I have been in the DIY mood lately, maybe it’s the holidays or maybe it’s my new interest in Pinterest (no wonder they chose that name). Whatever it is, I am looking around my house and see it decorated with our handmade advent calendar, Christmas artwork on the walls, gift bags under the tree and garland strung around it (and our big piece of artwork that we painted last weekend is now on display in our yard). It feels cozy and festive in here and I love it! But if you look around, you will also see pieces of wicker from the basket that my dog has chewed. The basket was supposed to be for his chew toys, but somehow it became a chew toy. I see a spoon on the floor right now that Tatum threw off the counter. I see a broken ornament in a bag that has been on the end table for a week now, and there is a new toothpaste stain on the white chair that just got cleaned last week. And if I were very honest with you all, this is pretty good. You should see what it looks like in the middle of the day when the kids aren’t in bed.
I don’t know how to balance home and life like some people it seems. I don’t know how to have fun and get stuff done. Even when I designate a day, like I did twice this week, to clean the house, I am not sure it is worth it. I love stay-at-home days, but I question my progress on these days. It seems like I am cleaning up the same thing over and over again, and since we spent the whole day at home, the kids are here playing and making messes. Piper is pretty good about cleaning up, well sometimes. But Tatum, she is just kind of crazy. Today she dumped the game out after Piper and I had finished putting it away. She threw three plates on the ground that were out to give back to somebody (not breakable luckily). I had Piper pick them up, and then she threw them on the ground again. She dumped over a bowl of salsa, got hold of a sharpie and put it in her nose, opened the container of blackberries and spilled them on the floor, and ate some chap stick. I know this is not just my reality. It is the case for many moms. But it can be exhausting at times. This picture pretty much captures Tatum. She is standing on the coffee table if you couldn’t tell. Man, I love that little munchkin to death, but she is work.
And so, friends ask me, how do you have time to scrapbook, or paint or blog? And the answer is, I don’t. I could get up right now and do a load of laundry or I could put the laundry away that is finished. But, I am sitting down for more that a few minutes for the first time all day and I am enjoying the fact that the only sound I hear right now is the hum of the refrigerator and clicking of my fingers on the keys. Like most jobs, there is never a point where you can really “get ahead”. There is always something that comes up and each day brings new washing, dishes and messes. Something’s gotta give, and lately it has been my house. I don’t think this will always be the case, but it is definitely the case now. A few months ago when I was struggling with my worth and my value and feeling like I was putting aside things that were important to me, I made some changes. It has made life busier, but we are making it work. I make time for doing those crafty things I like to do, even when the time seems like it can be better spent. I have started tutoring kids through a nonprofit organization that focuses on some low-income neighborhoods in our city. The best part about that was that I received a Christmas present from one of the students this week! He gave me a hug and said, “Happy Merry Christmas!” I really felt like a teacher again for the first time in a long time. And I have started attending Share Your English nights where a bunch of us work with adult English language learners in a conversational and casual setting (click here to read more about that). Brian and the girls are my first priority, and I don’t want them to suffer because of these commitments, but we make it work. We make time, just like we make time for going to the gym and all the other things we value. Something’s gotta give, and right now it is the stain on my chair and the pile of laundry that are suffering and sometimes I am okay with that. My hope is that the stains on the furniture will be insignificant, but that our time together painting, and cutting and gluing will be made into memories. One can only hope, right?