I am a messy mom, and not by accident.
My kids are clean, and so are the floors, the dishes and the clothes, for the most part, and yet I enjoy a little mess…or a big mess. In fact, I firmly believe that if there isn’t a mess, than chances are, it wasn’t as fun as it could have been. My husband doesn’t agree about the whole mess thing, and yet we continue on, me and the kids, squishing and smearing and getting dirty day after day.
At bath time each night my kids often have paint smeared on their chubby arms, play dough under their finger nails and sand in their hair. They get a bath each night because the need one, and if they don’t need a bath, well, it must have been a boring day.
I am a messy mom because of the joy I see on my children’s face mid-mess-making. I get why they love dumping out the whole crate of toys with no intention of playing with any of it. I get why they pick up a handful of mud, just to feel it squeeze through their fingers. I get why it’s more fun to crawl through the pile of flour on the counter-top than just stand back and watch me bake. I get it. I too feel the joy of totally abandoning one’s self to the oncoming mess. I’m still that kid the makes mud just to play in it.
My favorite moments with my children are the moments where I don’t care about anything but the moment we are living in. Together we dive into that joy and say to hell with grass stains and clean floors and neat organization. One day my son and I pulled all of the books off of the bookshelf, just so we could sit on them. The books formed this huge mountain, that would slip and shifted as we climbed up it. It was a huge mess, we have a lot of books, but we both thought the situation was totally hilarious. He would climb to the top and then start to sing and dance with joy, lording over the family room. Yes, I spent some of my precious work time/nap time that day picking up every last book, but it was worth it. For a couple messy moments, life was perfect and simple, for both of us.
My husband is more cautious. Unlike me, he wasn’t the kid playing in the mud after each rain. He hates that I give the kids messy snacks, allow them to paint and encourage them to stomp in puddles. In so many ways we are a good balance for each other, and our children benefit from this balance as well. Sometimes the mess is a little too much and makes life a little too crazy. And yet, when I make pumpkin bread, I want both kids there, helping me scoop out the flour and crack the eggs. It’s chaos, it’s definitely a mess, but for me, it is pure joy.
Thank you, once again, for letting me reflect on motherhood. A mess isn’t for everyone, but for me it is a critical way that I connect with my kids. I would love if you took a minute to reflect on how you find a way to connect with your little ones, and shared it here or on my facebook page.
For more on motherhood, check out thoughts on being a Lucky Mom, a Frazzled Mom and a Supported Mom.