We’ve all seen them. You know those pictures of perfectly decorated homes? The ones in magazines, on TV and Pinterest? Sickening, aren’t they? I don’t know about you, but my home looks nothing like that, at least not on a consistent basis. Sure, it may resemble a small degree of that for about five minutes. Then the kids wake up or come home from school and all bets are off.
Nowhere in those glossy images are there Legos waiting to cripple your heel and bring you to your knees. Nowhere do you see a tea party that apparently ended in a battle if the way the cups and saucers are strewn about are any indication. Nowhere are the couch cushions and throw blankets repositioned into forts and tunnels. Nowhere do you see a dining room table overtaken by half-completed art projects, covered in dried glue, paper bits and glitter.
And, yet, those images are much more realistic concerning life with children. I’ll be honest; I wish my home more resembled those pictures instead of the reality that it is. I wish my house felt calm and orderly at all times and not just for those five minutes a week.
But do you know what my un-glossy house shows? It shows that a family lives here. It shows that my kids love using their imaginations. It shows that sometimes tea parties aren’t always as calm and polite as if you were sipping Earl Gray with the royal family. It shows that we are making memories.
So, I say, let’s embrace the chaos. Well, maybe embrace is too strong of a word. Perhaps tolerate is more like it. And I’m not saying that we should forgo cleaning and straightening up until the kids are off to college. No, I do believe in order and I also believe in teaching the kids to clean up after themselves.
What I am saying is that sometimes you just have to let them have some freedom to create and explore. Sometimes those explorations are messy and chaotic. Sometimes the couch cushions are used for ramps and slides. Sometimes they are castle walls. On some occasions, they are even used for sitting, cuddling and enjoying time together.
Of course I wish they were more often used for the latter. I admit that sometimes when I walk into the family room, I fail to see the fun they are having and the cooperative play they are engaging in. Instead I see the mess. And then I thwart their good times by barking commands and reminding them that I. Just. Cleaned. The. House.
So, along with embracing the chaos, let’s also vow to let go a bit more. Instead of barking, try breathing. Look beyond the mess and instead see it through their eyes. This is an adventure, a story to engage. It’s not an inconvenience, but a way of learning and creating.
Before long the Legos will be packed up. The tea parties will be a thing of the past, the dining room will be used for eating and not crafting, and the couch cushions will be reassigned to their original, boring job description. And, who knows; maybe I’ll long for a bit of that chaos in the quiet of my own solitude. So I suppose I should enjoy it while it’s here and toast to another tea party.
In case you haven’t heard, I am in the midst of writing the Unexpectant book that will be full of real mom’s stories of pregnancy, birth, babies, breastfeeding and beyond. If you would like to take part and share your own story, then visit our submissions page or contact me. By sharing your own story, we can help prepare more women for their journeys to and through motherhood.