My Dear Diary article was a sincere outpouring of my frustrated heart. I have moments like those every so often, when I feel stressed out, tense, and depressed. Times when I think to myself, How do I get my children to actually WANT to keep the house clean and tidy–how do I get them to care enough, on their OWN, to pick things up around here without my having to remind them, or supervise them constantly? When will they start to APPRECIATE how nice it is to have an orderly atmosphere? When will this goal become theirs too, and not just mine?
I suppose the answer to that, is that after years of training, and modeling a cheerful attitude about keeping house, they will eventually mature into that mindset. In the meantime, my job as a mother is to “manage the house” (1 Timothy 5:14), nurturing in my children the character that will naturally lead to those behaviors. It’s a lot of work, but who ever said that being a mother was easy?
I’ve never posted pictures of my house until now, but I want to show you how things looked this morning after I got out of the shower. My children did their morning chores (kitchen cleanup and a little living room pick up), and this was the result:
Though I have moments when I struggle, I also have times when I feel encouraged as I realize, It’s not all that bad after all! My efforts ARE paying off–maybe in small ways now, hopefully in larger ways later. The thing is to not give up. Having a clean house isn’t just about keeping the clutter and dust at bay (and dust and dirt ARE important to keep under control, since we want to be healthy), but it’s about training children to take responsibility for themselves and their environment, and holding them accountable for their actions so they don’t fall into patterns of being lazy and selfish. It’s about good character. However, as one of my good friends said to me the other day (and I paraphrase this), “Don’t forget that this time in your children’s lives is so precious and passes all too quickly. Cherish this time when your baby is still little, and don’t let the things left undone (for the moment) ruin this opportunity to bond with your little ones.” Well said!