Troubleshooting a broken printer… shaking ink cartridges to eek more life out of them… ink splattering all over the floor.

Baking cookies… bumping the mixer’s ON switch accidentally… flour billowing everywhere.

Washing piles of dishes… soaking a pan… running water all over the counter instead of down into the sink.

life unmasked basement stairs laundryDirty laundry… piled at the foot of the basement stairs… under the little boy’s “trap.”

Coats, shoes, school backpacks, papers… discarded in trails from the door to the far reaches of the house.

Tissues… Used… Piled up on the couch instead of thrown in the trash.

These are my normal everyday messes. I sweep them into closets, throw them into baskets, strategically aim my camera view finder, and hide them behind locked doors.

Why?

I tell myself it’s because I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable (or disgusted) in my home.  I tell myself that it’s part of practicing good hospitality to tidy and clean.

That is true.

It is also true that I don’t want you to know how we really live. That I am comfortable stepping over coats, shoes, dirty tissues, and tissues for days on end. I don’t want you to think that I’m a bad keeper of my home (to use the fancy word for housekeeping). I care too much what you think when you enter this home, but I care too little what my family thinks, even though they live here 24/7.

I need to change my why.

I want to create a comfortable and comforting space here because I care about my family, not because I want to play a role for people who come in once every few weeks. Certainly my family won’t be comfortable if I magically transform into Martha Stewart (which is impossible, but the point is making appropriate goals).

I’ve seen my children and my husband visibly relax when things are put away each day. I feel better when I can’t see dog fur, tree leaves, and breakfast crumbs all over my floors. I am trying to change my motivation for cleaning our space, from keeping up appearances to caring for my family. It’s taking time, but it’s a much healthier perspective for me. It allows for all of us to be sick and the work to pile up. It provides room for me to teach my children and let them do it imperfectly while they learn. It puts the right pressure on me.

Today we’re writing life:unmasked, pulling down our life-is-perfect facades and sharing the real struggles, the real battles in our hearts and homes. In that honesty comes encouragement in knowing we are not alone. In opening up, we can help one another in real practical ways. If you have written unmasked this week, please share the direct URL in the linky below. Then please visit and comment on at least 2 other unmasked posts – let us rally around one another and hold each other up this week (and every week).