With a Happy Heart

Confession: I hate to clean.

I’m a natural slob. I do like to have a clean, orderly house but I hate that I’m the one that carries the burden of keeping it that way. I am a girl who enjoys piles: piles of dirty clothes, piles of clean clothes, piles of mail. Right now my dining room table is currently home to stacks of mail, gifts I need to deliver to friends, Halloween decorations, random toys, and Halloween candy. If there is something that needs to go somewhere but I don’t want to actually carry it to the room it belongs in it goes on the dining room table. I take my clothes off at night and leave them in a heap on the bathroom floor. I’m terrible at taking the trash outside to the bin, so I will overflow the can until Jason comes home and takes it outside.

I enjoy my home when it is clean and tidy. I like my home to be CLEAN. You know, when the smell of bleach and pumpkin spice candles permeate the air? I like it when bathrooms are clean, toys have a place and are in their intended place, laundry is caught up, and my dishwasher has been emptied.

I just don’t like being the one responsible for the above.

My friends keep telling me – “Andrea, get a housekeeper! It will change your life!” Well, I’m sure it would, but it isn’t in the budget at the present, so… I am the housekeeper.

Here’s where Jason and I can butt heads. He likes a tidy house. He does not care if bathrooms have been scrubbed or floors have been swept and mopped, but he does like it when the kitchen is clean, toys are picked up and put away, and there is no clutter in our house. He gets frustrated when he comes home and it looks as if I lost a game of Jumanji. He is a patient and understanding man, but there have been days when he has come home and said the dreaded words… “what did you DO all day?”

To be honest, this question usually incites rage within my heart. I get mad and defensive, assuming that he is criticizing me or thinking that the state of the house is more important to him than the time I’m spending with my children.

What I rarely stop to consider is that my husband has a right to come home to a peaceful home. Jason works a hard and stressful job, and it stresses him out more when he steps in the door and sees a mess. It makes him feel like he needs to immediately start picking up after working a 12 hour day. And I want to give him credit – there are many time he has done just that. Days where I’ve been sick, or our kids have been sick, or I’ve struggled with household chores because of my depression he has rolled up his sleeves and done more than his share. But doesn’t he deserve to come home to a place of refuge and rest?

Today I was cleaning the kitchen and I asked Sullivan to pick up the couch cushions, which I noticed had been knocked to the floor. 15 minutes later I went to check on the kids and I saw that the cushions had not been picked up. I asked him again to pick them up. I returned 10 minutes later and saw that he still had not done what I asked, and I disciplined him and put him in time out. He started to whine and I replied “Right away, the right way, with a happy heart” which is his notice that he needs to stop crying and get busy doing what he’s been asked to do. He complied, and I returned to the kitchen to finish my chores.

As I loaded the dishwasher, I began to think about how often I don’t follow my own commands to my children. Do I always have a happy heart as I’m cleaning my home? The answer is no. I do my housework with a lot of resentment and grumbling. I’m frequently angry and exasperated with the messes my children have made. I’m short of temper because I’m cleaning up a mess that I feel as if I just cleaned up yesterday. I’m upset because my children (like their mother) are not tidy and do not enjoy completing their daily chores.

How different would my home be if I viewed laundry as a blessing? I could spend the time folding praying for the people who wear the clothes.

What if while I unloaded my groceries, I prayed for my husband’s job, which allows us to buy food?

As I vacuum and mop, what if I reflected upon the tremendous blessing that I have been given of staying at home with my children during their formative years?

The truth is that I really want my husband and my children to view our home as a place of love, enjoyment, and refuge. I want them to come home and be able to relax, laugh, and have fun. I don’t want them to remember a mom who yells about crumbled goldfish on the floor. I want them to remember a mom who loved and served them well – even if that service is in clean bathrooms, folded laundry, and a hot meal on the table each night.

Right away, the right way, with a happy heart.

Maybe I need to take my own advice.

Comments

  1. Chelsi Yarger Weedon says:

    Ah, this is me to a T. Thank you for your honesty! I do have a house cleaner right now, but my house is still a cluttered mess. I go through spurts in which I’m better but overall it just is who I am. I’m appreciative of what we have but a tidy house just isn’t ever going to be.

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