Leaving Perfection Behind
Striving For Perfection: The Lie I Bought
This post was originally written when we first moved into our first house. Six months prior I spent creating pinterest boards of all the ideas I wanted to implement in our new place. Then we finally moved in and painted the walls. We fixed it up how we wanted, and I found myself obsessed with keeping it spotless.
Fluffing the pillows, picking up each room and setting it back into what I considered model home status became my morning routine. I would make sure everything looked picture perfect. Then my toddler would wake up. Walking behind him I would fix everything he touched moments after he moved it. Obviously looking back I had too much time on my hands. Can you imagine my frustration when my perfect home turned into a episode of hoarders in less then 5 minutes?
At the time I had a 1 year old and was VERY pregnant. Soon I would have two small children destroying my house. How would I keep up with them both? Would my house ever look like the perfectly clean and organized homes I was seeing on pinterest?My problem wasn't my toddler it was Pinterest, or rather the constant comparison in my mind .Click To Tweet
Having pondered these questions for sometime, I realized something. My problem wasn’t my toddler it was pinterest, or rather the constant comparison in my mind. Since I’m a frequent pinterester (that’s the word for being obsessed) I saw so many beautifully decorated homes. Of course I want mine to be just as clean, organized and meticulously decorated. What no one tells you is that those houses don’t truly look like that. At least not ones with kids.
Nobody’s House Looks Like That All The Time!
Those houses have hand prints on the wall, stains on the carpet, dishes taking up the sink and toys thrown here and there. The SECRET is that about a hour maybe two before those gorgeous pictures are taken the house is cleaned and the toys hidden. There’s no problem with that because the home owner wants the house to be seen as it’s supposed to be. However, it leads people, especially people like me, (being a perfectionist and all) to think my house has to be clean ALL the time. A big LIE I allowed to make me feel inadequate.
Which is why when we finally bought a house, I would constantly pick up the toys. Clean little hand prints and vacuum, making it look perfect first thing every morning. Sadly by the end of the day you could tell it was lived in again. I would start all over again the next morning. Finally I realized there’s no way in the world these other moms have this much time to clean and take care of themselves! Not to mention the kids, the hubby and have one last bit of sanity in their brains. So I gave up cleaning. No not completely but I gave up trying to compete with having the model home everyday. It’s not realistic and it was robbing me of my joy.
Striving For Perfection Stole My Joy
All my life I had wanted to own a home and have stability. As a child my family moved around a lot and rented many different houses. We were even homeless for a short time. Finally God had blessed me with a home to call my own! Instead of praising him and being content I was blindsided by covetousness and found myself complaining.
One of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s”. Exodus 20:17
I should have been joyful and thankful during that time. Instead I got caught up in taking care of my blessing instead of first pausing to thank God for what he had given me. God is so loving and patient! I am so thankful to him for every lesson he teaches me. Changing my habits and thoughts took some time but after 2 years of living in our house I think about cleaning and housekeeping very differently.
Leaving Perfection Behind and Loving My Messy Life
Nowadays I only worry about cleaning my house when people come over. Nobody wants to step on blocks, or see a balled up diaper that just barely missed the trash (I can’t aim). I am so glad it dawned on me that those houses are first cleaned. Then those pictures are snapped when everything is perfect. Once the camera gets put away within a few minutes the house is again in it’s natural state of daily use and disarray.
A home is meant to be lived and laughed in. It’s a shelter and at best is a retreat and comfort zone. Stress shouldn’t be caused by it. There is a natural rhythm to housekeeping every homemaker must find. It is different for everyone. It is essential to finding a balance where your home is kept tidy enough to live in (hoarder homes are stress inducing) and yet you aren’t constantly cleaning. There must be balance.
Have you caught yourself feeling like your house has to look a certain way?
How are you leaving perfection behind?
I would love to hear your answers in the comments below. If helps me know that I’m not alone.