Let's say you, a neighbor of mine out walking your dog, stops by to see how we are doing this morning. Perhaps you haven't seen me out and about in a couple of weeks and are just saying "hi." Let's pretend, too, that you don't have any young children at home yourself and, therefore, are always interested in what my little clan is doing. Here's what you might see this morning (11:00 a.m. on a Monday): a pile of laundry (eclipsing its small basket) on the couch, chairs scattered around the play area, toys scattered on the floor, stuff on every surface of the play area, some miscellaneous stuff on the dining room table, and a big bag of trash by the front door awaiting its final journey to the trash can. If I were this pretend neighbor, I can guarantee you that I'd be thinking these people were messy, what was the mother doing all morning, why wasn't stuff picked up, etc. etc. etc.
Now, as a mother, here's my perspective: the laundry is clean and needs to be folded; the stuff was up off the floor (and on all available surfaces) and chairs moved around because my toddler broke a glass this morning--necessitating some vacuuming and mopping; toys are scattered around because both my twins are now crawling and like to drop toys around in their forays into new territory; and I haven't gotten anything else accomplished this morning because my boys ate a number of crayons and had to be cleaned up (and their clothes and surrounding area cleaned up). But you know what!? All of it--ALL OF IT--is a blessing.
You know why the glass dropped and the crayons were consumed? Because I'd popped out into the back yard, leaving the three unsupervised for a few minutes, to talk across the fence with my neighbor behind me who just had a miscarriage (her first pregnancy--and they dearly want children). My house may be a wreck, I may spend half the day cleaning up stuff/kids I hadn't planned on, and my body may be a living testimony to bearing three children in a very short time, but I am blessed indeed to be a mother, especially to my three darlings! So, I'm not ashamed of the mess, nor of my appearance, nor of my three grubby urchins.
If you, as my hypothetical dog-walking neighbor, were to stop by this morning, I hope I'd keep this perspective, offer you a cup of tea, and welcome my children into your presence, letting you and them benefit from each other's acquaintance.
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