Weekends are generally my cleaning days. Since I work, Saturdays are spent vacuuming, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, washing dishes, mopping floors, picking up toys etc. This past Saturday I asked Malachi what he wanted for breakfast, knowing he was going to say “pancakes” and because I do not have any microwavable pancakes (note to self, put those on the grocery list), I had to make the pancakes from scratch, which meant there was going to be even more mess for me to clean up. After eating, I asked him what he wanted to do and rather than saying “watch tv” or “play with my toys” he stated he wanted to go to the zoo. So I was faced with a decision. Do I leave the house the way it was (messy) to go the zoo or do I tell my son we will go later (translation: not today) so that I could clean the house?
(waiting for pancakes)
We are faced with that decision every day. Whether we are stay at home parents or work outside the house parents, the list of chores seems never ending. The laundry never stops piling up. There always seems to be at least one dirty dish in the sink. The toys do not put themselves away. The carpet needs to be vacuumed. The bathrooms need to be scrubbed. Someone needs to make dinner. And it is obviously important that those things get done, but sometimes we need to ignore the mess and go to the zoo.
(at the zoo)
I took my children to the zoo. They had fun looking at the bears, and seeing the monkeys. They watched the hippos and looked at the elephant. I enjoyed watching my two little children get out of their stroller at the exhibits and stand next to each other peering through the glass case looking at the animals. Those are the memories that matter.
I do not like mess. I like for things to be in order. I like for my clothes to be color coordinated in the closet (they never are), for the laundry to be neatly put away (it never is), for the sink to be void of dishes (does that ever happen). I like order but sometimes we need to allow our house to look a little chaotic so that we can spend time with our children.
I have said it before but I want the memories my children have not to be that their bed was always made (it never is), but that I played outside with them. I want them to remember not that the sink never had dirty dishes in them, but that I made the pancakes at 9 pm even though I was exhausted. I want them to not remember that the carpet was always vacuumed but that I walked with them to the park and then carried them home because they no longer wanted to sit in the stroller. I want them to remember the trips to the zoo and children’s museum and the summers spent playing in the pool. I want them to remember the things that matter.
And so sometimes the dishes do pile up. Sometimes the laundry does not get folded right away. Sometimes the toys remain on the floor overnight. Sometimes the house does not look immaculate. But you know those things do not matter. What matters is that I dropped all of my Saturday cleaning plans to take them to the zoo.
(just so you know my house is not always messy)
The same is true with our relationship with our spouse. It is so easy to get caught up with the mundane chores of the day. Wake up, make breakfast and lunch, go to work, text a little during the day, eat dinner, clean the house, repeat the next day. Just as it is important for me to “go to the zoo” with my children even though I have a mountain of chores to do, it is important for us to nourish our relationship with our spouse. Although it is not feasible for many spouses to go on weekly dates, it is so important that throughout the week spouses nourish their relationship. It is so easy to get caught up in the responsibilities of being an adult, the paying of the bills, and the cleaning of the house and the repairs around the house, but spouses need to spend quality time together. Play board games, go on walks, sit on the porch.
( just sitting on the porch)