Kids thrive in mess. That’s why they don’t need to be taught how to make a mess on a daily (or hourly) basis.
It’s us uptight mums who get frustrated by mess, especially when we are the ones who do the cleaning up. I mean, we get the kids to take on the responsibility too but who am I kidding if I say that happens 100% of the time.
And holidays, topsy turvy schedules, parties, and cough bugs, and gifts (ahem) make for a mega-mess.
After three kids, you’d think that I’d have learnt by now to “let it go.” Mess? Dive in it! Throw it all up in the air!
Even the hubby, who is some kinda rare, neat, organised man, says to me, “Let it be messy, don’t worry about it now.”
But although the mummy sees it as stress, the kids love mess.
My daughter is one creative mess monster. Her stickers, doodles, artwork, lie in secret corners of the bookshelf, waiting to be uncovered.
My super-hero-loving boy’s toy cars and lego bits lie everywhere. He brings a different toy to the dining table each meal and leaves them there. On bad days, the table is overtaken by toys, pencils, craft works and other things that we have to shove to one corner to make space for dinner.
And the baby well…is just going about his baby ways. He finger feeds himself 30-50% of each meal, and post-meal carrots, broken vegetable bits, and pasta lie on the floor like prisoners of war. Naturally, he relishes my look of horror whenever he smears his face or head with food bits, and even tries to mess up my hair along with it.
Deep breath. I wish I could let it all go. But it gets to me.
Simplify and declutter is my new mantra. We simply have too much. (I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for the blessings and love that family and friends shower on the kids, but really living with heaps of toys is a whole different ballgame.)
The kids have become mildly obsessed with their new toys and I’ve had to give at least two lectures this past week on how our siblings, who are alive and kicking, are infinitely more important than the cute things that we now suddenly possess. I’m not entirely sure they are getting it…but I pray some day they will.)
I look around the house and I can’t help but feel grumpy. Every day I’m cleaning out some cupboard, packing away old and misfit toys, and clearing old clothes. Upkeeping a house with three kids is truly stretching my organisation skills to the max. (Whatever little organisation skills I have anyway.)
I will relax and roll with it.
Life is not perfect. Our house will not be a perfectly clean and tidy space. And I can accept that. I can relax a little, look past the mess, maybe cover both eyes if I have to.
I will work towards simplicity.
I will tackle one corner, one basket of things, one clothes cupboard at a time. I will work towards a simple life and home, one that’s not so much filled with things, but filled with love.
I will love, in spite of the mess.
Heck, parenthood is messy business. But there’s not just the mess and dirt and grime and tears. There’s also the fun, love, and laughter that happens every single day. I will choose to relish that.
When Jesus came down to earth, He came down to mess. The human race is known to be extremely capable when it comes to making mess. But He dived into it all, and mingled with the worst of our kind – tax collectors, prostitutes, you name it.
He didn’t approve of it. But He didn’t stand in the corner and judge. He worked with the people, some of the hardest and messiest folks – infinitely harder than my five-, three-, and one-year-old.
That makes me realise. I can actually work with them through the mess. I don’t have to do it on my own, and feel disgruntled. I can get them involved in small phases, small steps. And learn to have fun in the process.
Since we live together, we’ll deal with it together.
One messy pile at a time.
And while we’re at it, we might even have a bit of fun, or learn something.
I am hopeful.
2015, here we come. Mess or no mess, I will embrace the imperfections of our little family, and stretch my muscles to love and extend grace.
Blessed 2015, friends. (Leaving you with a quote from Dr Seuss…)