I clicked on some link this morning (don't know whose blog it was or how I got there or why I was on the Internet in the first place) and was taken to a Catholic homemaking/style blog. The photos in the post were gorgeous, showcasing a home where the residents owned white sofas (white, y'all), colorful throw pillows, thoughtfully curated wall hangings, streak-free stainless steel appliances, andwalls without greasy handprints. The rooms were ordered-- not a thing was out of place (no stray shoes or overflowing laundry baskets or ten thousand childrens' books falling from the shelves)-- and the house was impeccably clean. (No sticky counter tops, no trough of food under the table waiting to be swept, no stray socks--clean? dirty? who knows?--or anythang. It was perfect.)
Who lives here? I wondered. And do they have children?
I started thinking about my own house and how little it resembles the flawless photos I found on this blog and I started making mental notes off all the imperfections around here:
--My pleather couch has holes in it the size of the San Andreas fault line.
-- The children--while wrestling or throwing balls in the house--keep knocking framed images off my pitiful attempt at a photo wall montage, thereby breaking the frames and leaving gaping holes where photos used to hang.
-- The white walls going up the stairs are not white at all; They are smudged a dark black from the little hands that use them as a banister.
-- Many of the windows in this 200-year old home have large cracks in them, making viewing out of them difficult at best.
-- My laundry pile looks like Mount Pinatubo: it's constantly erupting and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
-- A mouse has taken up residence in my bathroom (and maybe my room???), a delightful discovery made at 3 am when I sauntered in there to take a bath and maybe relieve my insomnia. (The mouse did nothing to help the sleeplessness.)
-- Much of my "carefully" curated wall art comes from a toddler who wields a wicked crayon sword and occasionally, poop.
Once I was finished assessing my house, I started on myself and my family and here's today's current list of issues:
I just took a shower, washed my hair, and dressed for the first time in almost three days.
I'm wearing one of the three pairs of pants that fit me right now and I really shouldn't be bragging about that because this particular pair has an elastic waist. (I have at least 20 pounds of baby weight to lose but am finding it hard to do so because the lack of shut eye leaves me hankering hard for sugar and caffeine.)
When I looked at Camille this morning, I noticed she had stains on her face because one of her older siblings had the ingenious idea to use marker to paint cat whiskers on her cheeks and nose yesterday.
During nap time, I decided to do some reading and picked up a book written to inspire stay-at-home mom bloggers. A section in it entitled "Living A Sloppy Life" (or something like that) described my day in an creepy/stalkerish kind of way, which would have been kind of cool except that the author was using it as an example of how to be unsuccessful in writing/blogging/creative endeavors.
(Colleen For The Win!)
I keep trying to remind myself I'm in a season, one I know well because I've lived it five times before. The baby will eventually sleep through the night and so will I and this small milestone called Uninterrupted Nighty-Night will enable me to function and complete basic tasks like bathing and cooking. (Luxury at its finest, folks.) But until then, I'm going to live a sloppy life. And truthfully, even after everyone starts getting a little more sleep around here, my life will continue to bedisorderly. This blog will never be like that housekeeping/style blog I saw this morning (and it's really not my goal, either).
Such is the life of a mother raising six children.
But just because my life is sloppy doesn't mean there isn't any good in it (and I know that I've said this same thing 100 million times before, but I had to remind myself this morning and again this afternoon and right now, and pretty much all.the.time.)
My son, Patrick, has atrocious handwriting. (Forgive me for saying so, Patrick, but it's true.) We work on it and I am constantly telling him to slow down and re-write things, but his work is usually very, very messy.
But the stories he writes? Oh my.
The words he puts down on paper are awesome and inventive and loquacious and sometimes I miss how great his work actually is because all I can see is a mess.
I'm guilty of this with my own life, too.
I miss the good stuff--(like Camille walking by Edward's picture this morning and saying, "Hi, Edward, you little cutie!" and then kissing the photo) because I only see a mess.
And that's a shame, a damn shame because while things are most definitely messy around here, they're still pretty great.
Elizabeth Foss says it best here. Love her ideas about the dangers of comparing.