There was a time where a messy house would put me out of sorts. By out of sorts I mean, I would go commando cleaning everything up, I would probably get annoyed at my husband and say something I didn’t really mean because why..why can’t me take his shoes upstairs..For me, in my younger years, things out-of-place meant my life was out of place.
My family home never had little figurines or heaps of photo frames out..my mother only got a fridge that had a magnetized door in her late 40s- so there were never little pictures or letter magnets.. My sisters and I joke that we don’t know what happened to our mum because whenever my niece draws a picture it somehow lands on the fridge door for a few weeks.. Like who is she and what have you done with our mother?
It’s funny to think how pedantic I was about having a clean home.. I knew a change was coming- everyone warned me that once I had children it would change. They laughed at my white walls and my light grey couches, they looked at me incredulously when I bought a cream rug that piles so much it’s actually driving me nuts.. Oh, I knew change was coming I was just trying to delay the inevitable I guess…
But..fast forward almost 10 months..I can say, without reservation, that having a clean home is the furthest thing from what I desire.. well maybe it’s dropped a few spots down the list..
I have a friend (if you are friends with me and this mum you will probably know who I am talking about)- her house is kid friendly. By kid friendly I mean, there are kids things everywhere! Downstairs, in the living room, outside.. everywhere. They converted their garage into a massive kids play area (including a huge blackboard wall.. something straight out of my dreams I’m telling you).. Before having a child of my own, her home drove me insane.. I would itch walking the door, wanting to help organise things, put toys in clear plastic containers, labelled perfectly with a label maker. To organise books onto the book shelf in alphabetical order.. I envisioned room after room of perfectly ordered things… it was like putting someone in a room with pink walls, knowing that they hate the color pink, and leaving a paint brush with a can of blue paint, their favorite color and not giving them the opportunity to paint those walls.. At first you resist, then you tolerate and then you accept.. but..and you knew it was coming..since having Ava everything has changed..
Now, when I walk into her house I see a house full of love- love for children, that shows itself by all the little knick knacks lying around on the ground. The kids’ area seeps into every corner of their home and I secretly love it. It is a home filled with life and love and fun toys and gadgets. It’s a pirate mask and a superman cape, it’s a dragon fighting figure that we haggled the seller down by $2 for. It’s book after book and every kids animation you could dream of.. Love lives in her home..
Remember my beautiful white walls? In our home, where the kitchen meets the dining room there is a sharp corner. In order to make the corner in her walker, Ava has to sidle up against the skirting board and quite literally run the top of the bottom half of the walker along the top of the skirting..the top of the skirting is black, but I can’t bring myself to remove the scuff mucks because for me it means Ava was there at sometime that day..it means love lives in my house.
We had three bath toys for Ava- 3 toys I carefully packed up after every bath time into the soap holder. While they did overflow they still fit, out of the bath, in a corner to keep the bath “clean”.. well that was until yesterday. A quick trip to Kmart reminded me that I needed to grab a few extra bath toys- now we have every letter and number slowly sliding down the side of the bath tub as they dry out overnight. Our attempts at practising the number and letters failed last night- she was more interested in biting them and seeing how many she could fit in her mouth- but honestly, it doesn’t matter.. When I walked into the bathroom this morning and I saw the letters strewn all over the bath, completely clashing with our bathroom design I smiled..because it means that loves lives in my house..
Most mornings if Ava is up early she plays with a Lego set in our bed while either Greg or I get another 20 minutes of sleep. Sometimes, if we’re in a rush, we don’t clean her lego up- we leave it between our sheets and hastily make the bed.. only to find it at night, pulling back the covers. And you know, it doesn’t bother me, I actually love it.. I love finding remnants of my baby, even after she’s gone to bed.. because to have her things strewn over the bed, or in the lounge room means that she has loved and she has played, and she has enjoyed the time she was awake that day…
It’s so easy to see the messy home, or the toys out-of-place. It’s easy to see the dust accumulating or the finger prints on your mirror, but I want to challenge you today to look at the things that you see as out of place or dirty, and instead see them as a reminder of the children you are helping raise. I would rather a home filled with love and a toy or two out of place, than a perfectly kept lounge room any day of the week.
Very early one morning..Lego, our sleep saver..