Someone commented on my toilet. Yes, it's nice and clean. Here's yet ANOTHER post about my toilet and my confessions therein...
I am NOT the kind of person that keeps my home sparkling, dishes always clean, laundry kept up and put away... In fact, although I am a clean person and keep a 'clean' house, there are ALWAYS things that need to be done. The counters are cluttered, there is laundry on the spare bed in the girls' room (yes, ALWAYS), the mail from the past week is on the dining room table, and I haven't scrubbed a toilet since I got home 6 weeks ago!
There's always toys out because 4 kids live here and in my opinion that's the way it should be! There's a changing table in the family room, toy shelves too (even tho we have a huge play room), and assorted chairs, swings, highchairs, etc. in different rooms of the house. (As a side note, we have a separate living room that is kid-free for Mike's and my sanity! )
When I got back from Ukraine I even became one of "those moms" that sends the frozen pre-made PBJ sandwiches and the lunchable "snack" containers for lunch the 2 days that K and Bria go to the church. Yes, I've slacked off on the homemade PBJ and have gone from a big box of crackers and sliced cheese that I package myself to this.
Our yard is not always mowed. The flower beds may bloom, but there is a beautiful weed covering around the flowers. My Christmas lights stayed up until mid-February this year because we didn't make the time to take them down before we left for Ukraine.
The trash can in the kitchen is always full or else is completely empty because there's no bag in it. The diaper pail (yes, it's in the family room with the changing table) is in constant need of changing (surprised? I have three kids in diapers!). The mouse cage, although it gets cleaned out regularly, has finger prints up the sides of the cage and even some nose smudges from little onlookers. The bathrooms always have clean towels hung up or else there's WAY too much laundry (each kid has a color!) and I keep the TP under the sink so there's less risk of running out. But the mirrors have marks where water got splashed, the kids' bathroom has an endless cycle of toys that have been thrown out of the tub, and I recommend if you visit that you go ahead and use the guest bathroom just in case (remember the orginal toilet post? 3 steps to check with little boys in the house!).
Here's the best part though, and something I really do see as a good quality, despite other people's... um... judgements against me on all of this...
I DO NOT FEEL GUILTY!
Weird, huh? Actually, quite the contrary. I know people say things to try to "make me feel better" when they come over and I say "excuse the mess, but I have four kids." They say things like "I wish I could put aside the household stuff in my mind and spend the time with my kids because that really is what's more important." And I think- Yeah... SURE you do! That's a nice way of saying "wow, you sure don't keep a clean house!" Ok, for SOME people it is. I won't judge ;)
But seriously, I see my house as a tool that God's given me to raise my family in. Not a responsibility to neglect my children for! Now, don't take that wrong. I have no problem with people who DO keep a clean house and have children. But for me- with 4 busy kids (and, let's face it, even without 4 it's just never been my way) I find it much better to spend my time on the floor with legos and my 4 yr old, on the floor with a musical toy and three little ones, or rocking someone 'just because' (yes, I spend a lot of time on the floor).
And when the kids are occupied or sleeping? I like to journal. It's "my time". And lucky you-- that's what I share here :) Then... after my time to myself... I do the dishes (I must, or else the baby bottles will take over the house), I wash the clothes, I put away laundry, I wash the floors, I vacuum the carpets, I make up 10,000 bottles for the next set of feedings, I put together the diaper bag for the next day, I scoop up the toys, and I lay down exhausted and exhilerated to start another day with my sweet children.
Did I miss something? I'm afraid I did. There's one other very critical part of my life which I cannot overlook. There are some days where the dishwasher doesn't start, the laundry doesn't move, and the tasks get pushed aside and I get an evening to spend with my sweet husband. The bottles can take over the house for one night.
After all... TOMORROW IS A NEW DAY, and TODAY'S TIME IS PRICELESS!
Ok, so why are my toilets clean? I know that's what you're really wondering after this long post. And dinner? I didn't mention dinner!
I have a wonderful group of family and friends. Yes, seriously. Mike's mom, for instance, cleaned my entire house before I came home. And when she watches the kids she tends to take a look around and spend some of "her time" doing some of the little things around the house that she "enjoys". (One of the few people that I can say has told me that they enjoy cleaning!) My mom will come and do the dishes, start the laundry, or pick up the kids' toys when they've taken over. And my friend Chris has arranged for different people from our church small group and others who have wanted to help out to bring us dinner 2-3 times a week for the first month we were home. Between those home-made meals and leftovers, I've filled in the gaps with frozen dinners, sandwiches, and other quick fixes that require little or no preparation.
Eventually... I hope to figure out how to make dinner a little quicker so I can once again make my own meals (until then we LOVE Stouffer's!) . I also know that one day my kids won't all be in diapers, they won't be on bottles, and they might not want me to play legos or lay on the floor with them. One day sitting and rocking them, just because, might not be an option.
THANKS to our wonderful family and friends that have helped us out and allowed us to enjoy each moment with our kids. And for those who come into my house and don't say "OH MY" at the mass of children's toys, the full hamper (did I mention that it's in the family room too?), the dishes on the sink, the cluttered countertops, and last week's mail on my dining room table, Thanks! You won't find a clean palace, but you will definitely find 4 healthy, clean, dressed, and HAPPY kids laying on the floor playing with Mommy.