perfectly imperfect

Homeschooling and home selling are two things that are not compatible. I’m not going to lie – the rope is fraying quickly and I’m definitely at the end of it.

The good news is that my house has never been this clean. I’m a raging clean-aholic. I’m totally obsessed. Not a good obsessed, either: like crazy-OCD-psychotic-obsessed. It’s bad.

The other night, our family was talking about how everyone has special gifts and talents. At the end of the discussion, David suggested that we name each of our family member’s gifts and talents.  Avery said, “Daddy’s gift is singing. I’m a good artist. Charlie has a good imagination and is brave. And mommy is a good cleaner.”

Sweet. My kid thinks that I’ve been gifted in the area of cleaning. Awesome.

If that’s my gift, I’d like a refund.

While my house may be squeaky clean these days, I have no desire to be “gifted” in the area of cleanliness. I can’t stand the stress I feel to keep our house “perfect”. Perfection and I are not friends. We have a long, complicated history together. In my experience, “Perfection” is Regina George and I’m the nerdy band girl who isn’t allowed to sit at her lunch table.

The problem is, random house-buying-types expect perfection when they walk into your home. They don’t understand that my little boy likes to throw his pull-up in the corner of his room every.stinking.morning, or that four year old boys have no clue how to properly aim for the toilet. They could care less that seven year old girls collect “treasures” like band-aids, gum wrappers, broken robin’s eggs, hair clips, glittery chap stick tubes, and stickers and proudly display them in their rooms . They don’t have the back story on that red stain on my carpet that mysteriously appeared after a play-date of epic proportions. They like clean, neat, tidy perfection.

So – here’s what “perfection” looks like when you’re the nerdy band girl and you’ve got 30 minutes before Regina George heads to your house for a showing:

Clean laundry gets stuffed back in the dryer…

laundry piles

When that’s completely stuffed full, I usually just throw it back into a random hamper.

more laundryAfter that, I usually have to clean the toilet area for the 50th time that day. See the bubbles? That’s the little chemical reaction that happens when Clorox bleach hits pee. Busted.

DSC_0626I’ve seriously considered rigging that bleach bottle to a holster of some sort and carrying it around the house with me.

Charlie usually does this while I clean:

helperThis next photo just makes my soul hurt when I look at it. It’s the one thing that is never, ever, ever, finished…

dishes

One of the last things I have to do before we leave is to get my dog out of the house. It’s no biggie, though. He only weighs 92 pounds…and can’t jump into the car without my help.

giant dog in the carPreparing for a showing is a major workout. I’m pretty sure that I have scarred my kids psychologically because I’m such a meany pants these days. I feel like the only words coming from my mouth these days are “hurry up”: hurry up and get in the car, hurry up and get dressed, hurry up and put away your toys. The other day, in a moment of frustration, Charlie told me that all I do is “boss, boss, boss”.

I’m no fun. No fun at all.

As hard as I try, I just can’t seem to find the balance between being a good mom and a good housekeeper. My attempts at perfection always end with me feeling like a super jerk instead of super mom. I feel stressed, frazzled, and just plain mean.

Deep down, I know that attaining perfection is impossible. When my goal is to be “perfect”, I don’t really perfect anything. I certainly don’t perfect the godly mom thing.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that the only thing I’m close to perfecting is the “Mommy Dearest” thing.

Not exactly the legacy I want to leave.

I don’t want my kids to grow up and remember that I was always cleaning. I want them to remember that I played with them. I don’t want them to see me on my phone all the time. I want them to see me coloring with them. I want to experience life with my kids, not just live with them.

Being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t automatically mean that you are doing some great or noble thing for your kids. It’s not the “staying home” thing that makes a difference in your children’s lives. It’s the intentional time invested that makes a difference. Investing in your children requires discipline, effort, and a willingness to put aside your own agenda.

Many times, at the end of a particularly stressful day, I find myself replaying all of the jerky things I did or said on a loop. Every impatient moment, every harsh word, and every frustrated sigh plays over and over in my mind. It’s during those moments that my inner voice typically tells me how bad I’m failing at this whole motherhood thing.  All I do is boss, boss, boss.

Not long ago, I had the privilege to hear author/speaker Jon Acuff at a conference. One of the things he said that really struck home with me is that no one has a positive inner voice. It’s always negative. It likes to tell us that we are failing or that we aren’t good enough. That’s why it’s important to replace that negative inner voice with truth: truth from God’s word.

God’s truth is that even though I’m a hot mess, I’m still His child.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – I John 3: 1

God’s truth is that I am perfectly imperfect, and perfectly loved by my Creator.

“The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. ‘Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! Again you will take up your tambourines, And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers’.” -Jeremiah 31:3-4

God’s truth is that He makes old things new again. Even mean old crabby things like me.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19

Did you read that? He’s making streams in the wasteland! The mercy in that truth makes me so happy…and allows me to show a little grace to myself when that loop starts playing in my head.

Thankfully, all of this house-selling nonsense is just temporary. Before long, our house will be sold and all of this stress will be a distant memory. My laundry pile will return to it’s former mountainous glory, my microwave will once again be polka-dotted with food bits, and I’ll sigh instead of scream when I find that used pull-up under Charlie’s bed. Life will be less than “perfect” again.

And I can’t wait.

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3 thoughts on “perfectly imperfect

  1. Oh my goodness, what a routine! Good luck with the house sale, will send a prayer! Maybe having an open-house would help? You could just do it all in one go 🙂 I know when my parents were trying to sell theirs, they made it smell nice too, boiled cinnamon sticks and apples or something.

  2. Jennifer, you are beautiful and so are your beautiful gifts. God makes no mistakes and He made no mistake when He created you and your lovely talents. He is intentional. God bless you for your transparency. Your kiddos are blessed to have you as a precious momma! You are fearfully and wonderfully made. His word doesn’t lie and I happen to agree and please know your kiddos will be just fine momma, because he picked you divinely to be their mother!!
    Love you, mindy

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