It’s yet another day of washing dishes, picking up dirty socks off the floor, scrubbing remnants of glitter glue that have dried onto the kitchen table, and vacuuming crumbs that have been trailed all throughout the house.
Some days it seems that the chores and picking up after my three young kids never ends. Every room I enter, there’s a mess to clean up.
Thoughts like “why do my kids just leave their discarded toy right in the middle of the kitchen floor?” or “why can’t they just eat a snack like a normal human being instead of sprinkling crumbs all over?” keep coming up.
I’ve come to realize lately that no matter how many cleaning routines or chore charts we have, kids are still going to be kids. Life will continue to have spills, messes, crumbs, laundry, and cleaning.
So I ask myself, how do I find joy in this decade-long season of parenthood with all the demands that are placed on me as a mother?
I believe there’s a way to see these tasks as more than just mundane and tiring. If I can see the beauty of the ordinary, I can see past the endless chores and see that this is the effort it takes to raise kids and keep a house intact. I can choose to see beyond the hassle that it may cause now, and realize the joy that comes from the ways that I give my time and energy again and again.
But I also want to spend these days of parenthood soaking up the beautiful moments that only small children can bring. I want to appreciate the fact that our home is bursting with life, noise, messes, and crumbs. It may not feel beautiful in the moment, but as I step back and reflect, I can see that something beautiful really is going on.
Seeing Beauty in the Ordinary
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and burdened with the duties it takes as a parent. But instead of allowing myself to fall into this trap, I can reframe these moments as small, imperfect gifts.
Washing dishes: The byproduct of a chance to sit together as a family several times each day and share a good meal.
Stained clothes: Kids that enjoy being outside, digging in the dirt, and jumping in muddy puddles as they soak in all of life’s adventures.
Vacuuming the floor: Trails of snack crumbs, bits of leaves, and shreds of crayon wrappers are signs that there is life lived inside our walls that encourages creativity and play.
Fingerprints on the windows: Dozens of smudges and fingerprints across the windows remind me that I have three sets of little fingers that are active and bodies that are bouncing around the house.
Cleaning up potty accidents: Learning is occurring and mistakes are a healthy way of gaining a new skill. Show kindness when an accident has happened and take it as an opportunity for the child to see that we all fail sometimes.
Spills on the counter and floors: Spills are new milestones of success, where independence is gradually emerging. As my kids grow and become more independent, they’re bound to make more of a mess in the process of learning.
Doing many loads of laundry: Kids are busy, active, and curious about life. And the multiple outfit changes they go through each day reflects that they have their own personalities and opinions.
Fixing the couch cushions or throw pillows: The boundless amounts of energy emitted from their bodies is something to be admired. The simple pleasure of jumping off the couch onto a pile of cushions and pillows is one way that they’re using their creativity to learn.
Constantly refilling the pantry and fridge: A sign of healthy, well-fed children who are growing and have a never-ending appetite because of the energy the use each day.
Picking up toys: Kids have been entertained all day long, have used their imaginations to learn and grow, and have the innocence of childhood that will one day be gone as they mature into adolescents and adults.
While all of these tasks can seem daunting and unending, I’m challenged to see how I can change my perspective and become a parent who graciously accepts the more undesirable roles with a changed heart. I want to live a real life (messes and all) with real people whom I love, and not let the mundane chores rule my attitude or make me resent this season of life.
One day, when Mike and I have an empty nest, I’m sure we would do anything for a trail of cheerios to vacuum up or have to look under the sofa for missing puzzle pieces. I don’t want this season of parenthood to pass me by, but want to be truly grateful for the opportunities to raise my children and see each day’s tasks as reminders of the ordinary beauty of life.
This article was originally published on This Evergreen Home.