Friday, May 20

Marching Orders

I was trained from a very early age how to keep house properly. I'm actually very good at it. But no one would guess it if they came to visit me.

For days at a time - and sometimes weeks on end! - I forgo all but the most basic of housekeeping for other things: family outings, Story Hour at the Library, service projects, visiting with friends/neighbors, making cookies with my daughters, roughhousing with my little children.

I can tell myself over and over that I am choosing the better part (and it's true, too, I know it), but when my head hits the pillow at the end of the day, if my dishes aren't done and the dining room and living room are cluttered, part of me feels like a miserable failure.

I am not a miserable failure. I am a work in progress. And so is my family. But the unkempt thing niggles away at me, and pressure builds, until I am the nastiest, crankiest person ever to stalk from room to room.

My husband loves me anyway.

In fact, he loves me enough to lay down the law when things get piled higher and deeper, and give my children indisputable, highly-enforceable marching orders.

Like during lunch: as he was finishing up his food, he issued a directive that all electronic devices were to be locked and remain so until the dirty dishes (which were many) were washed and the clean laundry (which exceeded the dishes exponentially) was folded and put away. And it was to all be done before he got home for the evening.

The weeping and gnashing of teeth began immediately. But it worked. When I called the troops into the kitchen, they came. And they worked. And we got all the dishes done. Then we descended on the clean laundry, and had it done in less than 45 minutes.

It's not that I did anything different. It's that Marching Orders from the father carry a sense of urgency that nothing I say or do can match. I don't mind it at all.

I am grateful for a husband who knows what matters to me, and does what he can to make it happen (whenever possible). I am grateful for children who are competent housekeepers (when they want to be). I am grateful that the toddler was asleep so that we could work and that the baby was sufficiently amused watching us do it. I am grateful that we have dishes and laundry to begin with. It is a sign of blessed abundance (no, really, it is!). I am really grateful the dishes and laundry are 100% caught up (for now), so I can go read stories to my kids, and maybe do a little blogging without guilt.

What are you blessed with today?

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