Monday, October 5, 2009

The Doing and the Un-doing


Last week, I ran upstairs to gather some items before I took Mia to school. As I came down the stairs, I heard Mia's little voice cooing from in our master bath, "Ooh, so pretty. You look nice, pretty girl." And discovered that, once again, Mia had scoured the house for my make-up bag and ransacked the goodies.... And I am feeling a mixture of emotions. First feeling: joy. She's so darn cute, I can't help but smile, especially with a smear of lipstick across her face and a whole heck of a lot of blush on only one cheek and eye shadow on her nose. {Thus, me being me, even though we are running late, I took her by the window for pictures.} Second feeling: aggravation, as she has opened every single item in my make-up bag. {Truly, her speed and dexterity is almost commendable.} Lip gloss has combined with powder to form a paste that is now all over all of my daily make-up. This is at least the third time I have had to replace everything because I got tired of applying lipstick that left remnant carpet fibers and blush that made my cheeks shinny. Third feeling: futility. This, of all feelings is the worst. Why futility? Because of all the rooms in the house, she chose the one, the only room in the house, that I had just deep cleaned. This was the room she chose to write in Colorstay lipstick on the floor and walls. And I hardly ever deep clean!

This got me thinking about having little kids and what I find hardest, and I think that is it: the futility, the doing and the undoing. I clean the bathroom: the bathroom gets messed up. I make lunch: the lunch gets dumped on the floor. I buy an orchid for the kitchen table: a small child snaps the stem. I fold a load of laundry: it gets emptied all over the dirty mat by the backdoor. This is the hardest thing for me: to make an effort to have it be speedily undone. I guess that's why, since I can't have a meticulous house and my own business, I have chosen to lower my standards for our home. While it does bother me, I chose this because I found myself getting frustrated with the children for just being children. So, instead, I try to focus my energy on things that won't be swiftly undone: like spending quality time with them and building a business from the ground up. Sure, I still make the bed {most days} only to sleep in it again at night, but the process of parenthood isn't easy. I'm trying to give myself a little grace in the journey.

28 comments:

Dianne said...

Oh, I can SO relate! I also "choose" to ignore some tasks somedays! Like you said, you have to in order to stay sane! I say we raise a glass to ourselves...the mommies who choose to make a bed and in the same breath choose to ignore the dishes in the sink :)

Megan said...

What a wonderful post. I have three little girls and find myself with the same problems. You end up feeling so stretched thin by everything that sometimes you just want to hide! but at the end of the day life is what it is. I find my go to phrases with my girls are "It will wash." and also, "Accidents happen" Much support and prayers going your way :)

Megan

Cora Anne Designs said...

VERY well written, that is for sure a daily struggle for me!

ClothesMinded said...

Well, I think you're doing a fabulous job, as I'm sure your husband and kids would agree.

I don't have a meticulous home and I don't even have my own business like you do; the job of a parent is often messy, but always worth it!

Heather said...

I am having a "day" myself with the kids. It is nice to know I am not the only one with these kind of days.

Jenni said...

Oh-she is a beauty! Lipstick all over the face and all! I would have whipped out the camera as well!

I have the same issues you do! What started off as such a nice morning eating breakfast together in the playroom, turned disaster as soon as I stepped foot in the grocery store with both children today! Ugh - I was texting my husband while he was at work stating that grocery shopping was going to be BY MYSELF! from now on! He didn't respond back, good for him I am sure!

While I crave more time with my kids, being a working mama and all, I also crave alone time and my sanity, think that is part of being a mommy is trying to find the balance! Not sure if I will ever find it - but in the mean time, I will cherish each moment in between!

CANADIAN AMERICAN FAMILY said...

Well I have 2 children under 3 and I certainly don't have my own business and I still can't keep our house cleaned...just the facts of life..cute picture!

Jewllori by Lori said...

Wow, God has been teaching me his techniques in parenting, and let's just say I've been less of a willing contender that I hoped I would be! Where's that patience and mercy and grace, I so willingly desire? Or how about the unconditional love He showers on us, why am I missing that foundation so badly!? I know God has been on this parenting journey for a reason, and it's really to show our kids what God is really like.

So hats off to you for getting those priorities right. Hats off :)

Jewllori by Lori said...

I know God has ME on this journey...oops!

Jessica Haley said...

My heart goes out to you, Lori! I know one of your little guys is like my Aidan, and I know how challenging that can be. I don't want to speak for your kiddos, so I'll speak for my Aidan... Aidan is the kind of kid who has a lot of physical energy, isn't very verbal, and for every "yes," he gives a "no."

I used to put all my creative energies into my house... refinishing this or that piece of furniture, making artwork, creating treasured "found" objects. To give that up to replace it by doing things for my children {like going to the park} and then have that effort be met with obstinance is REALLY hard. It's a true sacrifice.

The truth is that, actually, most days I do not make my bed. My husband picks up the majority of the slack and does pretty much all the laundry. Also, living with a lot more visual chaos is a daily burden for both of us. Robert and I walked through Pottery Barn last week, and a smattering of decorating ideas popped into my mind. I had to take a step back and tell myself, "Not this year.... wait until they are a little older." I don't think as parents we need to completely give up our passions, but we can only fit in so much b/c so much of our lives are now given to our children.

Anyway, Lori, I wish you a little more joy and grace FOR YOURSELF in the journey. Hope #3 is kickin' around okay in there :)

Jewllori by Lori said...

Thanks Jessica, you're so right in all of this. I know God is teaching me some invaluable truths right now, so invaluable in fact that my kids one day will hopefully thank me, for showing them a true image of our Heavenly Father! Thank you GOD for choosing me to be a parent, its really a gift I don't want to take lightly...anymore!

And yes, with number 3 on the way...things are having to change :)

Cherry Blossoms said...

It is SO nice to hear other mothers that feel the same way...once you do something...it gets undone! Couldn't agree with you more~

Prencie said...

It's like the doing and un-doing of your sanity!! I know all to well!! It's funny because my husband & I were just talking about this very subject. He was complaining that every room in the house was a mess...I explained that we do live in it and it is near impossible to keep it spotless! I maintain cleaning it, just not the picking up knowing it will be on the floor minuets later! I actually pray that God will give me the strength to bare it all :)

Whimsical Creations said...

I can soooo relate. Especially days like today. *sigh*

I have to keep reminding myself that kids will be kids.

Mande said...

Oh Prencie- I hear it too- everyday....for every thing I do my husband will point out 2 things I did not do. UGGHH! I am trying my hardest to balance being a mommy & keeping a neat house, but reality is the house is not very neat unless we know company is coming over. Sad but true.

Jessica Haley said...

At least you clean it up when people come over... we just never have company ;)

Prencie said...

Ha,ha! My husband says we need to have company over more often because that is the ONLY time the house looks good! I always swear that I'm going to keep it lookin' that way...but then life happens:)

Veronica said...

Wow! Today the girl that comes to the house everyday to help me got sick... so i relate to all you guys!! but just today... Oh my God!! you are my heroes!! all of you! Here in Mexico we really aare lucky that we can afford help in the house! And even with that help people in here (and i'm ashamed right now that i have too :( )complain that they (including me...) can't handle anymore... my son is 2 years and a half and is really a little monster!!! lol... everything his sister do (she's 11 months) he want to do it... so he bites her bits her, etc etc to have what she's having or doing... i am constantly telling him not to do so... but he keeps doing it... also i clean something to found out they do something else in another room... AGHHH!! i'm so tired!! But because i have help he is more demanding... so my house has to be spotless!!! everyday!! including saturdays, sundays and the days the lady is sick or didn't came!!

Hana said...

Priceless photos! Just know that you are not alone in your "doing and un-doing". Kids will be kids and all of this just comes w/ the mommy territory. Thanks for sharing!

Amy said...

OMW I am dying at the "clean for company" comment. That is me- totally.

I too have given up in so many areas in my house-almost to the point of embarrassment. I am constantly racked with guilt by it all. How can a stay at home mom not have a clean house?

Like Lori said..parenting definitely gives you a glimpse of God's love for us, full of unconditional love and grace.

Thank you for the great, great post! Mia is just stunning- I think I might see a smidgen of red in that hair??:)

Angel Warrior said...

I love this group... all of you and your life experiences... you make me feel so much more "normal"...

There are times when I am home and wonder what happened to my sanity. I remind myself that I have spent endless hours praying for this life. A family, children, love...
You see, I went from being single and living alone to very quickly being in a relationship and in love, and then living together. Sometimes I think i'm still dealing with the shock! My beautifully kept home suddenly turned into a home for 5!! What?!!! and so this is my life, 3 beautiful girls, a wonderful man and floors that need constant sweeping & mopping, 15-20 loads of laundry a week, dinner to be made, baths to be given (including my lovely Allie/my dog), and all of the wonderful responsibilities of being a mother! Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed, and then consumed with the guilt of not being perfect and able to deal with things with the grace you all have mentioned... In the beginning, I can remember crying in my room making a desperate plea "I want to go home" knowing very well, that I was.
I guess what I meant was I needed to find my place of peace again... I feel like I am constantly praying for strength and patience, the grace that I feel I should possess, and forgiveness for lacking each.

I think that in some way, finding you all is just another way that God has blessed my life.

Thank you for your blog posts

Kristy

smartchic said...

your little girl is so adorable. love her pics. you are right, parenting is not easy, especially if you always take everything seriously. continue on smiling and enjoy every moment you have with your little ones.

LaDawn D said...

This is the most "on point" post I have ever read!!! I have been feeling guilty about the state of messy chaos my house always seems to be in, and then I come here and read that all of my good friends are going through the same things. It is refreshing to hear other mothers issues with balance..I know I probably shouldn't find so much comfort in your sort of pain, and yet I couldn't help but smile as I read through each of the comments!

Jess, I am SO glad that you took a moment to capture these amazing pictures! This has been the bit of happiness that I needed today, and Mia oh my word is she just the cutest little patootie ever?

Lets all raise a glass over the top of our mound of laundry to say...."We are the parents of amazing children, whom we love and live for, and if you were here yesterday you might have caught my clean living room!" (AMEN) ;)

seg said...

I so know how you feel! With four kids...the doing and the undoing is just...all.the.time!

Mia looks fabulous in your liptick. It is so her color! ♥

Ana Gonzalez said...

I admire mothers like you, are waging a family while building a business. Both are hard for separately and together, are a test of endurance.

sarasophia said...

The doing and the un-doing.

Yes.

I am right there with you.

I need one of me for each child, a maid and a secretary:)

Alisha said...

Jessica ~ I love this post. I think as mother's we put a lot of presure on ourselves to do "everything" and then feel guilty when we can't. I am happy to hear I am not alone on this :)

I adore these pictures of Mia. She looks so cute in your lipstick. She will love these pictures when she is older.

Ariana said...

Jessica, I feel exactly the way you do:) My daughter (18 months) is now getting in my jewelry box. Half of my jewelry is broken now (I put the expensive ones away so it's not so bad) and I feel frustrated but she is so darn cute walking around with my jewelry on. Then I will find bits and pieces of it around the house....le sigh. Oh well.

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