clean house.

I was proud of it.

Before people came over, I would fret and frazzle as I got everything in tip-top shape for guests.

JB didn't get it. He agreed that a clean house was a nice thing. But for him, he was more interested in his time.

Early in our marriage, my husband informed me that he would never make our bed. "I have counted how many minutes it would take me," he began. "I multiplied that by the days in a week and the weeks in a year and the years in my lifetime, and I don't want to give up days in my life to make a bed."


After fifteen years together, we have both met in the middle. JB will now be the one who goes into our room to do a clean-up and, (gasp!), actually make the bed. I feel like I am too busy trying to make sure we keep our heads above water. Making a bed is a luxury. I don't have time for luxuries.

We live in a real house.

JB had said that to me once. He had told me, "I will not live in a fake house."

In other words, I will not pretend things for the sake of what people think. I will present to people the real people that we are.

So, if you came to visit my house today, you'd find ...
  • ... pee on the back of the toilet seats.
  • ... coloring books and crayons scattered on the dining room table.
  • ... dishes in the sink.
  • ... water bottles everywhere (I refill these to have cold water at my command)
  • ... clean laundry piled on the counter in the laundry room.
  • ... at least one of our three play areas currently covered with toys.
  • ... all beds unmade.
  • ... our office desks with scattered papers and notes and receipts.
  • ... burp cloths and baby bibs every few steps.
  • ... dirty clothes in various piles.
This is how people really live. Sure we can all do a major clean-up and make the house look like we don't have four kids and a dog living here.

But that isn't real. Real is living. If you live in a house and laugh in a house and love in a house, that is truly what is most important. (It really is!)

Our last four homes: Rochester, Eglin, Turkey, and even here in the Azores, our door seemed like it was on a rotating hinge. People are constantly flying in and out. And most of my friends say to me, "How do you do that? How do you let people just drop in unannounced?"

And the truth of it is that I do this by not caring.

If you are coming to my house than remember that it is my house. If you don't like how clean it is or how many toys are around, then you can leave my house. I will not present to you someone that I am not. I don't have time for that, and it is not fair to you. You should not think I have it all together if I don't. You should think I have it exactly like I have it at the moment that you knock on my door.

You should think I am real ...

and my house is real ...

and my life is real.


Pam said...

Thank you....I think we all need to hear that. My children are grown now and I am blessed with three grandchildren and I am constantly telling them, don't worry about will get done when it gets done....enjoy them while they are little...well all the time, but you know how fast time goes by! Thank you for sharing this, I think I will give your blog address to my daughter and son-in-law so they can read it! You ahave a beautiful family! PS - my nephew is in the months and will be going to Korea (South) the end of November.....

Jenny said...

This is so timely. We literally just talked about this at MOPS yesterday. Sharing on our MOPS FB page! Thanks Wen!

June said...

Guffawed out loud at the boldface "not caring" bit. High-five, sister!

AW said...

I don't always keep a clean house, but I attempt to keep a neat house. This is not done for anyone other than me. With my sensory issues, I am a much better (calmer, less anxious, less depressed) mother when my house is neat. And in order to do that, we keep our physical possessions to a minimum with a minimalistic decorating style. I purge old decorations, clothes, toys, SCHTUFF as quickly as I can. Again, not to make anyone else happy, but to keep my sanity. I'm VERY blessed to have a schedule that allows me several hours a week childless so I can do that. Since B is in pre-k and JK is in Kinder, it is MUCH easier and I am a much HAPPIER Momma! ;-)

Anonymous said...

LOVE THIS ONE!!!!!! For obvious reasons( think Stegs)and I so so sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo agree with you!! You will never say in 20 years " oh I wished I had cleaned house MORE" You will be happy you spent the time with your kids, and they got to have the freedom of expression!

I knew a family once who was so rigid they could not even mix toys while toy came off the shelf, and back on before another could be played with!!?? I felt so sorry for them!!! My kids never wanted to go play there!You are an awesome MOM Wen, keep up the good work!! :) N

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Andi, I think you are totally doing the same thing as me in a different way. By keeping things simple, you are able to keep things clean easily. Totally agree with you on this!

Joy Z said...

I love it! And I can agree with everything...except the unmade bed! I can't help it. My day just doesn't seem to go well if I don't make it. LOL

Nancy, Jeremy, Jack, and Julianne said...

I have certainly learned to embrace mine this past year.

Dana said...

It took me 6 years and 2 kids to get to this point too! My husband made the same comment to me about being real and for the first fee years it made me crazy! But after 17 years and 4 kids I am totally with you on this! I used to think everyone had it more together than me with their perfect houses until I learned a few secrets. First most of the people with super clean houses weren't home all day (they worked outside the home and their kids were in school or daycare), second a lot of theses people had housekeepers (best money ever spent!!), and third our small one story home didn't gave the secret upstairs dumping ground my friends had!! Once I learned to let go of what others thought about my presentation of "the real me" I finally found happiness!