Apr 9, 2014

A Christian Mom's Guide to Cleaning for Company

The living room floor was covered with toys. I desperately needed to vacuum and mop. The kitchen was obviously disorganized. There was toothpaste and muddy hand prints all over the bathroom counter. But I had guests coming - a mother of a toddler and her husband - so I drove myself to get the house clean. As I scrubbed away at the floor, though, a sudden, strong thought hit me: Why was I driving myself so hard to have a tidy house for company? Did it really benefit my guests? Or was it really about me and my self image? An even stronger thought came to me: "You know, if you really want to help a younger mom, you won't tidy up at all."

Hmmm...I reduced my to-do list a bit, and continued mopping.

Fast forward to when our guests arrived. And at one point, as we stood in the kitchen preparing strawberries for dessert, my guest commented with no small bit of regret: "Your house is so clean and creative! I wish I could do that."

I was taken aback for a moment. (I don't think of my house as clean or creative.) Then I laughed and said, "This is from the Lord! Let me tell you what came to me while I was trying to whip my house into shape for company!"

Here's what I think God was trying to tell me: If, as a slightly more experienced mom, I want to help other, younger mothers who are struggling, showing them a spic-and-span house (or as spic-and-span as my house gets) isn't at all helpful, is it? This just makes other moms feel like they aren't doing enough, or are doing something wrong. On the other hand, if I show them how we really live...that's a lot more helpful! They see that none of us are superwoman, and that focusing on our husbands and children is a lot more important than keeping our homes spotless.

So next time another mom wants to visit my house and I look around disparagingly at muddy hand prints and messy floors, I will resist the urge to rush about cleaning. I will stop being a too busy Martha, and instead try to be more like Mary, hanging on Jesus' every word, ready to serve him in more important ways. How about you?

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this! As a full time working mother of a 2 year old and a 15 month old, my house is never fit for company. With my workload and the kids, housework is overwhelming and just the thought of it exhausts me. Thank you for pointing out that trying to impress is nothing more than deceit. I needed this and as "that mom," it's a relief knowing I'm just as disorganized as other more experienced mommies.

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  2. I like this. I used to go into complete panic and make my kids and husband MISERABLE until everything was "perfect." When you are a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mom, I guess you just don't want anyone thinking you can't "handle" it all. But now I am more laid back. I will admit that when someone sees my house for the first time, I am a bit more crazy about things. Lol But once you've seen it clean one time, you may as well be prepared for time #2 to be more normal. Lol

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