There are times that I look around my living room and despair.
The detritus of life covers every available surface. There’s Tupperware and old plasticine on the piano. Children’s clothes strewn over the lounge and across the floor. Water pistols on the window sill and a collection of rocks and leaves spilling out of a bucket on the floor.
Look a bit closer and you’ll find a bit of old toast that fell into the music box, an assortment of small toys, balls and odd socks under the couch.
It makes me feel defeated
Chances are I’ll be surveying this scene of wreckage before dashing out the door to double drop off. Or as a backward glance as I shuffle towards my bedroom at night. It tends to happen when I don’t have the time or energy to embark on a rescue mission to rediscover the floor.
Every time I feel a bit defeated. Annoyed and frustrated that my home can’t be more tidy. But the other day I realised there are things about my messy house that I treasure.
These are the random impressions of the life lived in the house, impressions of wild adventures, creative endeavours and small humans growing and loving and being.
There are the Shopkin figures that have been lined up along the top of the bath, ready for a soapy party. The brightly coloured feather that hangs alongside my necklaces, a gift from my daughter.
It’s my rumpled bed sheets where they jump and laugh and play.
The mess is an expression of family life
Don’t get me wrong. I curse as loud as the next person when I step on a piece of Lego. And there’s nothing nice about what crumbs attract in the dead of night. But ultimately a lot of the mess in my home is just the echo of the lively, funny and amazing human beings that are my children.
When I have a rare moment on my own the mess fills in for their noise, which the house feels empty without.
Recently when I was interviewing comedian and author Meshel Laurie, she recounted a story from some older women in her life. They pointed out that there would come a time in our lives as parents when we would have all the peace and quiet we wanted, and that we might miss the noise.
When I look at the jumble of children’s pictures on my fridge door I understand what she means.
There will come a time when my kids don’t want to jump into bed with me in the morning. When they will no longer bring me gifts of paintings stuck with random bits of nature. A time when they’d rather sit alone in their room than play with Lego on the lounge room floor.
I need to take a deep breath
Get rid of the toast and collect the dirty clothes.
But savour the messy house. Because my messy house says loud and clear that I am a mother of two messy children. Messy children who are also fun, loving and endlessly entertaining.
And that’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world.
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