The stomach bug, a messy house, and loving myself despite it all

I came down with a nasty stomach bug on Christmas morning.  Not too much of a surprise, since I was down on sleep due to all the Christmas shopping and wrapping, and had been eating lots of chocolates and other sweets that invade our lives at this time of year.  My life and my health were out of balance.  Usually, all it takes is Kombucha (fermented sweet tea with lots of probiotics) to keep me healthy.  I drink it religiously, a 16-ounce bottle every day. My husband says I never get sick, but this time the nasty stomach bug got me.

My oldest daughter came down with it on Christmas Eve.  And in the middle of the night, I awoke to the sounds of vomiting.  Two of my boys also now officially have the stomach bug.  My life is really out of balance now.  I've been up much of the night scrubbing vomit out of the carpet (which is way too old and really needs to get ripped up, especially now.)  There have been vomit-stained sheets and clothes to wash, toilets to scrub, and counters to disinfect.  And then there were the wake-up calls by my 6-year-old with Down syndrome who still doesn't know how to throw up in a bucket yet and needs me to direct him, and to wipe him down, and to change his pull-up.

Somewhere in between all of this cleaning up, I found time to read an article on relationships.  It mentioned that in order to have a great love relationship, we need to love ourselves, flaws and all.  So what does this have to do with the stomach bug and a messy house?  I have been a messy housekeeper for as long as I can remember.  I also grew up in a house that was messy and cluttered.  I do feel shame about this.  The stomach bug brings this flaw out in the light and it's like I am looking at it through a magnifying glass.  If only you were a better housekeeper, then this nasty stomach bug wouldn't have invaded your house and all would be well.  If only you had used Lysol more or kept the counters and the floors disinfected all the time, then this wouldn't have happened.

The truth is that I don't like this part of myself but how do I love this part of myself?  I always said to myself that playing with the kids on the floor was more important than having an immaculate kitchen.  And I still believe this.  Yet, I still have shame that my house is not company ready on most days.  Still, I do believe that I do a good job of pouring love into my five children and making time for them, and making each of them feel special.  Yet, in the housekeeping area, I feel like a failure.

My husband grew up in an immaculate home.  My MIL was born organized, and keeping a tidy and extremely neat home comes easy to her.   The polar opposite of me.  Yet, I let my kids play with play dough, and I'm fairly sure she wouldn't allow it in her home.  I let my 12-year-old daughter bake a Christmas cake from scratch (no box mixes).  She is a purist and didn't think a box mix would be a real cake.  She did create a mess in the kitchen and my mother and I had to help her clean it up.  But, she got to be creative and make something and there is such joy in creation.  I truly believe this down to my core.  So, there, I admit it.  I would rather create something, even if it involves mess making, then have a spotless house that would look good in a magazine.  So why am I ashamed of the mess?

This is a question I am going to have to ponder.  Because I believe that loving myself, flaws and all, is something that I really want to do at this time of my life.  I am going to start by reading a book by Brene Brown called "The Gift of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are."  I should have some time between cleaning up vomit.  Let me know if you have read this book.  Also, let me know if you struggle with keeping a neat home.  And if so if this makes you feel badly about yourself.  I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback.


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