the Iron & Wine concert crooning out my laptop is at full volume, attempting to keep the sleeping toddler asleep.  another child is crying full volume in the bedroom, & i should be starting dinner.  it’s six o’clock.  but i want to tell you about my experiment.

i’m coming to terms with the science parts of my brain.  (i’ve always said they were removed at birth & filled up with words instead.  sorry, homeschooling children;  you’ll get it elsewhere, i’m sure.  [fingers crossed.])  by that i mean that i’m an experimenter.  an evaluator.  an analyzer.  this makes me just a little bit sciency, yes?   what i’ve been experimenting with just now is anti-perfection.
today we had leftover tacos for lunch.  fantastic, as everyone eats without complaint (okay, yeah.  that never happens.).  after lunch, the kids have what i affectionately call “lunch chores” to do. (see, look how creative i am!)  one sweeps, another wipes, they all take their plates & rainbow-colored ikea cups to the sink.  which should make for an ease into the afternoon.  yeah, that never happens, either.  there is always too much coercion necessary to complete such. simple. tasks.  i nearly am mad with trying.  & if i leave the room?  my, how quickly the wheels go hurling off the machine.
i came back into the kitchen after changing a diaper & was truly astonished at how not clean the dining room was.  yes, technically the letter of the law was followed.  the table had no visible scraps left.  the floor immediately under the table was clear.  but the spirit of the law!  oh, how i love thee, spirit of the law!!  the spirit of the law was sincerely & completely absent.  the mess simply was transferred to the countertop for me to deal with.  the chairs were all akimbo.  & the perimeter which we talk about every day was a landmine.
usually, this chaos sends me into an uproar internally.  i wonder how it’s possible these children birthed from my womb, or if they truly have formed a coup to draw out my crazy.  but, after retreating to a little blog reading, this thought wafted through:  what if i could choose happiness in spite of the imperfection?  what i didn’t wait until all our household ducks were aligned to let down my guard & relax?  what if we kept working toward better but didn’t derail every time we missed it?  & in the bigger, grander scheme (leap with me, please), what if i could look at my own pocked self with a littler gentler eye?  isn’t that what i’m actually bent out of shape over, anyway?  the state of my own head/heart/life?
(look at that long hair.  i promise, we cut it.  i hope this doesn’t scar you into therapy, leif.)

maybe you can speak to this, but i don’t know if it’s my firstborn-ness, or my type-A-ness, or my mom-of-four-little-kids-ness, but i want things perfect.  there, i’ve said it.  “hi.  my name is jill, & i like things perfect.”  but life is not perfect, my children are not perfect (yet.  i’m working on it.  [tongue-in-cheek.]).  i am most certainly not perfect (though my facebook status may try to tell you otherwise).  i can’t even imagine whatkindofa pain i’d be to live with if any of these things were true.  God truly knows best. duh.
so wouldn’t it be best for all parties involved if i could just set down my standards a notch, step over the plastic bag/costume/lamp chaos in the middle of the kitchen, & go on with my happiness?  wouldn’t it be best for everyone if i cut myself a little slack when i (choose one, or all):  sleep in/ignore the laundry/yell yet a-freaking-gain at my small ones?  yes, yes,  i think it would.  wouldn’t i be so much happier if i could make peace with my own imperfections, realizing that i’m not done?  i don’t need to hand over my house or my life to the dogs, but i could loosen the knotted bits a little.
& really & truly, if i’m basing my worth on the absence of dirt or dilemma or misbehavior (on my part or theirs), i’m missing the whole deal.  there’s only one Guy that can truly level out my worth, & He said long time ago when He made me up that i’m a hallelujah-masterpiece.  that, my friends, should be enough perfect for anyone.

6 thoughts on “anti-perfection.

  1. Just clicked over from Sarah’s, and I can honestly tell you that yelling and freaking out about mess doesn’t work. My oldest is 23, youngest 11, and still no one cares if the floor is dirty, piles of junk are on the table/counters, dishes are in the sink. Kids don’t care. Most of the time my husband doesn’t care. I am the only one caring. So I either need to figure out another way to get everyone to pitch in (I haven’t), do it myself, or change how much I care. The latter is easiest.

    The best part of raising kids (well, not literally the BEST, but really good) is when your child moves out and cleans up after himself. Oh my goodness…he WAS listening!

    1. yes! yelling & freaking out pretty much never solve anything, ever. at least not in a real, heart-changing way. & it IS my mama heart that needs the first changing, yes?
      thank you for the good word, mama who has gone ahead with older kiddos!!

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