Becky Kopitzke and Heidi Maranell met when Becky stopped into Heidi’s garage sale and bought a Hello Kitty bingo game. It was the best dollar she ever spent. What began as daily chats about family life, faith, and coupons grew into Haven Help Us, their new joint blog home for fellow “frazzled, flawed and fabulous” women. Join the havenistas at www.havenhelpus.com where we explore fun, simple, and effective ways of making our homes a haven—including topics on marriage, parenting, cooking, crafting, and finding time for ourselves.
Tidy moms, it’s time for a chat. You know who you are. When your kids ask to build a fort in the living room, you might say okay-sure-fine but really you’re calculating how many sheets and clothespins you’ll have to pry off the furniture before bedtime. I totally get that, because I am one of you—a recovering neat freak.
When parenting took over my home seven years ago, I fought to uphold my old standards for cleanliness. By the first birthday party, I finally realized I had to surrender or die. Babies spit up strained carrots, toddlers spill chocolate milk, and school-age kiddos would rather make mud pies than help their mother de-clutter closets. Motherhood is a messy life. And I want to enjoy it.
So I’m learning to tell myself this:
Honey, you’re not making a mess. You’re making a memory.
When my girls beg to tape stickers all over the house “for decoration.”
When they insist on fingerpainting a life-size poster for Dad.
When we roll a snowman in the yard then drag wet snow pants, dripping boots and soggy mittens onto my freshly scrubbed floor.
I’m usually left with a disaster. But messes can be cleaned later. Memories don’t wait.
Sure, sometimes we moms need to limit the mess before the whole family is evicted. I battle this every day. Yet there has to be a balance, see. As moms, is it more important to keep our environment tidy, or to give our children space to learn and play and grow? I don’t want my kids to grow up with memories of mom running behind them with a broom and dustpan. This house is their home, too.
So. Will you give it a try? Make some sloppy cookies, concoct a baking soda volcano, let the kids mix swimming pool water in the sandbox, for goodness sake.
You’re not really making a mess, tidy mom. You’re making a memory.