By Morgan Starr from Rookie Mommy Raising Boys
If you were to walk into my house at the end of the day–at the end of the long, long day–you might find the scene to be unsettling, messy, cluttered, chaotic. You might even go so far as to be appalled. There are typically dishes in the sink that need to be washed; mail and random pieces of paper are scattered across the kitchen table next to half-full sippy cups; a trail of toys and books is left behind anywhere from the couch to the steps to even possibly the bathroom; a gargantuan pile of clean laundry is waiting to be put away, and even more dirty laundry waits to be washed; and the list of offenses goes on. The place is a disaster; I know. Believe me: I’m usually left feeling appalled too.
And as I walk through the house and survey all of the rooms after bedtime–after a long, drawn-out bedtime–all I can do is shake my head in despair. How is this mess even possible? I didn’t stop all day long. In between breaking up arguments between the kids, I made countless attempts at finishing the laundry. I prepared and struggled to clean up three meals, not including a myriad of snacks that were begged for and then abandoned, half eaten. I tried to pay the bills but was interrupted by a toddler who needed help in the restroom. It was a constant whirlwind of tidying and cleaning and taking care of kids and tidying and cleaning and taking care of kids..
And at the end of the day, I’m left with nothing to show for it.
So if you were to walk into my house at the end of the day, you might think I’d sat around all day watching television. You might think I simply left my kids to their own devices while I hid in my bedroom and allowed them to tear the place to shambles. Or maybe, if you have a house full of kids too, you’d nod your head in understanding and clap me on the shoulder as a portrayal of your solidarity. “Yeah, my house too,” you might quietly say.
But when I peek back into my kids’ room to check on them–now that the chaos of the day has finally lowered its head and retreated for a few hours–I can’t help but know that I have a hell of a lot to show for “it”–for all of my hard work today.
Those dishes in the sink? I made sure that my kids were fed. Those books scattered next to their beds? I read to them, hoping to teach them something. The toys everywhere? I smiled as I watched my boys play together and use their imaginations. The mail on the table? I paid the bills to try to keep the household on track.
So maybe my house isn’t perfect. Maybe at first glance, it looks like I have nothing to show for a tiring day of non-stop work, but believe me, I do. I have the most important thing–three things, rather–to show for all of my hard work: my kids. They’re healthy and they’re happy, and really, when you’ve got that, in the scheme of things, the house can wait. Those three sleeping children are all I’ll ever need to remind myself that the hard days of work are worth every second.
Rookie Mama Musings: This column is published weekly on Thursdays, by Morgan Starr, right here on the Mama Lovejoy blog. Morgan Starr is a mom of three young boys who is embracing the wild ride of motherhood and learning as she goes. She’s a high school English teacher by day and a writer by night, blogging at www.rookiemommyraisingboys.com. You can keep up with her kids’ antics on Facebook and on Twitter. For more information on the Rookie Mama Musings column, please visit the Rookie Mama Musings page. If you enjoyed this article and you’d like to see more from Mama Meditations or from Mama Lovejoy, you can follow Mama Lovejoy on Facebook, or @Mamalovejoy1 on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Periscope.