Just last week, some friends came over to shoot photos of my house for the blog. When they arrived, the house was (mostly) picture perfect. We didn't even get halfway through the shoot before my house was chaos once again.
I'm a clean person, obsessively so at times, and I feel much better when my house is orderly and ambient. But if there's one thing that having three kids has taught me, it's that a clean house is a mostly fruitless aspiration. I can spend hours cleaning and organizing, and my house usually still looks like Toys R Us vomited in my living room (and bedrooms, and bathrooms...).
Last week Thrive Moms posted a request on their Instagram for their readers to post a picture from their day and use the hashtag #thrivewhereistand. There couldn't have been a more perfect day for me to do this. I looked around at the chaos before me, captured, then posted these two pictures:
...and this was only half the mess. I caught a couple more photos of the epically chaotic state my house was in:
The responses I received overwhelmed me. There was no judgment. No snide remarks (like the ones I say to myself when I wake up and remember that I still haven't loaded that stupid dishwasher). Instead, I received encouragement, compassion, and even comical commiseration. I realized there is something about opening up and saying, "Hey, I'm weak" that brings people together and moves them to encourage and love one another.
Sometimes I have perfect days when my kids drink homemade organic smoothies while they participate harmoniously in a Pinterest-perfect sensory activity. But I also have days where I feel like a referee in a boxing ring and a waste management specialist and a child psychologist and any other difficult profession you can think of (especially if it has to do with poop).
And this is what I took from the #thrivewhereistand challenge: I am so grateful for a movement that says it's ok to put a picture up of your total chaos/ugliness/weirdness and BE PROUD of it. Because there's more to this life than a clean house. And perfect kids. And a perfect marriage.
It's more important that we can look around and laugh and say "It's ok. Tomorrow is a new day." (See: Lamentations 3:23) That I can know that I'm not failing as a mom because my kids watched tv and ate pretzels for 3 hours. And that, most importantly, I'm not alone.
If you're sinking in self-condemnation and embarrassment because your house/parenting/marriage does not look pretty from the outside, please join me on the bandwagon of "Hey, it's ok. We are all imperfect." If you don't believe it's out there, just check out the responses to the #thrivewhereistand challenge.