Monday, August 20, 2012

Mothering In The Midst Of A Mess {Mindful Mothering Mondays}

Last night, a friend stopped by while we were out to drop off a generous gift.  Upon returning, my first thought was one of gratitude.  My second was one of shame.

The lawn is several inches past acceptable, speaking to the sudden change from dry weather in the past few weeks, as well as the absence of a certain lawn-mowing son.  The trash can overflowing next to the garage, flies swirling around.  The yard a mess of toys, if you can see them, hidden by the luxuriously overgrown lawn.  The deck a mess of whatever the kids have left laying around.  The driveway brightly colored with smashed chalk.

What if she looked inside?  I knew what she would have seen.  Dishes, not just piled in the sink, but on most surfaces.  Toys and laundry and random odds and ends spread far and wide.  Suitcases not yet unpacked from a trip we returned from a week ago.

This week has been a rough one, one that saw me more horizontal than vertical thanks to some illness.  One where just feeding the kids lunch mattered more than dishes.  One where my darling husband did his level best to slip on my responsibilities after long days of shouldering his own.  In short, a week of just getting by.

Yes, sometimes Mothering can require getting it done in the midst of a mess.  A hard one for me to accept.  I know that I am more than this mess, that my friend, if she did peek inside, would not judge me or find me lacking because of a snapshot of my space at this time.  Yet still it can be hard for me not to be distracted by the backed up weeks worth of laundry and bathrooms that I will mercifully leave to your imagination.  Sometimes the mental noise that the visual clutter screams into my brain can drown out the people who need me the very most.

It happens to most of us from time to time.  When life unexpectedly takes a wild turn, or a certain phase has us a bit off balance for a time. When Mama has little to give at a certain season in life, it is so important to give first to the souls in our care - not the stuff.  Choose the children first and don't sweat the rest.  There will be messy days, weeks, months.  A wise mother is one who places stories above sweeping, lives before laundry, snuggles above scrubbing.

These things matter, and yes have their place.  But mothering in the midst of this great and mighty mess has served as a reminder to me that people will always matter more.

I've  been known to lament certain messes in my life.  "I can't leave this earth until I organize the basement!" I sigh.  The idea being that someone may come upon my mess, and even if I was no longer earth-side, I can't bear the thought.  But when I think ahead to what  waits on the other side, I realize - surely not questions about the state of the bed linens and the date the refrigerator was last cleaned.  No, I think I'll be asked about the souls I was entrusted and the priority I placed on what God has called a blessed gift.  And even if I leave behind cheerios under the sofa and a basket of mismatched socks on the stairs, I pray that I can say I put my little ones first.

{It's Mindful Mothering Mondays, a day to take a deep breath and write out your mothering journey, whatever form it takes.  A day to link up for encouragement from others who are in this same phase of life.  A day of writing out the trials and triumphs and what you're learning right where you are, right now. 

You might post recent struggles or thoughts.  Maybe just a picture or a quote.  Or maybe you'll just come here and read the links that others post.  Whatever form your participation takes, this is a day for you.
We are all in this, together.  Together, we can encourage and build one another up, be honest with our shortcomings and strengthened by community to keep fighting the good fight.

I chose Mondays because what Mama doesn't need a little encouragement on a Monday? As such, I'll have the link up ready to go on Sunday night for you to begin submitting your links.

I hope you'll meet with me each Monday!  Here's what to do ~

Link up your post below.  Remember to put the link to the exact post you want to link, and not just your blog url. Include in your post a link back here so others who want to join in can find us!  And visit some other Mamas who have linked up.

Post the community graphic within your post, so people who are reading your Mindful Mothering post can come back here and find the rest of us!

Invite the writers of your favorite blogs to join in!

Share this meme with others on facebook and twitter.  This community is for all moms, and the more that participate, the more we will be able to enjoy!!}

Grab the graphic here:


{If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or follow me by email at the top right hand of the screen to have future posts sent to you}



  1. a very encouraging post for a Monday morning that finds me returned from camping and holidays....and numerous tasks requiring my attention. but the kids are clamoring to grasp those last rays of sunshine before school starts in 2 weeks.
    I have decided to go for the "illusion of clean," and then join them in the sandbox. :)
    the good news is my fridge is empty, and thus, will be very easy to clean. ha ha

    1. Yes! Summer is fast fleeting. Enjoy it while it lasts!

  2. Beautifully written!

    Hope you are feeling better soon.

  3. Reading this post was actually quite comforting as it describes almost every day of my life. Sometimes I tell myself to stay away from Facebook to avoid the numerous posts from my other mommy friends who love to boast about the long list of chores & things that had been completed by 9 am. After all I am a stay-at-home mom too...why can't I keep up? Often times I focus way too much on what I need to do today to keep up with that "supermom" image, that I do noy give my children and family the loving attention that they deserve.

    1. No one can "do it all." Most of us have to choose. I hope to choose my children, always!

  4. Thanks for this. I am not a mother myself, but when I do look towards the future I think "How could I ever be able to handle all of that?"

    But as you are saying, it's a matter of priorities. The laundry will always be there, but the fleeting days with kids and family won't. You have to take care of yourself, and take care of your family. The rest is gravy that will get done once you are done with that much needed snuggle with your little ones.

    This is encouraging!

    1. My Mom always tells me "You don't stay home to be a housekeeper. You stay home to raise children. Don't confuse which one is the most important!"

  5. Yes!! This is so on point!! If you stopped by my house this morning, you would most definitely find the same thing!But, when I tuck those sweet little faces into bed at night, I'm reminded that I got it all right throughout the day and my priorities were right where they were supposed to be!

  6. Oh Lydia,
    I cannot tell you how many times your posts are timed at the exact point where I can relate. Aaron and I stayed up WAY past a reasonable to talk about my expectations of our home and reality of what matters.
    Thank you for your beautifully written words. God's Blessings to you this week.

  7. What an exceptional piece of Mothering encouragement, Lydia! I especially love this line, "A wise mother is one who places stories above sweeping, lives before laundry, snuggles above scrubbing." I think I need to print this and hang it on my kitchen wall - I feel relentless guilt that I can't "do it all". It is always comforting to know I am not alone in feeling that way and that, in fact, I don't HAVE to do it all!

    Wishing you a blessed day and a return to calm (or at least normal) soon.

  8. Brought tears to my eyes - thank you for this honesty. (And for describing my house, frankly!) Having recently moved this summer, I am so stressed - and I'll admit it, ashamed - of how messy, cluttered, and unsettled/unpacked our new house still is. I have been battling with my own vanity to want everything to get fixed/unpacked/perfected. It's impossible with two little ones underfoot, but my pride gets the best of me. I need to slow down, way down, and remember that they - not the walls around them - matter most. Sending you prayers and peace for a trying time and hoping that things ease soon.

  9. I'm late getting online today--because I needed to mow the lawn--but first had to put away the toys, hoses, pick up after the cat who now is under the impression that the yard is her litter box--pardon me--I'm not cleaning a little box and the outside! Gross. Then I moved my flower pots from the front to the back deck so that I can enjoy them--now that our travels are mostly over. Then I came in and had to vacuum because of all the cat hair that had accumlated during our last trip . . . I think we are all sharing a page out of this same story! Be Blessed.

  10. After just returning from a camping trip and gearing up for the start of school, the house is a mess! As I look at all the items litered about, I just have to smile and know that this is home - messy and disorganized but (hopefully)spilling over with love! (By the way, your phrase "the mental noise that the visual clutter screams into my brain" was a perfect description! Love it!)

  11. Thank you for this post. I don't have many friends around here and the ones that I do have seem to have it all together and can manage to do everything. I hate having my house in a state that makes me freak out about the mailman coming to the door. :) I guess most mothers/wives/women/men (if they are honest) have those days and weeks and sometimes months. I just try to focus on what is most important and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Thanks again for a great post.


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