Taking Joy in the Messes

Today's guest post is by Jessica of Bohemian Bowmans. ___

I bought my kids one of those inflatable kiddie pools this summer.  Hands down, the best purchased I’ve made in a long long time.  They’ve used it every. Single. Day.  It gets those blessed, rumpusing Wild Things just the right amount of tired for chilling out in the afternoon.  Seriously.  Best 30 bucks ever.


But something odd has happened that I never would have predicted when spontaneously throwing that sucker in my Walmart cart:


I’ve developed a semi-obsession with keeping it clean. 


Well, maybe not keeping it clean so much as the mere act of cleaning it.  There’s something satisfying about controlling something and having the power to make it better.  Cathartic, even.


Which is first of all weird because, I’m not that person.  You know, that person.  That person who has a near obsessive compulsive need to clean things and loses sleep over dirty baseboards.  Not me.  At all.  And yet I find myself outside every day, siphoning out the gunk and leaves from the plastic floor of this pool.  Obsessively.  Joyfully.


One day in particular I spent 2 hours on my hands and knees cleaning and suctioning and netting the gunk out of every nook and cranny.  2 hours!  I was textbook meticulous.  I pined and slaved, and worked … only to have a summer thunderstorm sweep through within 24 hours and all my hard work looked like...


But instead of getting upset, or discouraged I actually got … kind of excited.  I would get to clean it all over again!  Yay!   (Yeah, I’m pretty much a seriously neurotic dork at this point.)


So I got back outside that evening.  I rolled up my pants and I took off my shoes.  I created a whirlpool of debris and then painstakingly siphoned out every ounce of bark and hand-picked every stick orleaf.  My legs ached and shook from bending over in the equivalent of a yoga pose for an hour.  Mosquitoes bit me.  And I had no assurance that I wouldn’t be doing this again the next day.


But in the end, after all my hard work, the pool looked clear and clean again. Ahh, satisfaction.


The driveway…not so much.


But as I stood there with straining legs and wet pants, it got me wondering.  Why don’t I ever approach the thunder storms and flash floods of parenting with as much grace and excitement?


The pool of motherhood gets dirty so fast.  Crumbs are dropped.  Dishes are dirtied.  Clothes are soiled. Puzzles are strewn.  And rarely  never have I looked at the mess with joy, grateful for the opportunity to serve again and thankful for the chance to make my children’s world just a little better.


I cleaned the pool twice yesterday.  How many times did I wash the dishes?  Zero.


Priorities: Yur doin it rong.


Do you approach the messes of motherhood and homemaking with joy and exuberance?  Has there been an experience that has helped keep your perspective in place?

Jessica is the mother of four children she affectionately calls the “Wild Things”. She spends her days unschooling, writing, seeking to be an authentic disciple of Jesus, and Embracing the Rumpus. She writes at Bohemian Bowmans.