Confessions of a domestically challenged mom

Psa 113:9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.

When I first read that verse, y’all, I thought to myself: Now here’s a promise I can sink my teeth into! OK, so I am not barren. But there are areas of ‘fruit-lessness’ (a.k.a. as barrenness) in my life and keeping house is definitely one of them. Let’s just say I am domestically challenged, always have been. I am OK with the joyful mother of children part. Since I have never quite grown up myself, and I am still so much a child at heart, enjoying my kids isn’t too hard for me.

It’s that other thing. That keeping house thing. I have been particularly iffy about that lately. I have had some ‘blah’ days this week where the last thing on my want-to-do-list was housework. I have been keeping up with the bare minimum so things have not descended into absolute chaos, but some days it teeters on the edge.

Enter my does-house-cleaning-for-a-living friend. She came over to drop her son off for a visit today, and just knowing she’d be here got me going. Isn’t it funny? I did more house work this morning than I did the last two weeks combined! My friend has the philosophy that your house reflects how well it is with your soul and that a neglected house is a sign of someone who is in a bad place spiritually. I am not sure how accurate she is about that since I have some OCD friends whose lives are perfect on the outside but a mess on the inside. But anyhow, I couldn’t let her think I was in a bad way now, could I?

Let me tell you though…it feels gooooooood to have my house in order tonight. How long it will last I don’t know. My floors have already lost their pristine status now that the boys tracked dirt in after their swim and the sad thing is, they will do it again about 4 times tomorrow. And the day after.

Having an out-of-the-box thinking son who lives life at 1000 miles an hour and couldn’t be bothered with such insignificant things as clean houses doesn’t help to keep the house in order. Recently, I was dismayed to see that he had dirtied three plates just to eat one (very juicy) orange. When I asked him how he managed to do that, he answered:

“I needed three plates, mom. One to eat over, and two to put my elbows on because the juice was leaking down my arms.”

The youngest piped up: “Uhhh… juice doesn’t lick.”


I love these quirky conversations with my kids, and I love seeing what makes them tick. I am sad that there won’t be any more sweet/funny moments like that with Jenna. I regret not writing them down at the time. I remember so many times when she had all of us rolling on the floor and now I can’t recall her exact words.

I remember the times when Jenna would go on a cleaning spree with her own spray bottle and a cloth or paper towel. She loved scouting my floor or coffee table for ‘dirties’ that needed to be wiped clean. She’d spray so much water with her spray bottle though that soon the paper towel would get saturated and I would have to get her a new one. I went through more paper towels than I had intended, but who could resist indulging such a cute little cleaner?

Missing Jenna this week made me feel ‘blah’. Perhaps my friend would have been correct if she thought my house reflected my state of mind, except that it looked so much better by the time she came. It was a vicious circle this week: feeling blah, moping around, feeling more blah because I moped around and got nothing done…

The week ended with me realising that if I do not get a grip on my soul and lift it up to God, I am in danger of sinking into a depression. Depression and grief are two very different things, and the former is characterised by a prolonged feeling of despair, hopelessness and a general withdrawal from life. Grief is painful, to be sure, but grieving people generally retain their capacity to laugh and enjoy life in between the waves of sorrow. (Check out this article about the difference between grief and depression, I found it insightful)

To set your minds at ease, I do not think I am depressed. I do realise though that if I entertain certain thoughts and certain habits, and if I do not turn them over to Jesus, I could possibly head that way.

I picked up The Silver Chair from the Chronicles of Narnia series at a book sale this week and have already devoured it. (Have I told you all I love children’s books?) I was struck by the parallels to our christian lives in the book. On the high mountaintop at the end of the world, Jill has a ‘heavenly perspective’ and her mind is clear. Aslan warns her that when she goes down to Narnia though, things get a lot more muddled. It is when I open up my heart to hear from Jesus and to be close to him that things make sense and I am strengthened to carry on. It is when I surround myself exclusively with the mundane everyday struggles that life gets murky.

Like Jill, I am sometimes so foolishly hesitant to come to the mountain spring to get a good drink of his living water, but when I do I am always so glad I did.

Psa 68:9 Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.

5 responses to “Confessions of a domestically challenged mom

  1. Sumi, I just wanted to say that I love reading your journal!!! You’re so open and honest. The story of Jenna and your life thereafter has really touched me. Even when you feel like your cup is empty, you are still able to encourage and minister to so many people. Thank you for sharing your heart here. Blessings, Alicia

  2. Kenzie Stanfield


    Dear friend… I know you have commented several times on my blog and I was finally able to take a little time to go read yours. I made my way to WordPress and to your stories about Jenna… As the tears continue to flow down my face, I can only give praise to the Lord as you have lifted Him higher in this time of pain and loss instead of turning your back and walking from all that you knew. Many people have told us that indeed we had a choice in how to handle everything with Maddox, but I don’t think so. I don’t know what choice there is but to cling to the only thing, the Only One, sure and solid in this life. I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your precious girl… but I know with full confidence, as you do too, that both of our little ones are dancing with Jesus. Praise God in ALL THINGS!

    Much love and many prayers!

  3. haha, would paper plates help with those boy-adventures?? . . . helps me anyway!

  4. Ha! LOVE your son’s reasoning!

  5. Sumi,
    I can remember reading that same article several months after Payton died, wondering if I was slipping into depression. It gave me a small measure of comfort to realize that my grief, which often came in huge waves, (still does!) was completely normal. Sometimes it feels as if you’re going crazy!
    I’m thinking of you this weekend as I’m assuming this is the first Independence Day you’re celebrating without Jenna. Those first round of holidays are so tough.
    Mary Franks

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