What’s not obvious…cleaning that’s done vs. not done. Attempting work with cheerfulness.

I do a lot of cleaning; more so since we’re always home since March of this year. It is a wonder how much crumbs (from cookie debris to dried pieces of rice) accumulate on the floor by the end of the day. Spills are also big at our house, so mopping the floor is a daily thing too. What’s not obvious about this physical labor is its effects.

If I don’t scrub, mop, sweep, wipe down, wash, and/ or organize, it’s apparent that the living space is messy. The half eaten apple with tiny teeth marks has turned brown and empty milk box with chocolate milk dripping on the side stands proudly on the kitchen counter. I say “proudly” because kids feel that bringing their dirty plates and leftovers to the counter is a big deal. I have to get them to the next step of cleaning up their dirty dishes and other things.

However, this is the crazy part; straight up baffling! If our living space is clean and orderly, it goes unnoticed except for me.

But the hardwood floors get a lot of cleaning since someone drops or spills something on the floor: everyday. Last night Elliot dropped a raw egg on the floor, which splat everywhere. It would be a good learning experience to make him clean up the mess, yet I couldn’t have him handling a raw egg and creating more of a disaster than the initial one.

I’ve been decluttering for years and I’ve made some progress since I can (more so) find what I’m looking for; I call that serious improvement. 🙂 I knew things had to change when someone would ask me for something and I’d dig into an abyss of crap…I mean stuff…and locate it without even looking at it. I was the only person who could locate the object  and that meant more work for me.

My decluttering now incorporates finding a specific home for our commonly used items (ex. nail clippers, hairbrush, kitchen towels, disposable utensils from take outs, stream of school supplies, Lego galore, paper towels, among others): but designating a specific home for random things is mentally taxing.

If I haven’t used the object in questions for the past 5 years, I toss it, reluctantly. It’ll stick around another five years if I don’t willfully remove it. The best time to do this is when I’m mad and less emotional about holding onto sentimental items. So if you hear papers shuffling, closet doors closing and opening, and the crinkling sounds of garbage bag…that’s me letting out steam. I also eat green peas by the spoonful when I’m upset.

Although cleaning goes unnoticed and doesn’t feel like an earth moving chore, but I remind myself that it fulfills a bigger purpose to create a harmonious space for our family to grow and live. I wish there was more acknowledgement but whatever. I tell myself that God notices, which is the best recognition, and that I’m doing this to keep my sanity intact too. This is my labor of love, just like Chris sits at his desk and replies to emails for hours (once he’s done responding, he has to reply to the responses). ack!

“And it is not necessary to have great things to do. I turn my little omelette in the pan for the love of God.” Brother Lawrence

I love this quote from Brother Lawrence, because it shows that even flipping a food in the pan is an act of worship if we make it that. I haven’t personally read his works, but I learned about him through another writer where the “omelette” quote made a deep impression on me. He lived and died over 300 years ago, but his words still inspire that tasks which seem menial are not. He joined the monastery after getting injured as a soldier and his work mainly dealt with cooking and doing other tiring tasks for others in the monastery.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23

I saw this plant at the SF Botanical Garden June 2020, and thought that a smaller version of this spiky thing would make a perfect toilet bowl brush.

So hard to be a mom

This is just some random thoughts about motherhood as I’m laying in bed unable to fall asleep.

It’s tough to be a fun, likeable, and patient mom a lot of times. To be like that most of the time is almost impossible.

I have unreasonable expectations of myself that I need to be this way and that as a mom. How do others make it seem so effortless?! Is it so?!

I’m feeling particularly vulnerable tonight with a cough that hurts my chest and feeling exhausted from arguing/ disagreeing with my 8-year-old son about daily life issies: fighting with his sister, who does what first, why does mommy do this or that, it’s not fair, I wish you’d, etc. All my insecurities surface and I blame myself for the these conflicts.

I know tomorrow will be a better day as I recover from this cold and begin fresh. A solution to this may be shifting my mindset that it’s inevitable that I’ll let my kids down. This is just a part of life, being human, and growing from mistakes. Whew…it’s hard stuff: growing pains for both kids and parents.

I try to remember that they are only young once and I try to enjoy this time. But when you’re in the thick of it with kids testing your limits and finding theirown personalities, you just want to be left alone to eat a whole bag of chocolate/ chips/ tub of ice cream in the comfort of a dark closet in the most stretchy pants ever.

Thanks for reading this far! I tried to write a bright and happy post because Christmas is a day away, and I didn’t want to be a party pooper. But I couldn’t. My heart is not there.

I’ll get in the spirit soon as I recover and have a long reconciling talk with my son tomorrow. Now I need to get some rest. Feeling better after I’ve shared. Thanks for reading!

Have a great Christmas eve and stay well during the holiday hustle and bustle!

My carvings temporarily on hold for now


Carving an identity for myself as a stay- at- home homeschooling mom has been filled with both joy and pain,  although the latter comprises more of my experiences. When little beings entered my life,  life as I know it suddenly eliminated me as Esther. I became known as mommy or so and so’s mommy to others. This new position threw me serious physical challenges: extreme sleep deprivation, constipation from not getting enough bathroom time,  and hands turning to sandpaper from washing too many bottles,  dishes, and mess- loving kids. 

Carving anything now has to do with model clay or pumpkins. However, one deliberate attempt I make to carve my own space is through blogging. They refer to it as “mommy’s work,” so I at least get 20 minutes of no little fingers poking me for attention.  

These experiences help me realize that while I was growing up my parents must have sacrificed a lot of their time,  resources,  and energy for me.  They tried to provide me creative spaces conducive for carving my interests and identity,  whether my attempts amounted to anything or not. I didn’t see it that way then and assumed they weren’t doing enough.  But finding myself in their shoes is teaching me otherwise. 

For the time being I think my job is to provide a space of exploration and discovery so my little people can begin to carve their own lives. I must stay focused on the goal and to remember to carve together…I still have lots of carving left to do myself.