It’s a Monday…again. I knew it was coming back—it does every week. Mondays are like the movie “Groundhog Day” around here. Laundry needs folded, dishes need washed, and even though I recall cleaning the house thoroughly just seven days ago, there is no evidence of that anywhere.
I am in my typical Monday-state of rushing from room to room collecting misplaced items to return to their proper homes when I step in something wet as I enter the living room. I take a deep breath before I brave investigating the source of my now-damp sock. “Please don’t be pee,” I say to myself, as I look down to discover a trail of tiny wet footprints leading from the kitchen to the boys’ bedroom.
I walk into the kitchen, grab what feels like the tenth towel we’ve dirtied today, and start wiping up the water. I can’t be too frustrated with my little water bandits; after all, I did give them the water…however, from the looks of the amount marking their path, they must have gotten more. My two youngest are currently having a tea party on the play table in the boys’ room. They were so excited to play with the new-to-them set my aunt found for them at the local thrift store. A 36-year-old Barbie tea set in excellent condition, just like the one my cousin and I played with as children…a 36-year-old set that I’m just realizing I failed to wash before they started eating off it. Eh, too late now.
As I enter the bedroom and wipe the last puddle from the floor, I remind them that they have plenty of “tea” and plead with them to try their best to not make any more messes. “Ok, momma, we won’t,” they unknowingly fib.
I wander back toward the kitchen and toss the towel onto the washer as I pass, knowing it will be needed again shortly. I try to recall what I had been doing before I was thrown off course by the tea party path. The microwave beeps loudly behind me, reminding me that my coffee was done rewarming about five minutes ago. As I look toward the sink, I scold myself, “You should have stayed up to get this done last night; then you’d be playing with the kids instead of cleaning.” I let out a disgruntled sigh and think of the saying, “Bless this Mess.”
Maybe we got skipped the day God was blessing messes. It seems petty; I mean, talk about first-world problems. But, do you ever feel that way? Like it’s sometimes difficult to find the blessing in the mundane and repetitive? You many not feel you are making a difference when it seems you do the same thing day after day. On this particular morning, I was having an especially hard time finding my significance amongst dirty dishes and piles of laundry.
That’s when God revealed three truths, or blessings, of my mess:
- God doesn’t expect perfection, and neither do our children. In a perfect world, the laundry is always caught up, the dishes are always done, and there is always time for tea parties. But nothing is perfect, especially Mondays. As I begrudgingly started the water for the dishes, I heard my son tell my daughter, “Thanks for inviting me to your tea party; this is the best tea party ever.” The sounds of giggles from the other room reminded me that my idea of perfection may not be theirs. To my kids, it was already a great day. One of the lovely things about young children is the lack of expectation. They didn’t wake up with grand ideas of the possibilities Monday would bring; they woke up and made their own possibilities, their own “perfect” day.
- The world does not revolve around our kids. I could have stayed up late Sunday night to accomplish all the tasks on my endless to-do list. I’d have gotten a lot less sleep and probably woken up much more irritable and a whole lot grouchier. But what would that have taught my children? That magical fairies cleaned our house—that they hadn’t even noticed was in disarray—when they went to bed? That their mom, while able to play with them, is a grouchy momma bear on Mondays? It is okay for my kids to see that mommy has other tasks to complete besides playing with them. Not all the time, but sometimes. There is a line between teaching them “You matter a lot” and “You are ALL that matters.” Yes, I want them to know that I value my time with them and that it is the time I look forward to most in my day. But they also need to know that we have responsibilities, and sometimes, those responsibilities look a lot more like work than fun. We are raising future world changers, and no one ever changed the world by thinking they were the only ones in it.
- I have front-row seats to the best show in town. It may be difficult to find a happy place in all the chaos, but it is there. Joy is found in the mess-making, not the mess itself. Cookie crumbs on the couch after story time…pillows and blankets that were once a fort strewn across the living room…and tiny wet footprints like a Hansel and Gretel trail to the best tea party ever…. They are all tiny reminders that, for a limited time only, I have a front-row seat to their vast, beautiful, and always-growing imaginations. I won’t always get to see the inner-workings of their little minds play out right in front of me. This is a time to cherish. If the price of admission is “Groundhog” Monday, it’s worth every dirty dish.
Mondays, yeah, they’re a mess. But surprisingly, they’re also pretty darn blessed. Got to go—the microwave is yelling at me for forgetting about my coffee again.