A friend, who has twins, shared a blog of another twin mom (did you follow that) with me yesterday, which inspired this. What she wrote completely resonated with me, as it did with my friend, and is exactly where I am at and what I'm struggling with.
Just after my graduation from graduate school in 2003, I had the great privilege to live with a family with whom I went to church. They have a big, beautiful home near Forest Park, and had an entire unoccupied third floor, which they used to house young, single adults from time to time. This family has four children, all close in age, which makes for a very busy household! I was always so impressed with this family's generosity, their great love,f and their commitment to relationships both with each other and with others. It's this last one, commitment to relationships, that has stuck with me all these years, and especially resonates with me now that I am a parent.
This family did not always have the cleanest home--there were definitely things out of place and dust on the floor. Their reason? Relationships are more important than keeping a spotless house. They would rather help their children with homework, or play a game of catch in the front yard rather than make sure the house was clean. Their lack of the immaculately clean home didn't keep them from having company over either--they encouraged people to call and invite themselves over for dinner at a moment's notice. Why? Because relationships are more important. They said that they would never regret not having a perfectly clean home, but they would regret missed moments spent with their children, or missed opportunities to pour over good conversation with a friend. I remind myself of this lesson on a regular basis as I battle that gnawing feeling that I should be doing more daily.
For those of you who have read this blog before, you may remember that our girls do not nap well. Maybe once a week I can actually get them down in the crib asleep, but most of the time they take small naps on the nursing pillow for as long as I will sit there quietly, and then they are awake again. All that to say--when the twins wake up in the morning, I am "on", and I am "on" sometimes until late evening if my husband has to work late, or has some sort of social commitment. It's intense, and can be exhausting. So what have I chosen to do about it? I'm waking up early. I know to read that it doesn't make much sense, but hopefully it will. I try to get myself up, and get myself ready before the twins get up each morning for a little quiet time. It's my time to be quiet, to talk to God and to be still. I'm very intentional about this, and it is hard. As I sit at our kitchen table,g the pile of dirty bottles and pumping equipment taunts me to be washed and the dog hair on the kitchen floor begs to be Swiffered. But I sit still. I sit still, drinking my coffee, eating my oatmeal, talking to God, or reading the Bible, because it is good for my soul, and ultimately it is good for my daughters, friends and for my husband--it makes me a better mother, friend and wife.
Then, when my daughters wake up, I am theirs--I feed them, clothe them, play with them, I.take them on walks, I take them swimming; I do so willingly, and with a joyful heart, because I've had my quiet time--they won't require as much from me forever, so I enjoy it while I can. During the day I have great friends who occasionally come over to visit with me and the girls--I love chatting with each of them, and let them in the door regardless of the state of our home. I have no idea what they think of our home, but I don't care. If I waited to have them over when my home was clean, I would be very lonely--relationships are more important. When my daughters go to bed, I am my husband's; I do so gladly, because I've had my quiet time--our marriage remains strong, and we continue to feel connected to one another, even though our family has doubled and our lives have been changed dramatically! I, occasionally, pay attention to our home--we certainly don't live in squalor, but I won't let that become more important than my play time with my daughters, visits with dear friends, my evening time with my husband, or quiet time with God--relationships are more important.