What? You’re Not Perfect Either?

What You're Not Perfect Either

When I wake up in the morning, I like walking into a clean living room.   I love to see a bathroom empty of dirty laundry. And I feel so peaceful cooking breakfast in a tidy kitchen.

When I wake up the boys, it feels great to see them sleeping in a room that is uncluttered. As I walk back downstairs, I love to see our school room organized, our stash of Legos all picked up, and a hallway that is clear of all toys, clothes, and balls.

Yes, this is what I strive for as a homemaker. It is when my house is cleaned and uncluttered that I feel peace.

So what happens when I wake up to a kitchen that looks like this?

dirty_kitchen_1

And a hallway that looks like this?

clean_laundry

And a Lego room that looks like this:

lego_room

Should I then feel like I’ve failed? Should I sigh deeply, let my shoulders drop, frown, and wonder {again} why everyone else has it together better than I?

Sure I could, and I have many times through the years. After all, older women have encouraged me to never go to bed with a dirty kitchen. Books and blogs I’ve read have provided so many organizational tools and scheduling ideas that if I were to only implement them already, I could easily get done what I need to each day. There should be no reason that my clean laundry sits in the hallway for three days before we get around to folding it and putting it away –  after all, I am home all day and I have a lot of boys to help out. I have got to get better organized! I have got to figure out a better schedule! Somehow I must not be doing something right!

What is the matter with me? When am I ever going to get all of this figured out?

Nothing.

Never.

Nothing is the matter with me and I am never going to get all of this figured out. How about you? Now let’s all breathe a sigh of relief.

Let’s stop seeing our personal imperfections and feeling crushed by them. As huge as our laundry piles are, as long as our to-do lists become  – God is so much bigger, and so is his grace. While He does call us to take care of our homes, He doesn’t ask us to be enslaved by them or to make them an idol.

If we are so hung up on creating a perfect home that we lose sight of the heart of our home, ain’t no amount of dishwasher detergent gonna give us peace. Enough about me (or you) as a homemaker. Jesus is the One who makes a home.

Sometimes I wake up to this:

dirty_kitchen_4

It’s great. I love it.  I strive to stay on top of the jobs that need to be done in my home. And I will continue to work hard because that is what I am called to do.

But never again will I feel like a failure when working hard for my family does not achieve perfection. Jesus is the heart of our home. The gunk on my floor doesn’t stand a chance.

What gets you down? What do you need to let go of so that you can accept the gift of God’s peace for your home?

Comments

  1. says

    I know many friends that won’t go to bed with a dirty kitchen so when I drive several hours to have dinner with them, they are so busy cleaning up the kitchen after dinner that we miss fellowship with them. I decided long ago to enjoy whoever is eating dinner with us, linger a long time, even if that means going to bed with a dirty kitchen which I usually do since I am a morning person and have more energy to clean the kitchen then anyways!

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    Birdie Reply:

    Lori, you are right. Funny for me; if you come to my table, we visit and dishes wait. But if I go elsewhere I always volunteer to help with dinner prep and clean up.

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    Sara Killian Reply:

    I am the same exact way. Although sometimes I do the dishes after our guests leave. :)

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    Corrie Dove Reply:

    I love the fellowship that comes from helping another wife clean up after dinner. Women can have time to themselves while the men are in another room.

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  2. Hezzielee says

    …it’s 10:30pm. I was just contemplating a sink full of dishes vs getting to bed and feeling rested tomorrow morning. Thank you for helping me decide.

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  3. Lorie B says

    Thank you for posting this. I truly needed this message today. I have been in a “funk”, beating myself up lately for all the things I “fail” at. It makes me loose sight of all the glorious things in my life. Blessings!

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  4. says

    Amen. I find myself sighing heavily about all the endless tasks… and the other day i heard my four year old to exactly the same thing. better wise up before I teach them the wrong attitude. thank you for your blog!!

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  5. says

    Wow! I could have written this post myself. I feel soo stressed out and just about literally yank my hair out (well, at least the gray ones, anyway ;) ) if my home looks like any of those pics. It did last week but we had company, and now I love the extra space!

    But you’re so right on not losing sight of what really matters. *deep breaths*

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  6. Erin C says

    “He doesn’t ask us to be enslaved by them or make them an idol.” Ah, that is the key! What a wonderful post. Thank you!

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  7. says

    I have a very handsome seven month old boy in my house right now, and while it gets better all the time, with homeschooling a 5th and 2nd grader and caring for a baby, we have a lot of imperfect days. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  8. says

    I just spent FOUR HOURS cleaning my teenage son’s room. A few dishes in the sink? A basket of laundry on the floor? Hon, if that’s all you’ve got, you’re already miles ahead of me… and most single moms.

    If your kids are happy and healthy, and there’s not rodents, bugs, piles of trash or a lingering odor around your home, you’re doing pretty well. Adjusting to raising teens alone has been a real maturing process for me, and I’ve learned to leave a few dishes in the sink if it means enjoying a movie night with the kiddos. Of course, they’re old enough to pitch in, which helps. (another important lesson, Mom- if you make your kids’ lives TOO easy, you’ll cripple them. It’s important that they learn to help and take care of their own things, too!)

    These days fly by… would you rather your kiddos remember how much fun it was to have Mom join them in the glories of imagination that come with building with Legos, or that she was always busy, tired and snappish because the house needed tending?

    Good luck, Moms. Our job isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it in the end. :)

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  9. Kimberly says

    I so identify. The hardest thing to me is striving to please my husband who cannot understand this.

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    Mary Reply:

    Just a suggestion… if it’s so important to your husband to have an orderly home, perhaps you can make a list of everything that needs to be done to keep it that way, and ask him which tasks he’s willing to take on so you can get everything done. Even if he works outside the home and you don’t, it’s his home, too, and it breeds irresponsibility and resentment to demand a standard unless he’s willing to help uphold it.

    And if you have kiddos, even a 2yo can help fold laundry. Yes, it takes longer, but it’s important to teach them these valuable lessons young, so they have respect for their own space and the skills to maintain it. Of course, kids are never going to clean to “our” standards, but they need to learn responsibility early on.

    Good luck hon.

    PS It just occurred to me, I should share- my friend Elaine Miller has written an incredible book. I was privileged to help take part in the editing process (I’m a freelance writer and editor) It’s titled “We All Married Idiots”. I know the title sounds insulting, but it’s not- the word “idiot” has grounding in the scripture, and she’s referring to both spouses and teaches, with such great humor and gentleness, how to look inward and improve our marriages by seeing our own failings as well as those of our spouse. It’s a great, easy read.

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  10. Hilary says

    Have you been sneaking around my house and taking pictures? I have done mental battle with a similar kitchen catastrophe for a couple of weeks now. I just couldn’t seem to get it straightened up. FINALLY attacked it a couple of days ago…and now, I sigh with RELIEF when I see my decluttered countertops (and don’t even get me started on the lego and littlest pet shop madness!). I was really beating myself up about my homemaking failures…but, I realize that eventually, when the time is available, or I have a sudden burst of inspired energy, the mess gets cleaned up. In the meantime, I have made a home cooked meal nearly every night for the past 2 weeks, the laundry is almost caught up, and I threw 2 incredible birthday parties this past month. We need to give ourselves credit for the great things we do, just as much as for the things we can’t even seem to get done well. Blessings to you all.

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  11. Bekah says

    Wow. This is something I needed to hear tonight. I’m tired and feel I have no control with the mess. I focused on the toys from here to there instead of the great gift of children and childhood. Lord, help me to see and speak with your perspective and love!

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  12. Cathie says

    YOU HAVE A LEGO ROOM!!!!!! How awesome is that? Wait – I have one too. We call it the living room, but it looks the same as yours!

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    CJ Reply:

    Yep – us too!

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes, crazy that we have a room dedicated just to Legos, huh? That’s because all four of our boys sleep in one bedroom – leaving the other one for a mess. Not that their room isn’t often a mess too. Well, anyway… :)

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    Mary Reply:

    A lego room. That’s pretty much the best thing ever. :)

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  13. Cindy says

    Love this post!! Unfortunately during canning season- my kitchen almost always looks bad, but we still have school lessons and devotions. Thanks for the encouragement!

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    Birdie Reply:

    Cindy, I’m a canning whirl-wind too. Is your floor as bad as mine 8->?

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    Cindy Reply:

    You mean the lovely sound as your feet stick to the floor? But the food is SO good and worth it in the end!

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  14. Tracy says

    I am a stay at home, homeschooling mom and sometimes it seems like there are just not enough hours in each day to teach my kids, play with and enjoy them, make sure the dishes are always done, the house is always neat and tidy and the laundry caught up. I have to make choices every day about what to do and what to save for later. The moments with them are so fleeting and before we know it the lazy days of childhood will be over so it only makes sense to make them the priority over house work and organizing :o)

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  15. Sarah says

    Thank you for being willing to put these pictures up for the rest of us. I don’t have kids, but instead am dealing with a caregiving situation, and find the same holds true as far as the mess and the number of hours (especially productive hours) in a day. I feel a little better now. :)

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  16. Robyn Owens says

    I cannot tell you how much I needed this today. I was quite down-trodden this morning and feeling like a failure. My sink and counter are covered in dirty dishes and I still haven’t gotten the clean laundry put up and there are already 2 more loads to do. Thank you for the reminder that I am not a failure and I’m not alone.

    Because of my husband’s work schedule, I am feeling like a single mom these days. I am the sole care provider for our boys from 5:45 a.m. – 7 p.m., M-F and occasionally on Saturday. I don’t want to complain about my husband working because we PRAYED long and hard for this job that will relieve some of our financial problems. But, I also work full-time and do all the usual “mom” stuff including trying to eat clean. How does one do it all? Why do I feel like such a failure that my house doesn’t look like June Cleaver’s or the Brady’s??? Why do I allow my house to define my success as a woman?

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    Mary Reply:

    Aww ((big hugs))

    First, congrats on the job!

    Second… While I was still married (to a workaholic), I started following this blog, and found it helpful. I hope it’ll encourage you, too:

    http://www.carlaanne.com/blog/

    She’s also written an excellent book- Married Mom, Solo Parent.

    Good luck!

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    Robyn Owens-Miille Reply:

    Thank you for the encouragement. It’s on my list to order on payday.

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    Kristin Reply:

    The Brady’s had a live in housekeeper so it’s not fair to compare yourself to them. Maybe you should start comparing ourselves to TV families like “Rosanne”, smart mouthed kids, with messy rooms, eating processed food and watching too much TV. I know it would make me feel better about myself as a Mom/homemaker, LOL

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    Robyn Owens-Miille Reply:

    Well, we have the messy rooms and too much tv part of those shows. :) But, very little processed food. We occasionally have the smart-mouthed kids but we’re working on that behavior.

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    Birdie Reply:

    Hello Robyn. You cannot do it all. The demon looking over your shoulder is telling you this. Please make a list of everything you do and cross off what interferes with family time.

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    Robyn Owens-Miille Reply:

    I don’t do anything outside of work. I’m with the boys before school, drop them off at school, go to school, pick them up and then spend the evening with them. I literally don’t do anything that isn’t with my kids other than work. I only allow myself 1 hour total a day of “personal” time and that is spent between the computer and devotions and even then, I start a load of laundry, sit down at my desk, read a while, go swap over the load and then go back. I set a timer so that I don’t go over my time.

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  17. Katena says

    I was raised that way the areas you see when you first come in the house should be cleaned. I rarely go to bed with dishes in the sink. I have a dishwasher but prefer to do them by hand. I have 6 boys so I have learned to linger and enjoy company. Dishes and housework can wait.

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  18. Avon says

    Another sweet testamony to the lovely Christian woman you are. I am 70 yrs old and still fighting that fight and thanking my God that He still loves me after all.

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  19. Linda says

    Thanks so much for this! We must remind ourselves so often that our God and our culture define perfection so differently. God Bless you!

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  20. Madonna says

    Ladies, I understand all the work and worry about kids and a clean house. been there, done that,…..with my kids ,and then my grand children. I wouldn’t trade 1 second of a cluttered house for my time with my children/grand children. I have the most wonderful memories of a fun with them, dishes can wait, laundry can wait, but kids cannot wait. They will be grown and gone so quickly. Just enjoy them.
    I am alone now, my kids are grown, my grand kids are teens,
    so I have all this free time to do house work, etc….
    but would trade it all in a second to have a house full of rowdy children having fun.Don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy them, ALL of them now while you can , Including Husbands. Tomorrow you might find your self all alone. with a clean house. God Bless you all ?

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    Birdie Reply:

    Madonna, you are sweet. Thank you blessing us with your Godly advice.

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    Madonna Reply:

    Birdie, I was just giving the young mother’s who do it all and sometimes feel they can never achieve it all, children come first. the housework will take care of itself.
    and I hard a favorite saying I used to live by, In a hundred years ,who will care than my house was not spotless? No one. But the kids and grand kids WILL remember me baking with them, letting them make tents in den, letting them help me in kitchen, no matter if it does take three times as long.
    Again, Bless you all. ?

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  21. charity says

    Thank you so much. I needed to see this today. Now if only my hubby could also read this and feel this way. ;) thank you

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  22. Crystal says

    I struggle with this so often. I have four kids, ages 7, 5, 2, 11 months, and no matter how hard I work, it is never “done.” It is good to be reminded that working hard in the home is good, but so is spending time with the people who live in the home. God bless.

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  23. says

    Thank you for posting these pictures. While I am sure we all strive to have a nice tidy home, there are days I feel like the worst homemaker in the world. Thank you for sharing and showing us we’re NOT alone! :) (my kitchen is mildly cluttered now, as I’m baking cookies!) LOL

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  24. Lynn says

    Thank you for posting this . . . I was just beating myself up yesterday for not having a clean and organized home. I homeschool, so my children are home all day and my home just never seems to be all clean or organized . . . ever! Haha I clean one room and by the time I’m on the the next there is a new mess. However, I wouldn’t change things because I love having my children home with me. Thanks for your post! :)

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  25. Becky says

    This is straight from the Lord to me. I am a working mom. My husband says I try to be the working woman, the heavenly homemaker, and the pioneer woman all together….and I can’t. I am always playing catch up. As soon as I saw this it made me feel less out of control. I grew up in a perfect home because my father demanded that of my mom. You could have licked the kitchen floor at any moment. I think I compare myself to my mom and I can’t. Thank you for being open! God used you today in my life.

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    Birdie Reply:

    Becky, I know another mother in my area who works and her house is literally “SHINNING” when you walk in. My house has dings in the wall, canning floor, farm dirt everywhere. How can I be a winner? How can I be the perfect wife? I CANNOT, and NEVER will be. I’m loved by my family and that is the greatest gift I have received.

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    Birdie Reply:

    p.s. You and I ARE winners in God’s eyes and our families. Isn’t that the most important thing in the world?

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    Madonna Reply:

    Well Said Birdie…

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  26. Tammi says

    Thank you for your honesty! As a homeschool mom of three boys and someone who loves a clean well kept home, I struggle with this daily!!

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  27. Jenni Moeller says

    Thank you for posting this! I have been struggling to accept that my home will not always be clean and organized. It’s become quite an idol in my heart to succeed in this area and serving that idol leads me to self condemnation. The Lord has blessed me with 4 boys and a husband to care for. He knows what needs to be done and I need to seek the Holy Spirit continually for guidance on what to do and what to leave for tomorrow. Snuggling with my boys or watching them play is so much more rewarding that a clean home!

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  28. Jackie says

    How do I find peace when the constant disorganization bothers my husband and yet I have 3 tiny tornadoes (along with a few bigger kids that create less mess) coming behind me and tearing things up again? I can spend the majority of my time on one room and get it looking good, but when I switch rooms or by the end of the evening it looks like I’ve done nothing all day. How do you stay on top of what the kids ‘destroy’ around the house? It’s the little hands that seem to be pulling stuff out constantly :-/

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    Laura Reply:

    This kind of peace can only come from God – He is amazing to give peace even when everything else may seem to be a mess. Blessings to you. :)

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  29. Erin says

    Thank you for writing this! I needed it so much. I have been beating myself up a lot about this very stuff lately and I need to stop.

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  30. Birdie says

    Thank you Laura! Isn’t this the reason we are going to be gifted a home of perfection, with roads paved with gold. God knows that we will have children that know the rules of the house but will disobey. It’s a frustration but I do enjoy the days when I’m not hung up on it.

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  31. Rebecca Klein says

    I am so glad you shared this. Sometimes after reading everyone’s blogs, they just show the best and the great accomplishments of their days instead of being real and sharing the struggles and the real moments of mothering and home schooling and gardening. I too was in a mental funk when I read this and struggling with oodles of garden produce to deal with (a blessing indeed!) and a counter full of dishes and home school lessons to do with not much time. Thanks for bringing perspective to my day! God bless.

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    Birdie Reply:

    Hi Rebecca. I too am swamped by garden vegetables and fruits this year. God has blessed us so incredibly. I am doing my canning first, then home school comes. Are you trying to take on a little more that you should? You and I cannot add one more second to our day, and we home school mom seem to try to add waaay above what can go in our day.

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    Rebecca Klein Reply:

    Sometimes I do try to do too much, it’s so ingrained in me. I am trying to seek God for wisdom each day to know what to do and not do. Balance is something that I am learning. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

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  32. Juliana says

    I can not tell you how appropriate this was today. I live in a split level and as I walk up the stairs and the floor starts to become visible, my shoulders feel heavy. I just can’t seem to get a handle on everything. I work from home as well most of the time and it is hard trying to juggle it all.

    Thanks!

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  33. says

    How human of you to wake up to a messy kitchen sometimes! How brave of you for posting proof! Thanks for the reminder that not a single one of us is perfect and that, regardless, God’s grace is sufficient.

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  34. Tabbitha says

    As you can see from all the comments, we all needed to hear that we are not the only ones who struggle with this…..thanks for putting things into perspective.

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  35. Faith says

    Thank you so much for your openness like always and for sharing the pictures too :) God knew I needed to see your post tonight. Praying for you tonight and your ministry on here. Have a great week and thank you again for the encouragement

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  36. Susan Parker says

    I am ashamed to say that I was in a mood all day, complaining about the UNorganized area that I haven’t done yet (for homeschooling)… This is my first year homeschooling and when I see others spots, and their blogs I think WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME…THEY HAVE THEIR STUFF IN ORDER. I am glad for your honesty and the fact that you are so genuine…don’t change that about you – EVER!

    Thank you Laura for saying how I SHOULD feel …. My home is not an idol!!

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  37. Alyssa says

    I really needed this, thank you so much for posting it! Summer is such a crazy time with gardening, canning, cooking and baking for our farmers market each week. Plus we have a 7 month old boy, while usually the happiest baby, does have his moments. I am so thankful that my husband doesn’t seem to mind if there are dirty dishes, or if he has to dig thru clean laundry in the basmet occasionally. But there are times I get frustrated, since I’m a stay at home Mom, why I can’t get it all done. So again, thank you for this post.

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  38. shannon says

    This was a great post and I think we all have days that we wake up to a house like that. I enjoy your honesty. It is neat to read through the comments on your blog because I scan many blogs but most of them do not have readers encouraging each other like yours does.

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  39. says

    I just showed the picture of your lego room to my girls and literally their eyes got wide and their jaws dropped. After they stared a while they said “LUCKY!” You are blessed to have a room where all the lego pain inflicting bricks can be corralled lol! Thank you for sharing your real life!

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  40. Nicla says

    It is SO nice to know I am not the only one!!! The lie of perfectionism has been one of the biggest hurdles in my life…between your blog and FLYlady (you should totally check out her website FLYlady.net; you will LOVE her!) I am re-learning that God’s grace IS in fact sufficient for me. And that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I am truly beginning to understand (after many years of mental self flagellation) that it is OK to not be perfect, and not to come down on myself when I am not…which is every single day of my life. One last thing: thank you so much for lovingly reminding us all that Jesus is the heart of my home, not me.

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  41. Jenn says

    I SOOOOO needed this honesty today :)You made me feel a little more normal and much less like a floppy failure. Thanks for being so transparent. I passed this post along to my other mom friends and seems like I’m not the only one silently beating themselves up for not getting it ALL done!
    Thanks Lady. You’re a treasure :)

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  42. Naomi says

    Thank you for being honest. It is such an encouragement to me. Thank you also for the reminder that Jesus is to be the heart of our home. I really needed this today.

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  43. Crystal says

    It sure is good to know there are others who sometimes wake up to that in the morning! Thanks for the reminder that THIS IS OK. Your posts such as these seem to come at a great time to those of us who need them, Thank you! Your honesty of our innate human nature is refreshing :)

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  44. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! So often I find myself failing to live up to the expectations of maintaining the tidy home that a stay-at-home-mom “should” be able to easily accomplish. Thank you for letting me (and others) see that we are not alone in our “lacks” and that God really is enough!! As I continue to strive to take care of my home and family as best as I can, I am able to remember that I am not alone in my humanness. THANK YOU!!

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  45. says

    I used to have a house like this until I found and started using FLYLady. You truly can do anything in just 15 min!! check her out! its FREE! flylady.net !!! or just type in flylady in your search engine..

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  46. Barbara says

    I used to have a perfectly clean home all the time, prior to becoming a Mom. It was BORING and way too quiet. Enjoy those children, they are only home for a season. Create a place where everyone can be comfortable and relax, including yourself.

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  47. Brianna D. says

    THANK YOU! This is just the reminder I needed! I was having a stressful day – one of those days that I feel like I can’t accomplish anything! And my house looked messier than yours… I have a 3 yr. old, 2 yr. old, and a 5 month old. “All that they are doing is making messes faster than I can do anything! What’s my problem? Why am I so terribly disorganized?” Then your post reminded me that having a clean, tidy house is NOT the priority! I do want JESUS to be the heart of my home! I need to let go of my expectations of myself, and embrace His Grace!

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  48. says

    Thanks for this! While I quest for organization and strive to have a clean home, it doesn’t always happen. I have realized that the dirty kitchen I sometimes wake up to just means that I was busy taking care of my family the day before. Those piles of laundry mean that there are lots of little people (and one big person) who I get to share my life with. :)

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