Copyright 2016 Courtney Vallejo. All rights reserved. Copyright 2016 Courtney Vallejo. All rights reserved.

The image that you see of a crazy kitchen, that's what I woke up to this morning. Admittedly I left that mess on my countertop last night. I was just too tired at the end of the day to clean. My husband had worked late and I thought it would be a good chance to get to bed early. I had thought maybe he'd come home and do the dishes. Really, what was I thinking? He'd already worked late, and I thought he was going to come home and start doing dishes!

Does anyone remember the story of the Elves and the Shoemaker? Every night the elves would sneak in and make shoes for the Shoemaker to sell. I guess I was just hoping the elves showed up! They didn't. So when I went to start my day, this is what I woke up to. It made me think of all those Pinterest images with the cute signs saying things like "Ignore my mess, my children are making memories." My sarcasm came out and I just wanted to write on the wall - "Mom's too tired. Waiting for elves."

We're almost to the end of September and I feel like my family's schedule is just way too booked up. We go from one event to the next and I don't usually think about dinner till 4 PM as I stare sadly into the fridge, hoping the elves also left a home cooked meal. I know I just need to be grateful my family is healthy and that my children are safe. And I try to think about that, when I step on a building block at 10 PM on my way to bed. Some days it's just harder to see past the foot pain or my covered counter tops.

I don't desire the time of life when my counters are clean because my children have all grown up; I miss them just thinking about that. I know they can help me clean, but sometimes it takes more work just to get them to help. We are getting there! They unload the dishwasher and they're starting to load the plates now; I still do the glass pan scrubbing. I just wish I at least had a clean frying pan to make breakfast!

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How do you balance cleaning and stopping to enjoy your children?

Copyright 2016 Courtney Vallejo