Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Life After Three and the Lies of Productivity

I was talking to some women last night at a Christmas party, and as we were discussing transitioning from one child to two and then two to three, I realized that my housekeeping skills haven't been the same since I went from two to three. Sure, they weren't great when I just had two, but they really went downhill at three!!!

This transition was probably one of the most difficult ones to make, but after a year of having three, I am getting the hang of going out with them, eating with them, and having fun with them. However, I still find the housework a challenge!

Like today, for instance.

I have been doing laundry and dishes. I also straightened my bedroom and fixed a wobbly drawer in the kids' dresser.

I remember with two I could have also cleaned out the fridge and done a thorough house blessing! Perhaps it is partly related to having a little one who is INTO EVERYTHING! When she is awake, I really have to keep my eyes on her.

Dave is awesome. He doesn't complain. Even when I ask him to complain, he can only muster, "I wish you would rinse off your dishes before you put them in the sink." Seriously? That's it? You aren't furious that your underwear are dirty and there are dishes piled in the sinks and all along the countertops? You aren't frustrated that there are goldfish all over the dining room floor and crumbs and marker streaks on the table? He really is a gem.

I know sometimes I am too hard on myself in the housekeeping department, but how did Dave's grandma do so much on a farm? How did she get up at 4am? How did she milk all the cows, take care of four kids (one set of twins) and bring water up from a well? And garden? And clean? And cook? HOW?????

I don't know. I think my life is pretty easy compared to hers, and I don't have to keep a farm running to survive, either. My life is so different. I'm thankful, but I do wish I had some of that motivation. But, at the same time, I do think "productivity" is a god in this culture. We measure worthiness and capability by how much one accomplishes in a day (or an hour).

When my head hits the pillow tonight, I want to think that I did exactly what I was supposed to do today. My list of accomplishments may be short, but I pray my children and husband felt loved by what small amount I was able to do.


  1. I love everything you have to say here. I used to be so clean but I just cannot get it done. When we added the third we also almost doubled the size of our house and I have struggled just letting things go. I am inherently lazy by nature. And as far as the lie goes... you are right on! I always feel that if the house can look good when Keith gets home, it will look like I accomplished something that day but what if all I accomplished was yelling at my little ones in order to get the house clean? Not what I want to think about when I lay my head down at night, that is for sure!

  2. We measure worthiness and capability by how much one accomplishes in a day (or an hour).

    Amen to that... and to Natasha. I do what I can, when I can... and don't stress over a messy house EXCEPT when company is coming and ESPECIALLY when said company is in-laws.
    I hate that it all falls on the wife if things are messy... regardless of what she has done that day. I know I'm not lazy. I know I've been busy all day... but if my house is a mess, people assume you've done nothing even if you have five kids.
    *I'm* happy when I get a lot done so I certainly try. And I like my house to be clean... but if neither happen... oh well.

  3. Amen Mama. My dad used to harrass my mom constantly about being lazy and complained about everything without ever lifting a finger to help. That experience has made me incredibly defensive about housekeeping. I am hard on myself, but if my poor husband utters a word I either have a fit of defiant rage or burst into tears. I used to have an excuse, but now that I'm home during the day I feel the pressure mounting to have clean shiny sinks, floors, baths, and children and all my job work done a day early, and and and and. Poor hubby thought this would be a free ticket out of dishes and laundry for him, no such luck!

  4. I always love your posts! You are the best writer. I'm so glad that I have a husband that doesn't know when our house is dirty. I see dirty footprints all over the tile floors, which are WAY overdue for a mopping. He thinks they are sparkly clean. It is pretty freeing. I think that you are right, we have to let ourselves off the hook sometimes. Brian would way rather me lay on the couch for an hour than spend it mopping. Besides, no one else notices the things that we do anyway-especially not little ones! I think that they would rather play with you than have sparkly floors. I hope that my feelings stay the same when little dart gets here. Love you!

  5. It's so easy to look around at the mess and think you did nothing that day (speaking for myself here) but in reality you kept all three of those blessing safe and healthy and ALIVE for a full day! That is a hard job most days! I too have found it hard to keep up and have had to learn VERY SLOWLY, that I can only do what I can do. I am NOT infact super woman, My house will NOT be spotless at any point in the next few years, (especially after May when baby 4 get here!) But thankfully God has blessed me with a wonderful husband that also values our lives together and children rather than the crumbs on the floor and the smudges on the walls. And one day when my house is empty and lonely, than maybe it'll remain clean for longer than 5 minutes, but until then we've got to enjoy the joy and chaos that fills it for just a little while.....


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