This is what happens when you go on vacation and leave your yard unattended for a couple of weeks:
Weeds. Not just a few little dandelions popping up here and there. Giant, thick, deep-rooted weeds. Spiky, nasty weeds. Weeds that are too prickly to pull with your bare hands. Painful weeds.
Looks like I’ll be attacking my yard with various garden implements and herbicides this weekend before they completely take over. Which leads me to the point of this post:
How often do we let the unwanted things in life catch root and take up our space and time, which results in having to spend even more time getting rid of them?
In short: The lesson is in keeping the good things and wanted things well maintained so that a nasty weed like this one doesn't result in wasted efforts and time.
This can be easily correlated to parenting and marriage...
Like the home that goes from clean to clutter in a matter of hours just because I either got behind on laundry or finally washed the loads that had been stacking up… and is now on my couch, guest bed, in baskets, etc.
Like my kids rooms. Under their beds. In their closets. Legos. Books. Stuffed animals. Socks. Happy meal toys. Scattered. Chaotic.
Like the sink, still full of last night’s dishes this morning. It really only takes about 10 minutes tops to fill the dishwasher, but there they sit. And now I am adding dishes from breakfast to them. Then lunch. Then dinner. Now it takes 30 minutes of washing before I see the bottom of the sink again.
Like the date night with my husband that has been put off for 3 months. Now we’re finally face to face having dinner without the kids. We don’t have to order something to share with the 4-year-old or answer a million questions about life from the 8-year-old, and we don’t know what to talk about. Other than the kids.
So what do we do to keep the weeds of life at bay? I don’t have any real answers. You'll recall that I’m the lady that will be waging war with a hoe and a bottle of Roundup this weekend.
I guess the secret could be to do a little tending each day.
Do a load of laundry a day. Put it away before the day ends.
Help the children learn to keep their rooms clean by giving them room for their things. A place for everything… and everything in its place.
Load the dishwasher, not the sink.
Spend time with my husband. Deliberate time. Alone time.
But my reality – and the habits that I've formed – dictate an altogether different truth.
I’d rather dig socks out of a laundry basket than sort them before I go to bed.
I don’t mind the messes in my kids rooms when I know that they have been playing and building and creating and imagining and may not be quite finished yet.
I really don’t mind the dishes waiting until the next morning when that means that I get to read one more book to my children or hold them in my lap for a few more minutes when I have been at work all day.
And even though date night doesn't happen as often as I wish that it would, it is OK that my husband and I are intertwined in our children’s lives. That we catch a glance and a quick embrace daily - amid the chaos and busy-ness of life - and are still very much in love with each other.
So how do you keep the weeds away?
Maybe it isn't as big of a deal after all. Especially when your little ones bring you a fistful of dandelions and clover flowers because they “love you the whole much” and thought that they were beautiful “just like you”.
Jennifer Collins is a Graceful Mess.
Living a messy life, full of grace.
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