Cleaning and Scrubbing Can Wait ’till Tomorrow

I am someone who pushes themselves to get as much done as possible in a waking 16 hour day (or often more). Work, home, writing and relationships. How much can I “get done” today? A busy full day leaves me with a sense of accomplishment.

However, this outlook also can lead to frustration because much of my day is preparing for and supporting the growth of two small children under the age of five.

My mother, who is the type of person that could stay calm in a forest fire, shared with me this little poem that I try to keep in my head when dishes are dirty, the floor hasn’t been wash in I don’t know how many weeks and there are toys to be picked up:

cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
for babies grow up
we’ve learned to our sorrow
so settle down cobwebs
dust go to sleep
i’m rocking my baby
and babies don’t keep


(I found this image on AuntSistersPicks Etsy’s page and it is a spitting image of the one my mom had hanging in our house growing up and now passed to my brother, as he is new father. Mom, if you’re reading this, they consider it “vintage.”)

When this enters my mind, as I am seeing the piles of clutter to  donate, sort or give-away, as I’m working my way through the stack of snail-mail, as I am pitching piles of receipts and notes on my dresser, I am reminded that I need to cherish these early months of her life.

When I am fully present and not checking my iPhone, or trying to accomplish something, I need to remember that I am giving her support and building trust.

My daughter is turning four months old officially next week. She is smiling, reaching out and grabbing things and even talking back to me in a droning arc of a sound that is mesmerizing.

When I look back, it’s not going to be how clean was my floor. I’m not going to need to prove to God that I kept my physical house in order. He’s not going to judge me on the polished tables or the organization and cleanliness of my garage. He is going to look at my relationships.

Especially my relationships that support or tear down my immediate family. If I am putting the physical world before the spiritual, I find that the relationships in my life aren’t in a satisfying state. I end up with some sort of dialog in my head that tells me I’ll be happy when ______________. (Fill in the black with whatever needs cleaning or organizing.)

So this post is a reminder to me, and to anyone who comes across it, to cherish the moments when the little ones are up, begging for a bike ride or an extra book before bed, and we just want 10 minutes to ourselves. I’ll miss it when they’re gone.

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