23 January 2011

why i never complain about muddy footprints

Greetings all,
Ever have comments & thoughts which play on your mind & stick in your memory??  I want to share some wisdom from my late teens & early 20s. 
One incredibly important facet of part time jobs when you're in your teens, is learning to work with different people, from all walks of life, at a variety of ages & stages in their lives.  While i was at Uni & about to take on the world . . . 
I worked in retail with an immaculate, well travelled lady in her 40s.  She talked of state dinners in Washington, her children's nanny in London & exotic holidays in the Pacific.  Alas, she was serving behind the same counter as me.  Her husband's high flying international business went bankrupt & the only property the bank couldn't take, was an apartment in Sydney.  The only job either of them could get, was her working at a department store.  She was humble, positive & grateful for everything, above all, she still had her marriage & her children. 
She filled me with all sorts of incredible advice on non material things like relationships . . . 'address the petty issues before they fill you with resentment' & maintain the romance, 'even with children, show them you love each other, light candles every night & kiss often'.  It made me notice it was exactly how my parents were with each other & how i wanted to be.  It's how my marriage started & continues!!  The word 'resentment' is incredibly powerful & . . . a waste of time.
Another memorable influence was the wife of the Family Circle magazine Husband of the Year 2001 (my husband, Mr NT was a runner up, the winner, Mr Qld was hard to beat, already a father of 4 & a fireman, say no more!!)  Anyway, his beautiful wife & i were talking about motherhood.  She said, 'i never complain about muddy footprints, my friend just lost a child & the last thing she can remember saying was "don't run through the house leaving muddy footprints" & then, he was gone . . . she wishes she still had muddy footprints to mop up'.  That has haunted me & ruled my ethos that yes, children can be messy, but nothing a mop can't fix at the end of the day. 
Last night my twins were invited to a 9y.o. birthday party.  I had 3 hours with the other children, 25km from home.  Rather than driving back & forth, i took them swimming then out for an early dinner of calamari & chips, which we ate at the Mt Pleasant Look Out.  It's fabulous up there, views of Canberra from the airport to Parliament House to the Telstra Tower.  A storm rolled in & it started to rain, my children were in swim suits & towels anyway, so . . .   
 they jumped in puddles . . .
 over & over . . .
 ran around the walls . . .
 & pointed out the rainbows!!  So glad we stayed out to experience this.  The laughter was deafening & i was out in the rain enjoying it too.
 We came home, late & exhausted (the party girl's mummy wanted to chat, i was available to listen!!)  I had children to run through showers to clean off chlorine & face paint + we had a guest, so the lounge room is a sleep-over make-over & guess what, the floor is covered in muddy footprints!!  Do i care, no, i love it, they tell a story . . . 'we're free, we have friends, we've had fun & our mum let's us jump in puddles in the rain'.  The floors can be mopped later, AFTER our guest has gone, everyone is in bed & i can walk around spotless floors on a Sunday night, kiss my happy able bodied children tucked up in their beds, then look forward to another week of active children & their muddy footprints. 
 I often hear mothers talk of obsessive cleaning "i have OCD" & perfect homes "it's the perfectionist in me, i can't help it".  Could you possibly put more pressure on yourselves??  Trying to make your surrounds perfect is because you're not happy with something inside you.  You're also teaching your children these behaviours.  They are your audience, they notice, they'll copy, they'll stress.   
My children are taught respect for property & to be tidy, our house is always squared away, we keep things simple & uncluttered.  Sometimes you still get muddy footprints.  I'm house proud but don't kill myself cleaning daily, we don't use antibacterial hand wash & my children never get sick.  Guess what people notice when they visit . . . clean floors or fun, relaxed, interesting, enjoyable children??!!  Who are we really trying to impress??  Our husbands, our girlfriends, ourselves, or our children??
Have lovely Sundays everyone, i hope they're filled with muddy footprints.  I'm sewing, baking, playing with children all day so i can spend my evening, you guessed it, mopping & steaming those floors, i'll love it!!  Love Posie

UPDATE: auctions now ending at 9p.m. on Monday 24th January & raffles
now ending at midday on Wednesday 26th January.  Thanks for your support in raising over $600 at this little Posie blog so far, keep those generous donations coming!!  For more auctions & raffles, go to Make it Perfect, Queenslanders are feeling the love.  Oprah has told you to support it too.  Did you know during the few hours after her first Oprah Australia Adventure show went to air, the public donations increased from $100M to $120M??  Did you also notice she has weather perfection everywhere she went??  Her amazing positive power is out of this world!!

24 comments:

Rebecca said...

Could you possibly put more pressure on yourselves??

So true...sometimes you just gotta let it all go!

m.e (Cathie) said...

what can I say, perfect post, absolutely perfect!
i live by that motto & am very relaxed because after you lose someone in your life you realise that we are only here for a short time, let's enjoy it & show our little people that they matter.

well said Ms Posie. Muddy footprints & puddles all the way ♥

Thea said...

What a beautiful post that we can all learn from. x

Sally said...

A fabulous post Jen. BRAVO! My approach, in relation to the mundane topic of floors, is to never clean the floors before friends with children arrive. Why bother? They'll be dirty within five seconds flat and if I can reassure my friends that the floors haven't been cleaned they can sit down and relax and have a cuppa with me rather than stressing about their own children mucking up my place. When I do clean my floors I try to find a time when I know we aren't having company and my kids are likely to be out and about - that way I can sit in peace and enjoy some serenity and a clean floor... for at least half an hour anyway ;)

Heidi said...

You are such an amazing Mom up here it's snowy prints!

The Clip Cafe said...

Bringing it all home Posie! Thank you!!

TammyJ said...

A gorgeous post Jrnnie. I was thinking in this vein yesterday when we popped in to say adios to our old neighbour and invite him over to see our garden. He commented as we related tales of our new home 'wow you haven't really just moved to a bigger place you have actually changed your lifestyle.' Bingo. We are living new experiences every day.

TammyJ said...

Sorry about the name typo. I only saw it as my post disappeared.

Mon Alisa Design said...

Oh Posie. this is such a wonderful post! Thankyou x

Caz (The Truth About Mummy) said...

Oh yes so true. I think when I'm feeling stressed myself I tend to get a bit OCD - but when you're renovating it's all pretty messy :O)

Frog, Goose and Bear said...

Great post - jumping in muddy puddles is what life is all about!

Tina said...

Love, love, love this post. made me smile, made me cry, made me smile again...you speak so much sense dear Posie! Happy Sunday lovely lady ~ Txx

littlebetty said...

And my post today is about mopping floors! http://littlebettydesigns.blogspot.com/2011/01/sad-sunday.html
Too funny!
I totally agree with you in relation to balance and priorities. Kids need to play in the rain sometimes.

Jennie said...

A few weeks ago while we were having tea it started to rain. Our toddler was exclaiming over the rain and saying "all done", so we put on his parka and gumboots and let him go play int he rain halfway through the meal. It was nice to put aside rules in favour of experiences.

I think it's a bit much to say women who keep their homes spotless are unhappy with themselves - some people simply arrange their lives that way and live with no less joy than you or me. It's like when people say real women have curves, when naturally thin women have just as much right to that title.

Tammi said...

What a wonderful and heartwarming post.
Here's to muddy footprints!!
xx

Simone said...

Sounds like a wonderfu day Jennie! I agree I like a clean house but also know its important not to go overboard after having an OCD mother who used to strip the sheets off the bed while we were still in them! I xx

Christina said...

Such wise words indeed. We do put a lot of pressure on ourselves in so many areas. I remember being told that only boring women have perfectly clean houses.

Although I must admit that I need a clean space in order to be creative, luckily I find cleaning very calming. Most of the time. But the floors, well, like Thea's, they are only clean for half an hour tops!

:)

Felicity said...

Of the many people whom I've had the pleasure to meet in this lovely blogging village, you are most definitely one of my most sparkly treasures.

Your wisdom, compassion, huge heart, intelligence and creativity are gifts which you share with grace and generosity.

I thank you for the gifts contained in today's post and know, like many others that I've read from you, that the words will resonate for a long time and be shared with many.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and all that it holds for you. Biggest of hugs,

Felicity x

Piper + Lily said...

Hmmm, at least ow I know I'm doing somehingright, you should see my floors... :)

Miss Prudence said...

So well put Posie,I cheered all the way !!!
I just gave my sister the experience of "living boho" ie chilled and not wiping the counter all the time,\. I am sure she was truly amazed how I failed to see the mess that was everywhere and just enjoying the moment. (She is proud of the ocd badge! God love her!)

I jsut looked and laughed : I have "chalk dust footprints
through the hall!

PS I remember smooching in cars as a teen up at Mt Pleasant heee hee, you mean their is a view up there!? LOL

Christie, Describe Happy said...

Very well written and exactly how I view life even with just the mister and the pup. I'd rather us do something to encourage laughter and silliness and worry about the floors later! Have a great day!

TwoByTwo said...

What a FANTASTIC post!! You never know what tomorrow will hold so make sure you enjoy today everyone! Thanks for reminding us Posie. :)

TwoByTwo said...

What a FANTASTIC post!! As they say, you never know what tomorrow will hold so make sure you enjoy today everyone! Thanks for reminding us Posie. :)

basil said...

thank you for this post - just reading it as I sit down for the first time in the day looking after three little ones whilst hubby away for the week. Have been yelling at them most of the day and now feel terrible. I normally live my your motto but when I'm home by myself and have to 'hold the fort' I do stress about the little things and my stress levels rise at the slightest thing.....I will be better tomorrow because of you. Thank you. Susie