In this last year I have been delivered from an obsessive need for my house to be clean. Don't get me wrong I still want my house to be clean, and I have someone come every few weeks to sanitize, because that's important and I can't get to it. I'm just saying I have let go of the idea that my worth and value are somehow tied into how clean my house is.
It used to be super important to me what people saw when they walked in my door. I would stay up late at night and get up early in the morning cleaning, if we were having people over. I would dread a knock on the door from an unexpected visitor. I would yell at my kids and stress myself out and entertaining became something I dreaded. My kids playing and having fun was just more work for me.
This picture is just a small glimpse of what my kitchen looks like everyday. Little bit gets everything out of the pantry that he can reach and all of the bowls and pans out and sits for a couple hours creating. This kind of thing used to drive me crazy... because it's just another mess. It made my children nervous to get stuff out to play, because they knew CRAZY MOM would come out.
I know I'm not alone. I talk to moms all the time, who HATE the mess. It consumes too much valuable space in our thoughts. Instead of enjoying our children and watching them lovingly create and play and use their imaginations, we fret and fume and gripe and cringe when they make the dreaded mess.
Our friendships are suffering too, because we either don't invite people over to our homes or we make apologies for our mess. We frantically run around our houses making them look perfect and answer the door breathlessly, with sweat running down our forehead, because we just couldn't let them see the way we really live. We are missing out on friendships because of mess.
We yell at our kids and we walk around angry at everyone, all because of mess. I'm not sure when we started buying into this idea that our houses have to be picture perfect, but we need to stop. We need to let go of that idea. Houses are for families. Houses are not museums. Houses are for rest and for relaxing, and for fun. Houses are places for little people to learn new things and play and have fun. Houses don't give us worth and value... families give homes value.
Children and mess go hand in hand. We need to stop wishing away our children's youth, eagerly waiting for the day that we don't have anymore mess to clean up. When that day comes I bet we will look back sadly wishing we had made more cookies and read more books and just let our kids be kids.
Children learn through play. They recreate what they see in the world around them. They use their imaginations and build forts and color pictures. One of my children's favorite things to do is make home made play-do and use beans, rice, oatmeal, crackers, sprinkles and anything else they can find and they play like they are on "CHOPPED". They make a huge mess, they drag out every pan, every cooking utensil and spill half of it on the floor, but they LOVE to play that. They are happiest sitting at my kitchen table making an enormous mess. They are building relationships with each other and making memories and HAVING FUN. I can clean it up later or leave it for tomorrow, but I don't want for my house to be a place where they can't be children.
Home is where the mess is. If you are brave enough, let go of perfection and let your kids play and let people see the real you. Let people think what they're gonna think... they are going to anyway.