Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oh baby, baby, baby, baby Oh....


Mama Henley's house is many things, but it is not boring! Sadly I spent the triplets' first years beating myself up because I could not keep a perfect house. My friends were able to, but it just did not happen at my house. I put so much time and energy into trying to keep the house perfect until I realized that my house was not meant to be perfect. Its imperfections bring many blessings. For example, a friend recently said, "I hope you'll take this as a compliment, but I study beauty, and I think your house is really beautiful. But what I really like is that everything is not perfect. You can see your family's priorities." Through my years as a mother, I have evaluated my priorities many times. One summer I realized that keeping the children at home while I tried to clean the house was fruitless. Of course I can empty the dishwasher or run a load of laundry or even vacuum a room, but doing this for hours on end is not fair to the children. That summer I created Camp Mama Henley and we had great outings instead of being penned inside so that I could make everything perfect.
The above picture personifies life at Mama Henley's house. Our children are so creative. I love that about them. However, every where I turn are little "projects". Sometimes I lose my patience. Other times, I pray for God's grace to APPRECIATE the way their little minds are working. Recently I walked in our family room and saw paper spread out everywhere. "What in the world?", I asked. As I examined the room more closely, I realized that our Bug had made 20 pumpkins on paper and found 20 orange markers and 20 black crayons to go with the pumpkins. She had made a class craft for her invisible pupils. I let her leave it out overnight so that she could play again the next day. I had to let go of my need to have the room be aesthetically perfect and let her enjoy what she had created.
Our pastor has been so inspired by the Holy Spirit lately! His sermons have really pricked my heart. We've learned a lot about discontent, which is a sin I certainly have struggled with through the years. In fact, it was discontent that led me to clean house instead of enjoying my children on those summer days. Anyway, he pointed out that the reason we love magazines so much is because the images are PERFECT. Stylists take days or even weeks to assemble the rooms perfectly. There are no children or dogs to make a mess. There is not even a piece of paper out of place. The images are wonderful, but so often, we close that magazine and then sin against our family members by screaming at them for leaving a mess here or there. That really struck me. It is SO TRUE. I do it all of the time. Do you struggle with this?

10 comments:

Gwennie said...

I do!!! Thank you for the reminder. I love the line about your house showing your priorities, I think that will stick with me for a long time. I try to keep realistic goals, but sometimes that gets forgotten.

EntertainingMom said...

Love the bit about the classroom... Rebecca used to play school... but how on earth did you find 20 black markers in your home? Here it's always a struggle to find one... at least a working and non-dried out one! And my home, by the way, is always magazine-perfect... whatchatalkin'about??? ;)

Donna said...

You remind me of myself...with just twins but always wanting to have things orderly and that being a dickens of a job! My other was so casual about it all and had THE best personality, everyone wanted to be around her. I was orderly and crabby! Best to let it go, it's too hard anyway, Ha!
I have a pastor like yours too...my husband says that if he doesn't stick the knife in till it hits your heart and twist a little...it isn't a week with Pastor Mitchell!!!

Twist of Lime said...

Yes, I struggle with this! I want my home to look like a spread from Ballard Designs at all times. But, it most certainly does not. It is however warm, loving, fun and crazy. I have finally gotten used to that and now I really appreciate it!

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I find myself not inviting people over because my home isn;t perfect or as nice as other's homes. We all need to give ourselves a break!

Sweet Southern Prep said...

What a great post! You struck a cord, girl. More time with the babies, is definitely a priority. I've tried just laying down lately, while the girls play around the room. They love it. My 11-month old will play a little bit, and come back to me, as if I'm her base. That won't happen much longer, and I need to cherish it. Thanks for the reminder!

Pink Martini said...

The perfect-clean-house-beat-up. I remember that. Now that the kids are gone I see who the real culprit was (is)... it's ME!!! I am the mess maker around here but I will never admit it when the kids are home. ;) Hope you have a lovely and peaceful week. xoxo

KK said...

Um... YES I struggle with this. I think I just "yelled" at Pinkie to pick up all the art supplies scattered around. I need to calm down and accept that my house, with all it's clutter, looks BETTER than a mag spread!

Catherine said...

I stopped reading Southern Living and Real Simple because I would always feel bad afterwards. Like I am a horrible cook, my house is ugly and I'm not a good decorator. I didn't like the way they made me feel and why would I read to generate envy inside me? I just focuse on what I have and that all I really need is inside my home.

The 5 Bickies said...

Oh Mama H...I struggle to the depths with this. I feel like almost everyone I know has a clean orderly and organized house and I do not. I have made the connection with magazines and realize that their perfectness is not real. I do often wonder where the children of those people with perfect houses play.