Confession: I have entire rooms in my house that you’ve never even had a peek at.
Why? Well, because I don’t like revealing “imperfect” rooms.
Don’t get me wrong: there are no perfect rooms in my house. There are way too many little sticky fingers and tired mamas (well, just one; no sister-wives here) around for that. And I never want you to believe otherwise. Which is why I shared a rather unconventional house tour with you and why I show you pictures of my laundry room overflowing.
But I do have a mental block about revealing an entire room if I haven’t gotten it just how I like it. Of course, the truth is that there is only maybe one room in my house that is “just how I like it.” (And that includes the ones that I got just so for 2 seconds, only to have them get messy again 2 seconds later).
All the other ones are in a pretty constant state of half-decorated, half-cleaned, and very lived in. And with a blogosphere bursting with prettiness, with creativity, with downright brilliance in the home decor department, it feels more than a bit intimidating to offer up anything less than my best, closest-thing-my-meager-photography-and-styling-skills-can-get-to-magazine-perfect effort.
Which is why my room reveal rate has slowed down to a tiny trickle of about one per year. There’s just always something else that ends up being more important than getting that last little thing painted or hung or styled just so.
Which is where Project Elephant came in. The idea was to break down these big projects (home-related or otherwise) into small, bite-sized, weekly tasks until—TADA!—the whole thing got done. And it’s worked beautifully in many ways. Flowerbeds got overhauled. Plate walls got hung. Fabric art got finished. Pictures got hung. Closets got cleaned. Ottomans got recovered.
But if I’m honest, even one project a week on top of the usual daily madness of diaper-changing and cooking and cleaning and blogging and nose-wiping and homeschooling and story-reading and baby-bathing and photographing and photo-editing and exercise-class teaching and grocery shopping and Bible studying and husband-interacting and…well, you get the idea…
Sometimes, even that one little extra project each week is too much. It just doesn’t get done. And that frustrates me. Sometimes, it’s my fault because I’m just too “lazy” to force myself to paint something during naptime instead of just sitting still for 30 minutes. Sometimes, it’s my husband’s “fault” because he gives me a day off when that was the one day I had time to ______________ (you name it, it probably needs doing around here). Sometimes, it’s sickness (Evy and Simon have gotten sick this week after I thought/hoped/prayed that we were finally out of the flu woods). Sometimes, it’s a massive traffic jam of tiny little LIFE details like needing to drive out of my way to sign the boys up for soccer (because, of course, they won’t let me do it online or over the phone) or do store returns or go to a play date.
I’m sure most of you know just how I feel, but sometimes when I see perfect rooms on blogs or Instagram, I have to remind myself that almost none of those bloggers have 3-5 small children at home with them almost constantly. It’s not an excuse or a complaint or a criticism. It’s a reality check.
I have lots of imperfect little people who have a very imperfect mother, and we all live together in this not-at-all-surprisingly imperfect house.
So, just like I got over myself to post some pictures of me that I didn’t love, I’m getting over my blogworld-perfect inhibitions and showing you our unfinished, unstyled, un-perfect upstairs sitting room.
Yes, I have big plans for it. And no, it’s not because I feel like everything in my house needs to be magazine-worthy all the time (or ever) but because I genuinely enjoy sprucing my nest—especially when I don’t let the specter of perfection perch in the back of my mind like some vulture just waiting to swoop in and pick at the carcass of my best efforts until nothing is left but words like Failure and Not Good Enough.
Honestly, I had no intention of saying all of this today. I was just going to share a half-finished room, with the caveat that I had plans to make it better.
But, honestly, I want even more truth—in my blog, in my life—this year. No, I’m not going to show you pictures of my sink full of dirty dishes on a regular basis. But yes, they’re there, and I’m constantly working on them. And yes, I did put the toys away, straighten the pillows, and sweep before I took these pictures (it all needed to be done anyway). But I get too many comments when I post a picture of my bed-head on Instagram, for example (and by too many, I mean ANY) that go something like, “I’m so glad you shared this; it’s nice to know you’re actually human.”
We can’t have that, y’all. I am so very human. I am fallen. I am in desperate need of a Savior. And I am so glad I serve a God who doesn’t require perfection (quite the opposite) before I limp before His throne and lay down my exhaustion and my frustrations and my laziness and my whininess and my all-encompassing inadequacy.
I’m not going to stop plugging along. I will keep taking chomps out of my elephants, even when it feels like I’ve been chewing on the same bite for months. But please don’t ever confuse my dogged refusal to give up (no matter how tempted I am some days) with perfection or even its 3rd cousin’s second wife’s aunt.
I’d really much rather just be imperfect and overcoming anyway by the grace of God with the rest of you guys.