23 Jun 2014

For the days you got nothing done

I didn’t get around to the laundry this weekend.



The boys’ hamper is overflowing. Literally. There is an assortment of super heroes all gazing up at me forlornly from the bedroom floor. There is an epic battle between the Legos raging on the run down dresser I’ve been meaning to paint for months now– headless horsemen by the hundred.


I didn’t get around to cleaning the kitchen or re-organizing the kid’s play area. There are boxes I meant to sort through and toys I meant to pitch and they’re all still lining the hallway higgledy piggeldy.

There is grass that didn’t get cut and the three lawn chairs we’ve been meaning to move from the garage back onto the deck for weeks. They’re still trapped among the cobwebs. Along with the patio umbrella.


I didn’t find that missing library book – the one I can’t even remember checking out.

I didn’t make a list of summer activities or pick up the ballet shoes I meant to order a couple weeks ago. I didn’t buy that twin bed sheet that is long overdue for a boy whose bed needs as much help in the freshness department as possible.

I meant to pick up the wild collection of plastic weapons that decorate our front lawn because we’re the house in the neighborhood that hosts the armies of kids who use the back yard as their battlefield. But they’re all still out there. A weird polka dots of plastic blues, oranges, yellows and reds.

And there are socks by the dozen that still aren’t matched.

I had to call Peter tonight to warn him what he was coming home to, because that level of chaos can quite take the breath away.

So I told him what we did do.

I told him that we danced tonight.


Three bare-chested children to the wail of South African anthems beat their chests and their drums and their feet to the music as their mom watched to the beat of her own busting heart.

There was cutting of paper that left a rainbow trail across the dining room and into the kitchen. There were purple glue sticks and improvised drum sticks. There were shoes and shirts tried on and discarded and repurposed and then left again in all the places they shouldn’t have been.

It was loud. And we feasted on cheese and crackers and each other.

Some days, most days, the list of chores is long and it needs to get done because we need to be ready and organized for the week. So we go, go, go and we do, do, do and there isn’t always room for dancing.

But some days? Some days I wipe everything off the list and put my feet up on the sofa and crank up the music. Because some days I remember I’m more than the house cleaner in this joint. Some days I remember that I’m a joy bringer.

I’m a dance partner.

I’m a drum aficionado.

I’m a candy lover.

I’m an artist-in-residence.

I’m a renaissance mom if I want to be to the three tiny humans I’m raising.

And by gosh, some nights that means there won’t be clean dishes.

…but there will be dancing.


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    What a glorious day!

  2. 2

    This is beautiful! You are a wonderful Mama. I’m sure your hubby was happy with your choice to dance and find joy in your children. Those are the days they will remember and cherish – not the perfectly clean house and laundry that is always done. Thank you for this reminder, that no matter how long we have been parents, we seem to forget sometimes!

  3. 3

    So I get to the end with a tear in my eye, and say out loud, “I wish Lisa-Jo was my neighbor. I need this kind of encouragement like every day.” And then I realize, that’s what you’re able to do, with this blog. You’re being my neighbor, my encouraging, understanding, telling it like it really is neighbor. So just a huge Thank You!!!

    • 4

      I agree! I really needed this today…and everyday, really. As a new mom, I feel like it’s so tempting to spend all your time stressing out over all the things you haven’t accomplished. Thank you for the encouragement and perspective from a seasoned mama :). Blessings.

  4. 5

    Love this so much. My “to-do” list is growing exponentially, our laundry basket is full again (I swear I just did all of the laundry…). And I had a hard time looking up from my “to-do’s” to just be with my kids today. Tomorrow is a new day!

  5. 6

    After just cleaning up all of the toys and wiping tears from feeling tired and down, I read your post. Tears streaming for another reason now–feeling the permission in your words and in my heart to let go and be me with my son. Thank you.

  6. 7

    I’m almost crying. I needed to hear that so much, we did not dance today, I was not a renaissance mom today, quite the opposite, but tomorrow is a new day, and this post will be running through my mind. Thank you :)

  7. 8

    “Because some days I remember I’m more than the house cleaner in this joint. Some days I remember that I’m a joy bringer.” Yes. So much. Lisa-Jo, you are gifted with giving mamas freedom. I’m sure it’s not always an easy road for you to get their yourself, but by pulling back the layers, both beautiful and broken, from your own life, you allow us, me, to say Yes! and be more free. Thank you.

  8. 9

    Too often I ignored that urge to dance when my kids were little. I’m trying hard not to miss it with the grandkids. Wise move, mom. The other stuff isn’t going away, but those kids do grow up and leave and have kids of their own.

    When my son was 9 and sick, we moved out to a tiny cabin on a near-by lake for the summer. And for subsequent summers. He got better –healthwise and at knee boarding and solem (sp.)(one ski) skiing. Their friends came out and there were lots of games played together. The playing together, whether on a boat or at a board game, is important. I see both my kids doing the same with their kids, so all that playing must have been right. :>)

  9. 10

    Love this, I could use some more dancing!!

  10. 11

    Love this! Yesterday I realised I chose ‘busy’ by birthing four spunky gorgeous girls. I could’ve chosen busy doing other things. So I feel like I’m really spending myself, long days filled with so many small yet significant things,but when I finally get to your blogs I love the encouragement on my journey. And I’m learning to laugh more, rest more in Him and choose to ignore the billion things to do and just hang out with my girls. Thanks for sharing xx

  11. 12

    Joy bringer. Dancing.
    Love it!

  12. 13

    I love this. Truly. I can sometimes go round and round with myself, about the state of my house. But we clear the to-dos every night at 6:30 so we can have what we call Family Time–an hour painting or dancing or drawing or writing or playing games or creating music together. We may not have dusted in months, but we have masterpieces hanging our walls and binders full of children’s poetry and a whole repertoire of dance moves we wouldn’t show in public, ever. I like to believe those are the moments my children will remember, not that our carpets were always clean or our bookshelves never showed the slightest bit of dust or that our beds were made and linens folded just so. Thank you for your beautiful words.

  13. 14

    I needed to be reminded of this today. Lately, I have felt too much like nothing more than a house cleaner and that is a dangerous lie. I, too, am a joy bringer. Thank you for the beautiful reminder! ~ B

  14. 15

    Awesome! And same goes for this household so shame off us! And let’s go enjoy those wonderful children!

  15. 16

    Oh so beautiful! Brought tears to my eyes!

  16. 17

    This made me smile. Huge. Because today was our first official day of summer break and right in the middle of it we danced. We danced around the toys left out. We tried not to knock over the 6 foot tower that Ethan made out of blocks. We danced and we sang and we laughed and we watched movies. And I now have piles upon piles of laundry (folded, so there’s that!) in my room, because little heads hit the pillows before I could get them all put away.
    It was perfection!
    So, thanks for this. Love to you, Lisa-Jo. Happy summer to you and your sweet family!!!


  1. […] tonight, when we tumble back into bed, and wonder what we got done today, may we hear your words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” and be […]

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