Mothers vs. Chaos
A Creative Approach
by Julia Fairchild
Mother’s Day is upon us again……I love Mother’s Day. I send my kids to their dad. I get to be a mother every day….I take Mother’s Day OFF! I actually used to hate Mother’s Day. It’s always on Sunday, you know, and I used to go to church and feel guilty about all those polished, shiny kids sitting next to their polished. shiny moms, and picturing the polished. shiny homes they left behind. I could even smell the pot roast simmering in the oven for Sunday Dinner.
My home has seldom been polished or shiny. Not like I don’t try, but my kids aren’t even one bit interested in doing their chores. Take yesterday, for example……three of my boys are home-schooled, so they were busy doing their projects all day. David was in the back yard, building a catapult. I had tried to get him to build a new set of stairs for my front deck, but after using the Pythagorean theorum to determine how much lumber it would take, and how much it would cost, he determined it would cost more money for the wood than I had yet. Instead, he used what money I did have to buy two-by-fours and dry-wall screws and a hinge to make his catapult. He hadn’t mopped the kitchen floor in two days, he had been so busy building……I tried to get him to do it, but who can interrupt a passionate woodworker? Ben was supposed to vacuum the living room, but he spent every moment of his day writing scholarship essays and doing homework and volunteering for community service…..who can argue with that?
I once made a study of how people keep their houses polished and shiny. I actually visited a neighbor whose house was always immaculate, and who always had every hair in place. She had a smooth pageboy hairdo, and it was always smooooooth. I wondered how she did it, so I visited her. The whole time I was there, she never put her rag down. She polished the counters, and under the fruit bowl, and the sink, and she was constantly picking up things. Of course there wasn’t much to pick up, because she wouldn’t let the kids (she had raucous twin boys) in the house. They came over to my house, with my boys, and poked holes in my son’s waterbed with a pin……but her house was Neat and Clean.
I decided then and there that I could spend my whole life keeping my house clean, and that’s what it would take….all day, every day, picking up and polishing. But then, people would come to my funeral, and mess up my house, and my life would have been lived in VAIN.
I’m sometimes embarrassed when friends or an occasional client come to my home, and they have to kick their way to the bathroom. But then I realize that if I had cleaned my house, I couldn’t have seen the last client that kicked their way through there…..so which is more important? I spend a lot of time in volunteer services and writing and reading, and working with my boys on their projects, and other joyful endeavors that keep me from polishing or vacuuming very often. People at my house eat when they’re hungry, and all my kids know how to cook healthy food for themselves. The dishes get done at least once a day, almost every day. We do laundry when we don’t have anything left to wear, but the truth is, we live in a holy mess.
I was gratified, then to read that holiness IS messy. While there must of course be a healthy balance between order and chaos, I read that "somewhere between the ancient and modern definitions of chaos is the place you find creativity. Chaos is a useful concept in many areas. Piaget saw it as the starting point of education. Scientists are using it as a new way to describe certain forms or systems in nature and business people are learning to ride the wave of chaos into exciting new patterns of commerce." See "Chaos is Necessary for Creativity" by J. Orlin Grabbe @www.globalideasbank.org So, I’ll tell the whole world. My house is often a mess. I value joyful endeavors more than pristine order. If that makes anyone else feel better, I’ve done my good deed for the day.