Today’s post will be short and sweet.
I am sharing with you the best piece of parenting advice I have ever gotten.
As an OCD, Type A personality, I bet you can imagine how much I like order and cleanliness.
I want the dishes to be done. I want the floors to be clean. I hate clutter.
One day, when my children were small, I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to keep my house in order with little ones. What one woman said to me next changed my whole perspective.
What she said was, “It can wait.”
She told me to sit down on my dirty floor, ignore the dirty dishes, and play with my children. They are only small once, she said, and you don’t want to spend their entire lives worrying about how clean the house is instead of playing with them and enjoying them while you have the chance. You can wash dishes when they go to bed. You can do a quick pick up while they play in the tub. Don’t let their memories of you be all about your obsession with keeping the house clean. Rather, help them build memories of you playing together.
Now, you could take this to the extreme and never, ever clean your house, but that is not what I am suggesting.
You could also take this to the extreme and never, ever teach your children to clean up the house, but that is not what I am suggesting.
I am just saying that sometimes, it is okay, even good, to let things go. Dirty dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and dusting will always need to be done. But our children will not always be little and need a playmate. They will not always be teenagers who need our listening ear. One day they will grow up and (hopefully) move out. And they need to know that they are more important to us than a perfectly clean home.
It can wait.
(And when the day comes that my children move out, I will be so glad to have a clean house that stays that way for more than five minutes, but in the meantime, I will enjoy having them around and seeing a house that is well lived in!)