Just Write ~ The Tenth

November 14, 2011


I’m putting away the laundry, opening and shutting wooden drawers, shirts on shirts, pants on pants, socks in the bottom. I notice the dust covering all the surfaces. Again. The closing of the windows to keep out the air that smacks of winter makes even more dust, stuck swirling inside. Sometimes I watch it in the sunlight, mesmerized. Other times I watch it with disgust and something screams inside me, I can never be enough!

It could be more simple, like, I can’t keep up! But dust strikes something deep within. The Not Enough place. Not enough time, not enough strength, not enough wisdom, not enough me.  

I run my finger through the dust, making a line and then I’m flooded with all the other things,

more laundry, more dishes, more noise, more discipline, more lists, more piles, more spit up, more paint on the floor, more crumbs on the counter…

There is a pit in my stomach but I know it’s not about piles and messes and to-do lists. It’s about fear, discontentment, a lack of control,vices, choices, disbelief, illness,

not enough. dust to dust.

I used to have a clean house. At least mostly. I remember needing that and my ability to stay on top of it and the way it looked and felt. It gave me a sense of control, order, balance, even if everything inside was not any of those things. Now, there’s no staying on top of anything so there’s no false sense of security.

The chaotic imbalance of motherhood (and life) that I work so hard to find peace in keeps me from finishing the serenity prayer. The interuptions are too many and my brain is too busy. I try again and again. Then I start to think that I can’t even pray right because I’m too hard on myself.

It’s just dusty. It’s just dust. So I run my finger through it and I see it swirl through the air and I have to take a deep breath. I change the sheets on Asher’s bed, I make lunch for him, and after that I walk around dusting the surfaces with a baby on my hip. I consider it all a prayer. 


This is the tenth installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. {Please see the details here.}  I would love to read your freely written words so join me and link up below. You can add the url of your post at any time. Just be sure it’s a link to your Just Write post, not to your main page. There are really no rules, besides Just Write! (Then link back to this post in your post so people know where to go if they’d like to join in.) (Any links not following those two guidelines will be deleted.) 

Also. Please take a moment to visit someone else who has linked up! It’s a really good way to meet new writers and get inspired by the meaning behind their moments. Word?

Thank you!

Psst: One more thing…you can Grab the Button if you’d like. It’s right over there in the sidebar for your code-grabbing convenience.





Galit Breen November 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Yes, this. I know this. I know what comes with a clean house and dust and that pit in your (my) stomach. So much love to you, dear friend. xo

Jen November 14, 2011 at 9:38 pm

One thing that having triplets taught me is there will always be dust and never enough time to get rid of it so its probably best to just let the kids makes pictures in it.

The dust will always be there, the little children not.

Just my thoughts.

Heather November 14, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Yes. Totally. I won’t lie and say I don’t still stand around wanting a clean house, but it’s less and less of a priority. I just can’t keep up…so why care? :) And really, the things I’m doing with/for my children are all so good, they’re prayers. To me. Go team :)


Bridget November 14, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Yes! I *want* a clean house; it’s just not my top priority. And, just recently, I’m okay with that.

Erika November 14, 2011 at 9:41 pm

I wish I couldn’t relate to this, but I do, far too well. “The chaotic imbalance of motherhood (and life)” yanks and pulls and tears us apart, yet through it all, He’s whispering: “Be still. Be still and know…” Oh that we would have ears to hear!

Krista November 14, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Oh how the mind starts with one thing, like dust, and moves and spins through a list of things. keeping up with it all seems impossible sometimes, no?

Ann November 14, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I just love your writing and most of all you.

Brandi November 14, 2011 at 10:30 pm

the pudgy hands, sweet smiles, sloppy kisses and sticky hugs are so worth dealing with the all of the dust.

Candy November 14, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I used to write myself sweet little notes in the dust. Little hearts, smiley faces, XOXOX. Sort of gives that dust a purpose. Then when my kids started doing it, it was cute. As long as they didn’t write the date or “dust me.”


lynsey November 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Ooooh. My favorite of your Just Write’s so far. Sometimes when you write, like this one, I swear you have peeked through my windows for a day and somehow heard my thoughts. Then you wrote them.

tracy@sellabitmum November 14, 2011 at 10:48 pm

I love this Heather. I have these thoughts when I see all of the fingerprints on my windows that I just cannot wipe off.

Anti-Supermom November 14, 2011 at 10:57 pm

I get mesmerized by dust floating through the air in the morning too, standing in my kitchen. That’s when I start wish for the sun to move higher up :)

Gianna November 14, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I’ve recently started to incorporate my children in my household chores. Obviously they don’t do horribly difficult ones. And obviously, I don’t expect perfection, but if it can take my 4 year old 15 minutes to wip down the bathroom and empty the garbages and my 3 year old to hose vaccuum one room, then everyone is contributing. It’s so not perfect, but we all have a responsibility–and as much as they complain, it’s good for them. Mama’s not so stressed and they are helping me out!

suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter} November 15, 2011 at 12:43 am

“Now, there’s no staying on top of anything so there’s no false sense of security.” i remember that feeling well.

it is all a prayer indeed. love how you write your heart-bare. it resonates.

Amber November 15, 2011 at 6:50 am

You know what? I get it. The dust, the cobwebs, the crumbs on the floor, when in the world are we supposed to get enough time to do it all?

I could tell you that I give up on it, but I don’t. I cannot live in a clean house. I mean that, mentally I begin to break down if things are not clean. So I improvise. I make cleaning lists (of things I want to get done this week, this month, over the next few months and this year) (I think I’m moving a lot to the “this year” column), I think of what needs to get done–like the yucky bathrooms and folding laundry–and I do my best. With my husband’s help.

Clearly this isn’t helpful, but I guess I’m telling you that I understand. I do. I have heard the phrase “the dishes can wait” enough that it strangles me, I mean they can only wait so long until you don’t have any dishes or your sanity left to do anything about it, but really what they are waiting for is YOU. Right? But, maybe writing this out is helpful? I also know that things get easier as the babies get older and sleep more consistently through the night. Then housework and other things become not so much a burden, but something you feel you can actually accomplish at some point. Almost like a hobby. ALMOST. (OK, maybe that’s taking it too far.)

Tricia November 15, 2011 at 6:51 am

It is most definitely all a prayer. And ‘clean house’ is definitely a priority for another day in my house.

Barb November 15, 2011 at 8:36 am

Ahhhh.. but when you are old & grey will you remember the dust on the dresser or will you remember the snuggles with your children? You are enough for your children. That house? it can get by with a little dust.

(at least that’s what I tell myself as I look at the neverending piles and dust bunnies)

Kathleen Basi November 15, 2011 at 9:18 am

I grew up in the country…our house was fifty feet from the gravel road, and well shaded. So we kept the windows open a lot. I have never experienced dust like we got it in that house. Your post brought that back for me this morning.

Wendi November 15, 2011 at 9:22 am

Ohhh, this really struck a chord with me. Especially the part that it isn’t really about the dust, and dirt, and laundry, but the control, order, balance…

So glad to know others are on this same journey of learning, and giving up control, and realizing what “enough” really is. :)

Heather November 15, 2011 at 9:30 am

Oh you guys. Sometimes when I free write, I accidentally make it seem like the post is about dust, but it’s really not.

Like Wendi said, it’s more about what I feel sometimes–the lack of control (over bigger things than a clean house) and fear and disbelief, etc. Sometimes not being able to keep up with the small things touches on something in me that needs addressing. I suppose the dust is meant to remind me to let go of bigger things, not just the dust :)

I NEED A CLEAN HOUSE IN MY HEART! Then, it’s all enough.

Adventures In Babywearing November 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

Oh, it’s my prayer, too. I didn’t think of it that way until you said it.


debi9kids November 15, 2011 at 9:57 am

I can completely and utterly relate.
I just never feel like there is enough time in the day, or enough days in the week, or enough weeks in the month…. ugh

Christy November 15, 2011 at 10:20 am

Oh wow Heather! This is beautiful. It strikes something deep within me. I think we all feel that way. I looked around this morning and saw all the dust and felt like I can never possibly keep up with it…with “all the things”! Thank for sharing this with me, for making me accept that sometimes, it’s just dust and it’s ok. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

love November 15, 2011 at 10:41 am

heather…this is beautiful. i get this so much and i’m with you right now.

i’ve been admiring Just Write from afar and so glad to be able to finally join in. good work, my friend.

Kristi November 15, 2011 at 10:44 am

Soooooo good!! I really loved your post…and I obviously could identify! The post I linked up today was written before I read yours. We are on the same wave length,
Not about a dirty house per se…it’s about the state of our heart, emotions, etc. But I must say that when the house is better…I feel better. :)

molly November 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

Yep. I get it.

I’m not a clean person so it’s just all out there. How I really feel about things. All my fears and lack of control. All out there swirling.

darcie November 15, 2011 at 11:48 am

Know what I love best about the way you write?
It’s like, sometimes…you are in my head…pouring out what I cannot.

Alexandra November 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm

OK, all you young moms, don’t make me cry.

You will anyway, won’t you?

Guess what?

I have all the time in the world to dust now.

And much too soon, you will, too.

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

Heather November 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm

That’s one of my favorite things to say to me. “The days are long but the years are short.” But lately I just wish I could sit and sit and sit with Elsie. She’s our last baby and I wish there were nothing else in the world to do but to just be with these three short people that change so fast. And so, when I look around at chaos, it brings up the worry…all the worry, about much bigger things than dust. I have to stop and take a deep breath and try to get me to not worry so much so I can just wear a baby around the house while dusting, every once and a while. And then I sit back down to just sniff her head again.
sorry. I probably just made you cry. I want to keep them here me with forever. even though it’s such a mess. it’s a beautiful mess. They help me get the dust out of ME.
I’m rambling.
I heart you.

dearabbyleigh November 15, 2011 at 12:55 pm

thanks for this space each week.

Varda (SquashedMom) November 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

This is so true and so beautifully written, as always and about dust and so much more than dust. I have not felt on top of my life in any way, shape, or form since my twins were born 9 years ago, and ever the more so with each passing year since Jacob’s autism diagnosis. And dust? I don’t even SEE the dust anymore.

So sorry to not be linking up this week but I had another post 9/10 done that I just had to finish up and finally post today and not a single quiet moment to reflect enough to sit and “just write.” Also it was a FUNNY one & I haven’t had a chance to be funny on my blog in a dog’s age. Next week, darling.

Krishann November 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Oh Alexandra’s words and yours almost made me cry. It heartbreaking for me how time passes so quickly and yet at the same time it is evidence that we are alive, living and growing. I’ve been learning that while some things can wait others can’t. It drives me crazy sometimes that the house needs dusting and my laundry needs folding but what bothers me more is the idea that I devoted so much time to completing tasks (and they are necessary ones) that I missed out on more chances to make memories with my daughter. Such a touching post.

Jessica November 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Eh. Dust. I’ve really hit a good point, I think, where all the “not enough” moments have ceased chattering in my head. I know I can’t be enough to be on top of all things. And I’m okay with that. I’m having more fun having FUN. (to be honest, though…as much as dust drives me crazy, I just ignore it. Most of the time.)

melissa @ the pleated polka dot November 16, 2011 at 6:39 am

yes yes “i consider it all a prayer”! it is a prayer. a true form of worship, this thing called motherhood. love this post. my heart resonates with your words sweet mama.

Stephanie Hanes November 16, 2011 at 8:07 am

I SO get this, Heather. In fact, I wrote something similar – about how I always feel like I’m NOT ENOUGH, because all I see are my failures. But God looks at me and sees beauty beyond compare, a woman who has been made new in Him, a mother who is healing and learning to be the woman He created me to be. Thanks for sharing!

Carrie November 26, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I always love when I get the opportunity to catch up on your blog because I SO get you. I feel this ALL THE TIME. That one more little tiny thing that needs to be done, and I notice it, and it just breaks me. Because, yeah, 3 little ones and no time for anything much else. Love your honesty on your blog, and your writing is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. :)

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