Looking around our house, you’ll see a mess.
Okay, lots of messes…
There’s going to be a pile of shoes by the door, and above them on a table, a stack of unopened mail. Maybe an empty McDonald’s cup or two on the table, as well. Walk inside and look to your right, there may be blankets and pillows all over the family room floor, and the two easy chairs have big holes in the middle of their seats from where our pit bull has burrowed down to make a nest. You’ll probably find him curled up in one of the chairs, and the Labrador may be sprawled out on the floor on one of the kids’ comforters, which they always drag downstairs with them when they wake up in the morning – and then leave on the floor to collect dust all day.
Oh, inside may be a little worse, depending on the time of week, but our homeschool table – formerly our dining table – it’ll have piles of books and papers strewn all over it, and probably a cat or two. There’s a little method to this madness, if I have my way with it, but for the most part, when it’s time for a certain subject, it’s time to go on a little dig to find that book.
You know, I’ve been thinking about this mess a lot lately… because I’ve struggled, for years, to be okay in it.
I’ve struggled with the fact that my house is never perfect. That there is always clutter, always pet hair, always dirty dishes in the sink, always toys on the floor, and never any sense of order. It’s not how envisioned my house, or my life, would be when I “grew up”.
And honestly, maybe our house is a little representative of our lives in general: messy.
Yeah, our lives are pretty messy, too.
Learning to be Okay with Messy Lives
I recently read a blog post by another homeschool parent about their daily routine. I laughed about it later with Ben – and he reciprocated with an incredulous “why… and how?” Our lives just do not lend themselves to a routine. It could just never happen.
Sure, we’ve got items on our schedules, and believe it or not, we’ve actually gotten much better about arriving on time to events – even church on Sunday mornings! And yes, Ben and I both have set times we have to be at work, and we’re good about making it there on time, too. I’m known for my punctuality to appointments at doctor’s offices, and I pride myself on this. But the rest of our daily schedule is still pretty haphazard, and it changes day to day, week to week. We have no “typical days” in our lives.
My chronic illnesses play a factor in this, too. Ben will sometimes need to take a day off of work to help me at home if my pain, fatigue, or anxiety flares up beyond control. I work early mornings at home, and when the kids get up, oftentimes they start their days in front of the TV while I nap after work – and then we start school. Then too, school does not have a routine. I’ve even tried this out in the past, and it just doesn’t work. For us, there is no set “math time”, there is “which would you like to do first? Math or Language Arts?” We’re just too “fly by the seat of your pants” for that.
Have I sometimes wished that our lives could be more structured, more ordered? Have I wished for predictability, for routine? Yeah, I have. I grew up with it. But I’ve had to come to realize that on my own, in my family, with my husband and our children – we’re just not like that. We weren’t made like that. God intended for us to live differently – and I’m coming to terms with being okay with that.
Our family is entirely too random to lock ourselves into a routine. We have to have spontaneity in our lives or we’d die of boredom. One morning last fall, we even packed up everything and drove three hours to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky for an afternoon just because we wanted to see mountains. More often, in less extreme cases, we’ll randomly decide to push morning lessons to the afternoon because we want to go to the park or the apple orchard – because the morning is too beautiful to stay inside.
That’s just us. It’s the way we are. It works for us. We like it this way.
And that is why I want to be okay in it.
So, if your life is messy, too – literally or figuratively, or both – it’s okay. We are finding ways to be okay in our mess, stumbling along, day by day. I’m sure you can, too – in your own special way.
I do hope you’ll stick around, and maybe we can find ways to be okay together. Click here to learn a little more about us – and don’t forget to subscribe – we’d be thrilled to have you along for the ride, and to share our creations in our free resource library with you, too.
May God be with you.