I'm afraid my poor husband got the brunt of my crankiness at the end of the day. Loving man that he is, he quickly picked up the vacuum cleaner and zoomed around the house while I worked on dinner. And when I wasn't yet finished he happily moved on to unstacking the dishwasher. And in that time he quietly asked, "So, how's your Bible reading going, hun?" Ouch. I had known for some time that my morning time with the Lord had taken a back seat-- to sleeping, to cleaning, to the computer, to whatever-- over the past week (or two).
My mood is a pretty good indicator of how I am doing with my priorities. When my priorities are out-of-whack, guess what, so is my mood! My joyfulness is almost always directly proportional to the amount of time spent alone with God in His Word and in prayer.
Even in knowing this, my mind immediately jumps into defensive mode. But I need my sleep, but I have a nursing baby, but I am homeschooling now, but, but, but...
And then I remember: I cannot do all things [alone] but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I clearly am not mom enough! I'm constantly battling to balance perfectionism and sanity.
So the daily struggle looks like this: should I fret over dirty dishes or should I blow them off completely? We all know what a kitchen full of dirty dishes looks like, right? (If not, come on over & I'll show you!) It looks sloppy and chaotic and disorganized. But we also know that there are only so many hours in a day and only so much time we have to do His work here on earth. Should we really spend so much time on dishes? And I'm afraid the answer is probably, why yes, yes we should. Now before you break down and cry-- or just plain old break down-- let me explain.
As mothers we are responsible for managing our homes. Plain and simple. That's how God set things up. This does not mean that our husbands never lift a finger to unstack the dishwasher or do a load of laundry, but it does mean that primarily we are responsible for seeing that these tasks get done. Is it easy to cook a meal when every dish in your house is dirty? No. Does your family still need to be fed? Yes. So there are [often] times when we moms have to shrug off that grudge and get to the sludge. But not only that, we have to try our best to do it with a good attitude.
I'll be the first to admit that I really need work in this area. My negative attitude quickly escalates into displeasure and ungratefulness. And we all know how the saying goes-- if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!
So, yes, we must do the dishes (or assign age appropriate jobs for our children to help us or, in tougher times, seek out the help of a friend). Must we do them all at once? Not necessarily. Instead of taking the kids to the park? Not necessarily. I love to challenge myself by setting the timer for 15 minutes. I'll do as many dishes as I can muster in these minutes and then I'll sit down with the kids and we'll all read together and share a snack. In another hour or two, I'll set that timer again. And, really, I'm always surprised at how surmountable (is that a word?) the task really is.
I'm happy to share that the Lord is good! These past couple of days I'm not feeling as cranky, I have been reading my Bible in the morning again (under the warm covers!) and the dishes, well, let's just say I've put a dent in them!