You probably know what I'm talking about. At my house, it means that I plop the kids in front of a video and quickly run around tidying up the house making it look like, well, like we don't live in our house, but rather have it photographed for magazines. Well, maybe it doesn't look quite that good, but you get the point.
However, I realized this frantic type of cleaning was accomplishing the following:
- Driving my husband crazy
- Stealing time away from my kids
- Sending my kids the message that a clean house is more important than many, many things
- Possibly making my friends feel inadequate as they looked around my house and thought to themselves that they never keep their houses that tidy
As I thought about that, I realized that none of those things are what I want to do. I want my kids to know that the things we have are blessings from God and we should take care of them. I also want them to know that a certain level of cleanliness is necessary to be hospitable. However, people are so much more important than an always tidy house. Show me a house that is always spotless in every nook and cranny and either the parents are forever sending the kids outside or are missing out on enjoying their children because they are always "picking up."
Now, I do believe in being a good steward of what we've been given and I also believe children can and should be a part of taking care of the house. It's a fine line to walk, but so is most of parenting.
The Messy Ministry works for me. If my friends want to see a spotless house, they are welcome to browse through the collection of magazines in the basket by the couch!