This holiday week, I want to share with you a timely excerpt from my book, The SuperMom Myth. It’s a reminder for all us moms who are drowning in mess and noise over Christmas break and maybe wishing for a fairy godmother to appear in the heap. Let’s “train our eyes to detect joy in messy places,” amen?
Thank you dearly to everyone who has read The SuperMom Myth so far, and to all of you who plan to read it soon. I pray it blesses you. Click here to learn more about the book and where you can find your very own copy (paper or Kindle). Wishing you all a grace-filled end to 2015!
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It happens every year. Following a school break, whether Christmas or Easter or summer vacation, my house takes a hit. I’m talking total disaster. It’s like Toys“R”Us blows up in my living room and I’m left to tiptoe through the shrapnel.
Last Christmas, as soon as all the presents were unleashed from their packaging, my girls scattered game pieces, stuffed animals, sticker books, lip gloss tubes, plastic tea set utensils, and Disney princess figurines across carpets and tables and sofa cushions. For an entire week I made valiant attempts to organize throughout the day, but that’s the tricky thing about being on vacation—we were all home and sharing the same space and making more messes every hour. I could not keep up with my daughters’ enthusiasm for playtime.
“Girls, can we please put away some of these toys?” I stood in the center of the kitchen and resisted the urge to weep.
“Sure, Momma!” Giggling trickled from their bedroom down the hall. I followed the sound and found them kneeling on the floor together, rocking their new twin dolls in their arms.
“Shhhh!” My younger one warned. “Babies are sleeping!”
“Oh, so sorry to disturb you.” I backed out of their doorway, smiling.
Suddenly that mess didn’t look so messy anymore.
“‘Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?’” (Mark 8:18).
The difference between a burden and a blessing is perspective. It’s a matter of training our eyes to detect joy in messy places.
Are you seeing the piles of Matchbox cars or the child who loves to race them?
Are you complaining about the ice-cream drips on the counter, or will you scoop an extra bowl for yourself and join the party?
Are you mad that someone “tried on” your makeup and painted the sink with your mascara wand? Or will you bend down to kiss the face that was made in God’s image, with your chin and Daddy’s eyes that look up to you each morning as if you are the most beautiful woman in the world?
I’ll tell you what that mess really means. It means God gave you your kids today. That’s a gift, not a given. Yes, sometimes they’re loud and needy and they can’t seem to figure out how to put their socks in the hamper or their crayons back in the box. They bicker and spill and track wet boot prints in the house.
But I remind myself—they are here with me. They are healthy and happy and delightful. They hug my legs and tell me they love me. They beg me to make cake pops and color dinosaur pictures as if nothing else in all the world matters more than sharing ordinary moments together.
And they’re right.
It’s outrageous how much I love them.
And let’s be honest, we all know there will come a day when our children are no longer so interested in toys or games or art projects, when their pleas to “play Monopoly with me!” or “let’s build a fort!” will be fewer and farther between until they’ve silenced altogether. Then maybe we’ll wish for one more day of dirty feet and paper scraps and Cocoa Puffs stuck in the rug.
So that disaster in my living room? I decided to celebrate it. Messes, as much as they drive me nuts, are essentially a sign that my home is filled with family, and I get to spend my days cluttering the house with my favorite people. Of course, sometimes we need to limit the mess before everyone gets evicted. But what I’m encouraging here is balance. As moms, is it more important to keep our environment untarnished or to give our children space to learn and play and grow? I don’t want my kids to grow up with memories of Mom running behind them with a hand vac. This house is their home, too.
So will you give it a try? Make some sloppy cookies, concoct a baking soda volcano, or let the kids mix sand in the kiddie pool, for goodness’ sake. You’re not really making a mess, tidy mom.
You’re making a memory.