Thankful for a Dirty House

I saw a quote the other day: “If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then why do I clean my house?” Am I right? I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like they are going insane trying to keep their house clean. I have four children, two dogs, and a cat who constantly keep me busy.

But something hit me this morning as I was looking around: a dirty house means I have something to be thankful for.


Let me explain. Currently in my living room are about 5-6 blankets/quilts and all my dining room chairs. Last night my boys made a fort to sleep in. On the one hand, I have a mess. On the other hand, I have two active, imaginative boys. Which view do I choose? I choose the fact that I have two wonderful boys who will grow up to be amazing men. I am thankful for this.

I also have a bunch of dirty dishes, half which came from my oldest daughter who loves to experiment and cook: chocolate chips mixed with nutella and peanut butter with a handful of marshmallows thrown in for good measure. Sometimes she can drive me nuts with her kitchen experiments (which are not all sanctioned by me).

But seen in a different light, I realize I am the mother of a little girl who may grow up to be a famous baker (or just make some man a very happy husband with her cooking). I am thankful I have a daughter, and her messes remind that she is a unique gift given to me by God.

Leaves all over the yard? A memory of jumping in the biggest pile of leaves. Hair on the couch? I have two great dogs and a cat. A pile of dirty laundry next to the bed? I have a husband, who all though isn’t the tidiest person in the world, has the biggest and most forgiving heart, and doesn’t shriek when I put my cold feet on him (at least not much ;)).

I could have a clean, dazzling, can-eat-right-off-the-linoleum-floor house, where the towels are perfectly folded and the food cans are lined up in alphabetical order. But there would be no family, no kids, no life.

Instead, there are paw prints on my newly washed floor, missing flowers out front, now decorating my girls’ room. Tree branches broken, and turned into swords. Little fingerprints on white doors.

To some these would be marks on the house, something to be cleaned. And sometimes they do need to be cleaned (toothpaste all over the counter can get to me sometimes). But instead of seeing the mess, I choose to see life. Life lives in this house. Happy, joyful life. Memories are left. Someday the wall will be clean, the carpet perfect. But for now, they are marks of life. And I am thankful for that.

3 thoughts on “Thankful for a Dirty House”

  1. 🙂 And seriously, your oldest daughter must have influenced Sam somehow when he was little, because he is constantly “creating” in the kitchen…in the yard…under his bed.

  2. This year my youngest brother graduates high school. (He’s the youngest of six.) My mom’s house is clean. There’s no fingerprints on the doors. It’s quiet. She laments it. (Fortunately the teenagers all hang out at the house so it’s really noisy at night.) But she’s made it to the second and third decade. I’m still beginning my first. It doesn’t last forever. It just seems like it, sometimes.

  3. What a wonderful post. I thought that I was the only person who saw a home well lived in when there were children and animals. My son is grown and on his own, married and a child due in Jan. Also, dirty dishes show that there is no hunger in that home. Thank you for sharing, have a wonderful week 😉

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