The Baseboard Struggle

A few days ago, I was watching the Instagram Story of a woman whose profile I follow. She’s a mama, and often posts videos of her baby girl, who is crawling age, super chunky, and completely adorable. This sweet baby was following the family cat around the house, so the video was shot at floor level, as the mom followed her baby, who followed the cat. As I watched, I barely noticed the baby or the cat…..all I seemed to notice was this woman’s perfect baseboards. From one room to the next, the baseboard perfection was consistent and honestly, mind-blowing. They were crisply painted, unmarred, straight, and, as if this were a miraculous thing….they were also CLEAN. I clicked back three times, just to admire the perfect and amazing baseboards. Don’t worry….I don’t waste time looking at Instagram (winky face).  I only do it the way everyone on planet earth does it, which is while I’m IN THE BATHROOM.

As I was admiring this woman’s baseboards, on Instagram (as one does), the thought occurred to me, how nice it would be to have baseboards that look like that. I would love to have baseboards that even remotely resemble those I saw, but in a sweeping singular moment, I realized something crucial to my motherhood: I am not called to have perfect baseboards in my life right now!

This realization seems silly and mundane, but it’s actually really important. I’m not saying that God actually calls people to the purpose of achieving perfect looking baseboards, but I DO believe that one day in the distant future, I WILL have amazing looking baseboards in my home. But right now, it’s not part of my purpose, and I need to remember this. To give you an example of this, I point to the fact that I cleaned my bathroom this morning. I mean, cleaned it….like, got inside the tub, moved everything off the surround, cleaned it like a professional cleaning person would clean it, and even cleaned (some of) the dust off the walls around the tub. I also cleaned the toilet, the sink, the SIDES of the toilet, and guess what else….I spent fourteen seconds cleaning the baseboards in my bathroom. Then I realized that I was simply taking things too far, so I stopped myself. The bathroom was sparkling, the SIDES of the toilet were clean, and I was pretty much feeling like a hero. So…..#sorryNOTsorry, I only invested fourteen seconds in the baseboards, and they will remain imperfect (and dirty).

Something else I won’t apologize for, is the tongue and cheek nature of this blog post. Life would be nothing without being able to laugh at things happening in your life. Taking the time to write about my gross and sad looking baseboards, is just funny in itself. In all seriousness though…..let’s talk about my baseboards, and how I’m not called to do anything about them right now. My husband and I each spent our childhood in old, historic homes, and the home where we are raising our four daughters was built in 1952. This is to say, that clean and perfect looking baseboards is just not something that has been a big part of either of our lives, so we hardly notice that not everyone has baseboards like ours.

In the nearly nine years we have lived in this home, we have probably painted most of the baseboards at one time or another. Despite the valiant effort that painting baseboards require, they still fall far short of how I dream of our baseboards looking. The fact is, this home is old and storied, withstanding four children growing up here, and the baseboards reflect this. To be fair, there are a few stretches of baseboard that look halfway decent, and on the occasion that I happen to notice this, it takes my breath away. I feel like a champion… I’m really living right, and that I might actually be better than some of you. Then I see the rest of the baseboards in my home, and I begin to wonder what people think when they see my ugly baseboards! Just kidding…I’m over forty, so I’m too old to care two shakes about what anyone thinks of my BASEBOARDS.

The truth is, I’m overwhelmed every single day, with the responsibilities I have. The majority of these being, walking alongside my husband to raise four good women. I think back to the first home my husband and I bought together, which was a townhouse built in 1972. When we bought it, the kitchen and bathrooms were original to the home. During the years when seemingly everyone around us was having babies, we were heavily investing our time, sweat, and a ton of hard work, into renovating our home. We struggled for over three years to have our first child, but we look back with gratitude that we had that time before kids, to renovate a home together. During that season, we learned so much about each other, our marriage, and most importantly, about God’s perfect timing for our lives. We ended up having our first two daughters while living in that home, all the while, surrounded by imperfect baseboards. We never could have imagined how wildly blessed we would become, being entrusted with these four daughters. This is what God does best…..He exceeds your absolute wildest dreams. Even through the trials that are guaranteed in life, God exceeds expectations. Think about it, and acknowledge something He has done in your life, which has left you utterly struck and in awe of something bigger than yourself. Reflect on this for a moment….back to the ridiculous baseboard talk in a second.

See that? Awesome, right? Big moments in life are wonderful, and they are a big part of what tells our story. But the very best things in life, are the small moments. For me, those small moments are happening ALL the time, in the rearing of these little women. Being here and doing my best in those moments, is what I feel I am called to do right now. Sometimes I handle these small moments very well, and sometimes I fail miserably. Fortunately, God’s grace and His mercies are new every day.

Perfect baseboards are something I admire, and I realize they only really appear in much newer homes. I also realize that one day in the future, these girls of mine will be grown women, and my husband and I will sit around wondering how our baby girls grew up so quickly. On the upside, we will have more time for things like couples retreats, international travel, going to the bathroom without an audience, and achieving perfect looking baseboards. After all of that, God willing, we will have at least a gaggle of grandchildren to come over to our home and wreck our perfect baseboards.




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