One big beautiful mess

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.

What mess, mummy??

What mess, mummy??

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.)

But…

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…)

mess is so big and so deep and so tall

Little lessons: Back to basics

Baby J’s arrival has helped to slow life down to a snail’s pace.

The most exciting thing that happens around here these days is when Vera or JJ gets into a fit. Or when it’s time for my post-natal massage. Or when I read a funny /informative article on the web.

My calendar is filled with things like buy diapers, call mum, and cut baby’s nails.

I find myself sometimes counting minutes till the hubby comes home. If I’m not asleep that is.

Yes, the initial baby days (after recovering from the delivery) can be mundane and rather brain-numbing.

To keep myself busy and happy, I’m chatting with good friends on whatsapp and scribbling down ideas for activities to do with Vera and JJ.

I’ve started taking daily morning walks with baby, and am planning to bring him to the botanic gardens for walks every week. And maybe even bring the kids swimming in the afternoons as well.

I’m going to dive into good books, and have just ordered a copy of Building Healthy Minds from Book Depository.

Also gonna plan one-on-one dates with Vera and JJ. This may be tough to execute as the other usually want to follow whenever one goes out, so will have to start prepping them mentally. JJ is starting to exhibit signs of the middle child syndrome, like extra fussiness and wanting a lot of attention, so I really feel the need to spend more time with him.

For a start, I’ll just head to nearby playgrounds or malls. I’m thankful that at this age, they are easy to please. Being anywhere outdoors and with ample space allows for fun and creative play, and it’s just about giving them our undivided attention.

And of course, let’s not forget fortnightly dates with the hubby. Even if it’s just for a cup of coffee downstairs, or renting a movie and snuggling up together to watch it. Little moments like these count, no?

As I’m planning all these activities, baby J is sleeping contentedly and making little snoring sounds. Watching him reminds me that life may be slower and mundane with a newborn, but there is good reason for it to be this way.

By slowing down, I’m able to breathe better and manage the things closest to my heart. Priorities. Keeping first things first. Not getting distracted or overwhelmed.

By taking things slow, simple pleasures can also be found.

Like admiring his little wrinkly toes. Like an unexpected hug and kiss from my girl.

little toes

Baby J, you’ve only entered our lives for 30-ish days and you’ve already taught me something.

Contentment is not about having plenty or being rich in material things. But it’s about cherishing what you do have and being rich in the important things.

Rich in love, joy, fun, imagination. In caring, sharing, teaching and guiding…And for baby J, rich in milk, cuddles and sweet baby dreams.

Now it’s your turn. What have you been learning lately?

mamawearpapashirt

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