The Mother's Dilemma

What will they say when I've passed away?
That, "she kept a clean house, but where's she today?"

What gems will I leave for my children I've born?
A clean toilet bowl and a rag mop that's worn?

My windows are shined and my floor's nice and clean.
My laundry's all done.  I should feel like a queen.

I should be so happy with my house looking dazzled, 
But my mind's in a tizzy and my nerves are all frazzled. 

My kids are so gripey, their needs put aside,
But there are dishes to wash and clothes to be dried. 

But a dirty dish doesn't look at sad
As a lonely child who's hurt and mad.

And a sparkling dish won't shine as bright
As the face of a man who's been treated right.

Could I have been wrong?  Could joy be somewhere
Besides in a toilet bowl that shines with a glare?

Have I been misled by commercials and such
That picture a home that is clean and without fuss?

When my time rolls around, let me take note
To slow down and live, or I might miss the boat.

Lora Lee Duncan 
August, 1978

That poem, so well written by my talented mother, pretty much sums up my feelings lately. Even as a child, I was a neat freak (just ask my little sister who shared a room with me for 14 years).  I, strangely enough, enjoyed cleaning our house and picking up everyone's things.  I'm sure my mom loved me for that.  Naturally, as a mother, I take on this role in our family. However, along with housekeeper, I also wear the hat of CEO, CFO, disciplinarian, grocery shopper, referee, chauffeur, teacher, chef, schedule maker, and, okay, you get the drift, right.

My point is, something's got to give, especially during the summertime, and for me, that would be cleaning the house.  No need to report me to social services, we won't be living in filth, but my floors might be a bit sticky and there may be dust bunnies living with us for a while.  But we will be all caught up in the excitement of the summer and busy making memories, so we probably won't even notice.



  1. So true and such a good reminder! It is a sunny afternoon here in Munich today so I am going to head outside with my kiddos and enjoy it, leaving the housework behind! Thanks for the right priorities. :)


  2. first, can you come live with me? you sound WONDERFUL.

    second, i'm a big fan of delegating when i start feeling like that. never underestimate what hired help can do for your mental health.

    massages are good, too.

    and wine.

  3. Wow- what a beautiful poem. You mother is so talented. They are amazing words. Enjoy the summer and the important things in life. Very well said! :) Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. What a great poem!

    I'm not the best housekeeper but I try to spend time having fun with my kids (when I'm not painting something!)

  5. this is wonderful, im going to print it out and put it on my whiteboard to remind me whats important in life! thankyou!!


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