Before having kids, I believed that having a meticulously clean and visually appealing home was crucial. However, two kids later, I found myself searching for the difference between a “lived-in” , “messy” and “dirty” home.
It stressed me out when my almost 4 year old would pull out the cushions from the sofas and pretend play that she was on a trampoline or she was surfing. I found myself wanting to stop her from destroying the living room and send her to her play area. But she wants to be in my vicinity and play, while I want to get work done in glorious silence.
Therapy has taught me to identify the why behind my behavior. My inner conflict was, if guests showed up at my home, I would have to apologize for the toys strewn over the floor. For certain, the messy house would be a reflection of my bad parenting.
Obviously this isn’t the truth or my reality, but an over exaggerated situation in my head. The truth was, I wasn’t having guests home everyday or very frequently enough to warrant my level of concern/panic. My house isn’t actually messy, it is lived in by a family raising a toddler and a baby. While my home is not spotless and clean, it isn’t dirty either. I think there is a happy middle space in between clean and dirty (Or at least I have convinced myself that there is). My home reflects the presence of my children. And let’s be real, my home is beautiful and welcoming not because of its appearance, but because of the people who live in it.
The joy and wild imagination of my kids need to be the priority now. They don’t need me to stifle them. I do try to enforce rules on tidying up after playing, and my toddler does try to follow them. Eventually she gives up saying it’s too hard to clean up. Ha! you’re telling me kid!!
So, for now, I realize this situation and worry is a ‘Me’ problem and not quite a ‘Them’ problem. And if I haven’t convinced you yet, let me show you an excerpt from an article about Marie Kondo, a professional tidier and Netflix star:
“…Kondo says her life underwent a huge change after she had her third child, and external tidying has taken a back seat to the business of life. “My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life,” she said through an interpreter at a recent media webinar and virtual tea ceremony… [excerpt from her interview with The Washington Post]