I finished decorating cupcakes and setting the table for a play date & informal baby shower and then I moved onto sweeping. My discussion group from MOPs (Mothers of Pre-schoolers) would be coming over in the morning to celebrate Kim’s baby and I wanted to be ready for all the kids and moms. But as midnight approached, God showed me something that completely set me free from an area of perfectionism.
I had several thoughts. Some were true and some were false. And one was completely freeing.
1. Orange goldfish crackers were crunched into my living room rug. True.
2. I needed to vacuum the living room rug. False. People need food and water. They do not need to vacuum.
3. I needed sleep. True. I was in my second trimester of pregnancy with my third baby, and I also had a 3 year old and a 1 year old. I’ve also learned that the less sleep I get in pregnancy, the more I will vomit the next day (thank you, nonstop morning sickness). If I was up past midnight, there would be trouble the next day, no doubt about it.
4. If I didn’t vacuum the living room, the moms would think I’m no good at homemaking. Maybe true, maybe false.
5. If I didn’t vacuum the living room, the moms would think I’m just like them–trying to keep up with kids and homemaking. Some days, I’m more successful than others. Maybe true, maybe false.
6. What others think about me says more about them than it does me. True. And that’s what set me free.
My MOPS group was just like me. Some had one child and some had 2 or 3. One mom had twin toddlers! Some planned on homeschooling while others had their kids in preschoolers. We all recognized that juggling babies and pregnancy and toddlers and even teenagers was super hard, and we loved our group because it was a great chance to encourage and connect. We shared prayer requests with each other all the time.
As I debated the Goldfish and the vacuum, I finally realized something. If these moms didn’t understand Goldfish crackers crushed into the rug, then who would?
If they made negative judgments about me based on the food my toddler dropped, then it speaks volumes about the condition of their hearts, not mine. And quite frankly, if a mom who is supposed to be my friend wants to think I’m terrible because my floors are messy, then guess what? I just don’t care. And I’m really not interested in being close friends.
So I put the broom down and ignored the vacuum. It was bedtime. And I decided not to worry about what others think of my home. I strive to be a homemaker who creates peace and order in her home, but sometimes, peace and order means a well-rested mom and messy floors.
And the next day, we had a great play date. Kim felt blessed by the cupcakes and gifts and we all had a fun time together. My home was clean enough to allow us to be comfortable and have a great time, but it wasn’t spotless. Not by a long shot. The kids played beautifully and the moms had authentic, real conversations about different areas of our lives. I’m pretty sure no one thought I was a bad mom for having messy floors. In MOPS that year, my table connected on a much deeper level than most groups I’ve been a part of.
And now when I’m tempted to worry about someone thinking I’m “terrible” because my floors are messier than theirs, I just shrug it off. That’s their problem, but it’s definitely not mine.