My One Success of New Motherhood: Having a Messy Home

This week was our first week back to “real school,” albeit masked, in a year and a half.

We met teachers (in person!), where Shayne broke the ice for my boys by taking the liberty of introducing them, along with sharing that she threw up in her bed one time, and it was blue.

I hope to redeem us all by way of snack donation.

 The Sunday evening prior was accompanied by all the pomp and circumstance of the first day of school, down to the “night before a milestone” parent sentiments.

Inevitably, almost every mom’s emotions cattle-prod them on a photo journey through The Cloud. We emotionally prepare for a big day by emotionally destroying ourselves.

 It’s a tradition of modern womanhood.

 20 minutes of photo scrolling through 2017, and about 40 minutes of 2015, because videos take longer to load that far back.

I was about 30 minutes into 2014, and found myself surprised to be smiling and nostalgic about one thing-the crazy state of my home.

With three babies very close in age, and a miscarriage in between, I’d been pregnant every single year for five consecutive years. Our sea of made-in-China plastic toys functioning as floor décor highlighted that.

…the battery operated ones from one Nana Michelle further highlighted that for any possible vision impaired guests, as well as the next door neighbors.

As I stayed up way too late scrolling through a few years of memories, one thing surprised me. Did 2015 me notice the blankies and wipes all over the room, or the jumble of random kitchen utensils in my bathroom? No. Not really, and I thought that was interesting that I looked completely untroubled.

Maybe I was used to it, just like I was apparently used to wearing the same thing several days in a row.

Just kidding, I still do that.

Preparing to send two of my three kids to school the next day, I felt proud that I looked content with the tornado-ness that my toddlers were.

State of our Household circa 2016

BUT. I know for certain that this was less brought on by borrowing the “Let it Go” theme song from Elsa, and more a white flag from the first trimester bathroom floor.

There were a few photos that I specifically remember in real time- that high-pitch mom voice sounded exhausted, impatient, and just wanting less crumbs on the floor. That’s it. For the love. Just one freaking clean place with no one touching me and no one following me…but I had a baby on my hip pulling my hair, one at my feet pulling everything out of cabinets, and one in my stomach.

You know the rice all over the pantry floor? The tiny hands digging sprinklers out of the dirt? Why?

I remember a few occasions spraying Lysol around the kitchen sink, hoping the aroma might trick my sleep deprived self that our house was more orderly. Or, just at least until it was overshadowed by a diaper.

In the thick of those couple of years, I had the best advice of one wise friend: just keep one room in your house clean. One. It can be the guest bathroom. Having one spot tidy makes you feel a little more control, but while you’re deep in it-you can’t care. It’s like stopping waves from crashing. You CANNOT keep up…but it’s for such a short time.

I held onto that transformational thought.

Looking through my phone last week, I was SO GLAD I DID. I was SO RELIEVED, CAPS LOCK.

I had either the sanity or insanity to just play in cushions and make forts. I have more memories of playing than frustration. I wouldn’t have kept composure this week if I’d had “why didn’t I play with my babies more” regrets to add the ever-growing mountain of mom guilt.

So, I highly recommend a scattered home to the freshman class of toddler moms.

Because in just a few minutes, New Mom, you’ll be me, suddenly realizing you’re hanging onto the last bit of toddler-era dusk. No longer quite as needed, no longer your kids’ only influence. And while the next chapter is SO fun and a welcome reprieve from exhausted, puffy eyes, there is nothing I find more endearing than priceless, messy house photos. It looked so happy. When I’m second string to my kids’ friends too soon, did those Legos and sippy cups all over the floor really matter?

You do whatever, and I mean whatever, gets you through those days of chaos…but overly stressing about an immaculate home will leave you with about 16,000 less photos to relive after your child waves goodbye through the elementary school gate. As soon as they glance back one more time before walking away to class, you’re going to want every messy-faced, messy room video you don’t remember taking to accompany you back to your quiet car.

P.S. Our house can still get pretty crazy. Thank goodness.