Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Last night I went to a monthly bible study for Moms. It's a varied group; many churches represented, several homeschoolers, and it's a lovely group. The venue changes, and last night we were able to switch last-minute: the neighbor of our intended hostess wasn't going to be able to make it since her husband was working late. She welcomed us to her home instead, so she could attend for the first time.

After the study, we enjoyed some pie and ice cream, and then took a tour of her older home. It's near where we first lived in town, but bigger (not BIG mind you, just bigger than our tiny 872 sf home), and beautifully remodeled/fixed up. Apparently there are still things they intend to do, but really it was breathtaking. Not because it was just *so fancy*, but because they have four children, the oldest of whom is 7. *I* have four children, and my oldest is nine.

I'm trying to be inspired. I really am. But it wars with discouragement, and I'm not sure which is winning today. Her carpet is soft, and new, and there are no apple cores to be found within its fibers. Her children's rooms are painted beautifully, and no one has taken a pen or marker or pencil or sharp utensil to them. Their beds have (coordinated!) blankets, and none of them were on the floor. Her converted attic loft/guest/storage area, for which she apologized, looks like any "after" photo I might take after a real effort at cleaning/organizing/decorating. How does she do it? How does anyone do it? Why can't I???

I sat with the kids today, and we held hands and prayed about this. I pointed out that I had vacuumed up all the cornmeal two days ago. Someone poured more on the floor of the schoolroom. I told them the miracle(s) that brought this house to us. I asked them if they gave someone a gift, if they would want that gift to be loved or not. I showed them the (pieces of) crayons I just picked up from all over the floor - for the second day in a row. The tape stuck to the floor in great, wasteful lengths. The bookshelf overturned in the bedroom. Who does this kind of thing?

I am not completely ignorant. I have not completely neglected the training of my children. But oh my gosh it sure looks that way. Where am I missing it here? Why the glaring, glaring difference between two otherwise similar households? I do not (seriously) require the jacuzzi tubs, or a fireplace in my bedroom suite, or glassed-in showers, or the stainless fridge-over-freezer. But oh, an apple-core-free carpet would be fantastic. A little order to rest in, without sacrificing three times over when the girls have five minutes to their own devices. Without abandoning sleep altogether, what can I do to close the gap??


Fatima said...

We must be feeling the same, today! I cringe every time we have unexpected guests because of the messy state of my house. I don't want to spend my days being the "mean momma" so that things don't get destroyed. I'd much rather sew or plant some lettuce, maybe take a hike with the kids. Hope you'll pop over to my silly little blog and see what I shared today. And c'mon over to my house for a visit. ;) I think you and I could get along just fine.

EllaJac said...

Oh Fatima, if you figure "it" out, let me know! I'll do the same for you. :)

I'm guessing though, if you're already planting lettuce, that we probably don't live near enough for a real-life visit. THough that sounds lovely. :)

I'll check your post!

Rose said...

I have been where you are. No, let me rephrase that. I am where you are. And, like you said, I know I have not totally neglected training my children. But somehow everything I said seemed to go straight out the window. I didn't want to be the nagging cranky mamma, but at the same it seemed no one listened if I wasn't I would end up holding in it until I exploded which wasn't good either. We're finally getting to a point where, I simply say what I have to say and if it isn't taken care of, and I see it later, they're going to have to come back and take care of it.I try not to be cranky about, just firm. But they are starting to learn I'm not going to pick up after them. They are getting older now and that helps some too.

Emma said...

We are a large family, 9 children and mom and dad in 1100 or so sqft.house. I too struggle, STRUGGLE with the chaos, dirt and general discombobulation. (Especially with my neat and tidy husbands expectations) A couple of things...Seasons! This too shall pass! These seasons of little people are fleeting. Chose to be diligent in training and hard work, but focus on love and time that is NOW. Looking back, four children was my most chaotic time. So little, so untrained. You are way outnumbered with no ally. People are pendulums, they swing it one way or another, either creative and messy or regimented and orderly but clouded in their joy. The bible speaks of the narrow way, I relate that to the middle of the pendulum swing, BALANCE. Thanks for the great log.

EllaJac said...

Thank you for your encouragement ladies. I've come a long *long* way, but all progress followed an added responsibility/obligation. I was behind with 1 child, often, and while I'm doing so much better, there's now so much more to do! :)

EllaJac said...

Thank you for your encouragement ladies. I've come a long *long* way, but all progress followed an added responsibility/obligation. I was behind with 1 child, often, and while I'm doing so much better, there's now so much more to do! :)

Fatima said...

I checked out the Flylady thing and it looks interesting. I think I'm going to try it. I've let having a baby every 22 months really get me off track. I probably need something like that to help me jump back in. I'm not sure I'll follow all of the program, but I'd like to try to do it and take what works for me. For the first time ever, I have a two year old and I don't have a newborn at the same time. I'm out of excuses. ;) I guess I better start cleaning up my house.
Anyway, if you want to do this too, as you said in your comment at FLTS, I'll jump in with you and we can see how it works out. Let me know. It may be lots of fun keeping up with each other's progress. Maybe we can get some others involved, too.