Grace for a messy house

Last week on Facebook, I posted a quick thought about the state of my messy house.  I said simply

“Mom, do you know what it means when you have dishes in the sink? It means you fed your family. It means you’re awesome.”

I was talking to myself.

I was in the grips of guilt because my house wasn’t exactly company ready when the doorbell rang.  It wasn’t a drop-in guest. I should have been more prepared, but life got in the way.

It wasn’t until I viewed my home through the lens of Grace that I could see the beauty of my messy house.  Come look. I think you’ll see it too.

Grace for a messy house.

grace for messy houses

The front door isn’t decorated for the season. It’s decorated with rocks and soccer balls and collections of interesting sticks.

Mom, do you know what that means? It means your kids have been outside playing. It means they aren’t just sitting in front of a screen all afternoon. You are amazing.

There’s a big pile of books and shoes on the stairs – the one the kids jump over instead of doing the logical thing like carrying up the stairs as they go.

Hey mom, good job. You’re raising readers.

The pile of homeschool “stuff” on the dining room table is dangerously high.  It’s pretty clear no one has eaten at the table for a few days.

So you’re sandwiching home school with real life and seizing every teachable moment you can. Mom, I’m pretty sure that means you’re doing it right.

The vacuum is in the middle of the floor.  The dust bunnies are drifting past in a way that could best be described as fearless.

Obviously, you’ve got cleaning on your list.  Or perhaps you’re working on a chore system with your kids. Either way, you clearly INTEND on cleaning soon. That’s practically the same as having already done it. Besides, dragging the vacuum out is the hardest part.

There’s a pile of dirty dishes in the sink. There may even be a dirty skillet on the stove, but who cares.

Mom, do you know what it means when you have dishes in the sink? It means you fed your family. It means you’re awesome.

Mom, do you know what that pile of dishes in the sink really means?  It means you cooked and fed your family.  It means you’re awesome.

Wow. It sure is noisy in here.  There’s at least one television running at full volume.  The sounds of kids with raised voices is hard to ignore. And was that the sound of a wrestling match or did someone just break a chair?

It sounds like your house is infested with kids – quite possibly boys. Just remember that quiet houses feel lonely after a while. Hang in there momma, it will be over before you know it.  Until then, enjoy as much of that energetic and passionate spirit as you possibly can.

Please ignore the laundry.  No matter how big the pile looks on that chair (or bed or couch or floor or all of the above.)

Hey mom, you know what that pile of clean laundry really means? It means your family has clean clothes to wear. It means you have less dirty clothes piled up somewhere than you might. It quite possibly means that you decided to cuddle on the couch or read a book or linger over prayers instead of sorting socks. Mom, you’ve got a great sense of priority there.  Keep it up.


When seen through the lens of Grace and love, what looks like messy turns into evidence that you’ve embraced the journey of motherhood.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,

But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!

I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

(Song for a Fifth Child)Do you know what that pile of dishes in the sink really means? It means you cooked. That makes you awesome.

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Grace is such a beautiful gift.

  2. As the mom of grown young men, yes, I agree! Time flies by too quickly and all the laundry, bathrooms, dusting, etc. are still available. I still don’t get it all done! hahaha, but you are correct to choose relationship over chores. Bless you with JOY on your amazing journey with Jesus!

    • I struggle to keep a house that’s presentable, but I’ll choose relationships every time. BUT… when the state of the house gets in the way of relationships (either because I’m stressed out and yelling at my kids or because I won’t open the door to friends) then it’s time to catch up on a bit of cleaning.

  3. What beautiful encouragement! I used to feel guilty about the undecorated, spider-webs-in-the-corners state of my house–but then I realized that the time I have to have fun and build memories with my kids is really short. I can clean cobwebs later!

    • Exactly. I treasure the memories I’m making with my kids. None of us will remember the cobwebs or undecorated front porch in 10 years, but we’ll remember laughing and chasing each other around the front yard. Being able to see the clutter and imperfection of my house as evidence of motherhood done right was so liberating.

      Thanks for letting me encourage you.

  4. “It sure is noisy in here.” Yesterday, my kids were acting crazy and getting overly excited about something. They started yelling over each other and laughing. I told my husband at least they are happy. We must be doing something right! I’m reminding myself that now as the noise level keeps getting higher and higher!

    • When it gets too noisy I’ve learned to grab the remote and turn the volume down. It helps. I also slip out to the front porch and sit for a few minutes when I really need a break.

      But sometimes, I just wish my kids had a volume knob. They live life at a crazy-loud pace that takes my breath away. Then I remember how thankful I am and how amazing their passion for life really is. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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