Children make life messy. No matter how big or small, there never ceases to be oatmeal on the wall, leaves on the floor, and clutter in the living room. I’ve heard before that good moms have messy homes and happy kids. If i’m being completely honest, that statement has always bothered me. I wasn’t sure why, because I can see how that could hold truth. Why wouldn’t a child be happier if they had more time to spend with their parents? Why wouldn’t a child want a home that they could live in without the fear of always dirtying it?
I’ve been thinking a lot about why that statement bothers me. Why it rubs me the wrong way, and I think I’ve finally figured it out. I want a clean house, and I want a happy child. I love when things are in their place, and I can walk into a room without getting overwhelmed. I love when rooms look pretty, and I’m able to enjoy my time spent in them. If things are messy all the time, my mind is messy.
There is nothing a parent wants more than for their child to be happy. Within reason of course. As long as it is healthy and safe in all regards for Faye, I want her to be happy, feel loved, and enjoy her days. I enjoy time with her more when my house is clean though. I am much more inclined to sit and read her story after story if there isn’t a stack of last night’s dishes in the sink, or unmade beds in all the rooms. In my home, a cleaner house leads to a happier life.
I’m trying to find a balance. I am trying to find the best way to keep my home, yet not have to spend enormous amounts of time doing so. To me, it’s all about prioritizing what is the most important in that moment. There are times that I choose to forego doing the dishes because we have friends over, and I would much rather have quality time with them, than a clean kitchen.
This past weekend we did some spring cleaning. We went through every drawer, cabinet, and closet in our house, and got rid of anything unnecessarily taking up space. We decided that we would only keep things that we use on a regular basis, or just find lovely in our home. We don’t want clutter. We don’t want to hold on to things “just in case”. The more cluttered our home is, the more cluttered our life is. The more things we have to clean up and take care of, the less time we have to spend as a family experiencing things.
For example, we went through all of Faye’s toys, and kept a select few stuffed animals, and only a small basket of toys that she plays with nearly everyday. Now, instead of having to clean up buckets on buckets of toys whenever she dumps them all out (since we all know she will do that), we only have to take 4 minutes to stack her books and pile her animals. It literally takes less than 5 minutes. Her lack of toys saves us so much time and effort, which allows us all to spend more time together. And not only spend that time together, but without feeling the guilt of “I should be cleaning”. It let’s us be happy.
Now, I have to make a disclaimer. I am much more bothered by clutter than by dirt. I can’t take it if there are dishes in the sink, and papers all over the coffee table, but I can go weeks without mopping, and I don’t think I’ve ever washed the windows in our house. So of course I still have those feelings of, “I should clean a bathroom today”, but it’s way easier for me to just ignore those. 😉
By implementing this philosophy into our home, we have cut down on an enormous amount of stuff. We have created a nurturing yet open environment for our family to live, and allowed us all room and time to breathe.