So we are on something like week four of our new, clean house. The Hubba and the kids are working hard daily and stuff is getting done like it never has before. I posted before about how nice it was but also I felt guilty that it was happening without me and ashamed that I had never been able to organize the troops so well.
Those feelings are falling by the wayside now. Taking their place are much better feelings. I feel appreciated. I don't know if my family thinks of it this way, nevertheless, this is the message that I hear. For instance, yesterday I baked four loaves of whole wheat bread. It's an easy, quick (for bread!) recipe but still uses quite a bit of counter space. But it was a really simple thing to do when the kitchen was already clean and I had all the counter space I could possibly want. So I had thick slices of warm bread, cut and ready to be eaten (with Baboo's homemade honey butter) as an after school snack right when kids got home. Then we had more huge thick slices with the beef stew I had made for dinner. The last of the bread was used this morning for breakfast, spread with peanutbutter alongside the smoothies I made. 4 loaves gone just like that.
Except that this morning, the kitchen is clean again and all my bread pans and the mixer are washed and ready to go. So when I see it like that, it tells me "Thanks for the bread! Whenever you're ready, here are the tools you need to make more." And so this morning when Kelvinator was just going on and on about how he loves my homemade bread and he's so glad that I am making it again and how this was the yummiest batch ever, it's like this warm invitation to just make more.
Also, I've been really trying to loosen up about having people in the house. So, a week or so ago, I invited one of Wink's friends over to play for a couple hours. Just out of the blue. And then one day I came home to find that Mack's best friend was over playing. I just took a deep breath and let it happen. And I watched as I finally had the home where the big brother (JJ) was chasing and wrestling kids. At one point he had some siblings and the friend hanging off his body. Everyone was having fun. Then during our family scripture time one evening, the sister missionaries came by asking if they could use our restroom. (Is there anything worse than that??) But I invited them in and took a quick peek in the bathroom. I moved the roll of toilet paper from the back of the toilet onto the roll. That was it. So everyone's hard work is allowing me to be a nice mom. It's like saying, "Hey, we'd like to invite friends over and have people in our house just like you, mom. So we'll do this so that you can say yes."
I keep thinking that I will work my tail off around the house on the things that they aren't doing. Because I need to hold up my fair share as well. But the days just keep passing by without me being able to tackle those things. But I'm not sitting on my butt doing nothing either. I'm making phone calls and taking care of the budget and paying bills and driving kids everywhere and reading to Wink and making and keeping up with schedules and returning phone calls and running the business of our lives. But even that...I realize for the first time how much of my time in a given day it takes to run this household. I've been looking at it that way, too. I'm not just a stay-at-home mom who should be cleaning. But I run this household. It's more than just staying at home. It's more than just cleaning. And suddenly, I actually feel more valued. Because everyone else doing this work frees me up to take care of all of that other stuff that stresses me out without feeling like my taking care of those things means we're living in a pit. Like it's one or the other. So when I'm sitting here writing this blog post in this tidy living room, I feel like they are saying "We'll take care of making sure the house is clean so you can focus on all the other things that only you can do."
That's not to say that I get to sit back eating bonbons while slave children lift my feet to vacuum underneath my seat. But seeing their hard work and service makes me feel valued while also making me want to serve more and clean better. So I guess that's win-win.