When I was a kid I was a slob. Ask my parents, they will tell you. I had a messy room and it didn’t bother me. This little factoid did not change until I started having my own kids. I wouldn’t say that it happened all at once, it was a slow progression, but by the time I had two little ones under the age of 3, I was definitely stressing out about the “cleanliness” of my house. I was frantically cleaning with a newborn in my arms 5 minutes before family was arriving to drop off dinner. As if they would be the least bit critical of my situation. I was picking up before play dates that would inevitably wreck my house once again. I was lying awake at night (when I should have been sleeping!) thinking about the dishes/laundry/toilet cleaning/dusting/vacuuming that hadn’t gotten done that day. I was being a new mom.
Now, 9 years later, I am learning to embrace the messiness. I am learning that sometimes an over-flowing laundry basket means that I spent an extra hour playing Candy Land with my kids, or watching one uninterrupted (yeah right) episode of The Parenthood during nap time. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about my family, or that I can’t see that there are things that need to be done. What it means is that I am starting to see what really matters.
Our messiness is changing. Where there used to be baby toys and piles of dirty onesies there is now a Matchbox car rally and a Polly Pocket gathering. I used to clean up fabric blocks and baby rattles to the sweet silence of sleeping babes; I now deconstruct Lego towers and pick Rainbow Loom bands out of the floor during “quiet time”. These kids are growing up, and it is happening FAST.
Before long I will be a driving instructor and an algebra tutor. Our messes will change significantly over the next decade. I won’t be picking up toys off the floor, but rather helping to mend broken friendships and teach my children about purity, honor and loyalty. I will no longer be responsible for washing and brushing hair, band-aid patrol and snack time. I will learn the fine art of letting my children learn the hard way and intervening before they make a painful mistake. My role as mommy is surely changing. Each year that they grow I both accept and let go of different responsibilities. So I have decided to love this mess right now. As I type this there are tiny pieces of pink and blue laundry scattered on the floor, a Tonka truck parked in the center of the family room, and a mountain of dishes in the sink. But I am OK with that. Because someday when I am old and gray and sitting in the rocking chair with my husband, I will wish for just one second that I could have this days mess back again.