Treading Water

Treading Water

I’ve been feeling glum again. About the state of the house again. I can resign myself to dirt and chaos for a limited time; but it still gets to me. A continual background whine that can only be tuned out for so long before I start to claw at my ears.

The house needs major cleaning. For example, I don’t think anything has been dusted since we moved in November. Certainly the bookshelves in the office have not. Ick. I get the creeps every time I go in there.

I can just barely stay on top of the most basic maintenance: laundry, cooking, dishes, keeping a semblance of clean in the kitchen and dining areas, vacuuming the carpets, keeping the toy chaos from overwhelming everything. Anything more has mostly been beyond my grasp with the rollercoaster of pregnancy and birth i’ve been on since right after we moved.

Still, I’m trying to take little baby steps. Today after I vacuumed the laundry room and the office and started some laundry, I cleaned the front windows in the living room, dusted the windowsill and everything on it. Now I have a nice view if I just look straight ahead from my chair. It’s not much. Perhaps one percent of what needs to be done. But it’s a token and has done much for my morale.

If I ignore the dust on the television cart and the handprints on the walls and the stains on the carpet by the door, I can almost be content with at least this room. If I ignore the messes I know lurk elsewhere.

Of course to get this much done I had to let the girls manage on their own for a while. I felt like I was neglecting them. Even at that I kept starting and stopping to change diapers, get snacks, feed Ben, etc. We didn’t run any errands this morning or do any fun activities or baking. All of which means I can really only manage this focused cleaning of a trouble spot one or maybe two days a week. At this rate can I ever get the housekeeping under control? The little negative voice whispers, threatening my satisfaction.

All I can do is do my best. Focus on one little problem area at a time and be very glad that the only one who’s really bothered by it is me.

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  • Oh, can I tell you a story about a toddler and the spiritual life?  When my five year old was about 18 months old, she came out of the bathroom with a toilet brush in her hand, slurping water off of the brush.  She had the most exquisitely proud look on her face, like “Look how smart I am!  I found a way to get myself water!  Isn’t this the greatest thing ever?  Aren’t you so proud how independent I am now?” 

    Needless to say, I screamed, ran, and grabbed the toilet brush out of her hand and was completely grossed out.  She, predictably, was DEVASTATED, how could I take away such a PERFECT possession? Why was I being so cruel and mean? 

    My husband is the one who made the connection between her reaction and ours when we own something we think is so terrific, but then it is taken away from us.  We wail, gnash our teeth, and so on, not realizing the entire time that God knows how bad that possession was for us and lovingly took it away. 

    It is now a catch phrase in our home, when something gets lost or stolen or broken, “Well, it must have really been a toilet brush, after all.”


  • Oh Renee, that’s perfect! “Well, it must have really been a toilet brush, after all.” I love it. Yes, I’m afraid there are far too many toilet brushes that I cling to. May God lovingly remove them every one.

  • lol, Felicity does the same thing. “Do you need a tushie change?” “No! No!” And cue the chase.

    I feel like my head can’t turn in enough directions at once. I always ask Him to hold on a minute … and then another minute…etc. “I have a 3 year old begging me to play with her, a 1 year old with a dirty diaper, and an infant who is hungry, and you, God, who can take care of yourself as well as everyone else, want my attention too?” And yet He never says, “I have wars over here and starvation over there and you want my attention too just ?” He always waits patiently for me and then gives me His full attention. Fortunately caring for Him in and through my children does count for something but He and I both know it isn’t the same as my direct attention to Him.

    Thanks for this post. I didn’t mean to reflect so much, but I know what you mean. Isn’t it funny how we can be parents and children at the same time?