Chaos. That’s what I saw when I looked around the house last night from my vantage point in the kitchen. Our beach bag tossed on the kitchen table, dishes stacked up in the sink, mail piled on our kitchen island, blankets strewn about on the floor, and a fridge void of anything even remotely nutritious.
I’m not going to lie, I had a moment.
I stood at the sink and my eyes got watery and teary and embarrassing.
I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes the craziness of summer can leave my head spinning. The school year brings its own kind of busy, but along with it, there is routine. Summer isn’t necessarily so predictable. And without routine, it can feel hard to get ahead of the game. And, despite my best efforts (waking up early to start laundry, that kind of thing), the house still refuses to stay clean. Or picked up, even.
And I felt like a failure.
I’m the stay-at-home parent. I keep the house. I keep the schedule. I do the things. And so when those things start to spin slightly out of control, I give myself a big fat “F” on my (imaginary) performance assessment. Frustration. Friction. Failure. I am by no means a neat-freak, but it’s rough when even “moderately picked up” seems like a goal that is way out of reach.
And so I stood at the kitchen sink, tears streaming down my cheeks, a sigh of frustration.
My husband noticed my minor meltdown and put his arm around me. When he inquired as to the reason behind my now-wet face, I quietly blubbered all of the aforementioned things. He looked around as I broadly gestured to the chaos surrounding us, and when his gaze came back around to meet mine, he shrugged. “So?” he asked. I stood there with my mouth agape, and once again GRANDLY gestured at the mess surrounding us. Bless it, had the clutter and random piles of stuff given him hysterical blindness?! ADD THAT TO THE FAIL LIST.
Instead he told me that the current state of our house is what happens when you’re running from one thing to the other. I told him that I felt like I was failing at ALL THE THINGS and couldn’t keep up. And he countered that I was doing EXACTLY what I should be doing: Giving the kids a fun summer. Number One priority here. “And then,” he said, “Just get to the rest as you can. Don’t let it bog you down. It's not what's important.”
His words were like a bright breath of fresh air.
And suddenly, I saw it.
The beach bag on the kitchen table … from a fun day of swimming at a friend’s house. Unopened mail … from a memorable family trip. Dishes in the sink … from a cake that he had made with the kids. Blankets on the floor … from a fun movie night. An empty fridge… because … well, because who wants to go grocery shopping anyway, ha. Maybe I should fix that one. But, I understood what he meant. I can deep clean the whole house and tomorrow it will fall apart again, in the best possible way.
Give the kids a fun summer.
My middle, getting her first sight of lobster.
And get to the rest when you can.
My oldest, enjoying a little corn on the cob after a hot afternoon swim.
I think that’s pretty good advice.
My youngest, catching some Zzzz's on a plane.
(And then he cleaned the kitchen. What a guy.)
Our little birds three, on the coast of Maine.
Have a lovely day, friends.