There were vacuum lines in the carpet. Perfect little marks that show that I do actually clean my house once in a while after all. What made these little lines so extraordinary though, was the fact that they were three days old…and they still showed. As a mom of three girls four and under, that’s pretty amazing. Like, truly miraculous. Usually I clean and the house looks like a tornado hit it within a few hours.
But this particular week, my two older girls were at their grandparents for some special Grammy & Grampy time, and it was just my husband and I and our youngest (who can’t crawl yet) at home. Chris washed dishes and the kitchen stayed clean. I put away toys, and the toy boxes stayed full while the floor stayed empty. I cleaned their bathroom and toothpaste stayed in the tube and out of the sink…the hand towel stayed hung up…the rug stayed dry. Laundry stayed done, there were actually moments – minutes even! – of quiet, and now this – vacuum lines that still showed three days later.
Part of me was ecstatic. I forgot this kind of peace, this kind of relaxation was even possible! But truly, most of me was heartbroken. This season is coming to a close – my babies are growing up. This sticky, noisy, messy, sometimes gross (let’s be real here!), sleepless, exhausting season will end, and with it, it will take those precious little toddler arm hugs, giggles that make everything right in the world, sweet snuggles, chocolate covered faces, and peaceful little sleepy baby sighs with it.
Anyone else have tears welling in your eyes yet? I’m going to blame mine on new baby hormones. (After all, it’s not going to be much longer that I can…!)
I have loved every season with my three girls, and I know the years to come will be equally as wonderful, but it will be different. And as much as I look forward to some of those differences, I know that for the rest of my life, I’ll miss so many things about this season that I’m in. With every passing day, this season is coming to a close, and we’ll never be here again. I’ll never get back these precious toddlers, or rock my own baby to sleep again.
I looked again at the lines in my carpet, at the clean counters, and clutter-free floors and it all seemed to whisper, “Slow down, mama.”
Housework will wait. My girls’ childhood will not.
There will be time for clutter-free floors, clean counters, shiny sinks, dry rugs and vacuum lines later. For now, I’ll enjoy the cute little feet that mess up those lines, rejoice in brushing those little teeth that will soon fall out, delight in bath times filled with Barbies, rubber duckies, bubbles and accidental splashing, and relish the joy it brings my girls to spread their toys in an even layer across the floor. It’s OK.
Truly, it is OK.
So today, if you are one exhausted mama trying to balance housework, children, work, your husband, activities, your physical wellbeing, friends, church and so much more, just know it’s OK. It’s going to be OK. Just breath. Two deep, slow breaths. This season is just that – a season. Soon, you will move to a new one, and that one will have its own sets of joys and challenges. But for now, enjoy the little people that exhaust you, because they won’t always be little, and someday, you’ll miss this exhaustion. So enjoy the children, and let go of perfectionism – they can’t go hand in hand.
If everyone is alive, fed, and (maybe) bathed (this one is negotiable!) at the end of the day, it’s a win. Give yourself grace to leave some things for later, and enjoy the ones who won’t be the same tomorrow, today.