The Mess. The mess! It is everywhere!
In my kitchen. There is oil splattered everywhere as I write this. My 3-year old was trying to “cook”, so she poured water into the oil standing on the stove. To remedy the situation, I placed the oil on the fire, hoping to heat it up and let the water evaporate. But the water was way too much and let to a splitter splatter party in the kitchen, with oil reaching places that oil should never reach. I have tried to clean it but I couldn’t get a significant amount out. The mess is way too much! Please bring me a million paper towels!
The Mess. It is on my living room floor as I try to walk through and get pierced by little toys on the rug.
It is on my kitchen table as little particles get stuck on it and I have to clean that table like 1000 times in a day.
It is on my floor, everywhere. There are particles, one-sided socks, things that shouldn’t be there but they are there because, alas, I have kids.
And what about the random papers everywhere? I mean papers with all sorts of drawings. Because my daughter is a “budding artist” and can literally spend all her day drawing and coloring stuff.
My life is undesirably characterized by the mess. And for too long, I got angry about the mess. Why can’t everything just be in perfect order? Why are there always dishes to wash? Why, why, why?
Then I felt God gently nudging my heart and telling me the mess is an important part of growth. You see, my kids won’t quite grow if I don’t let them explore. If I want every place to be clean, prim and proper all the time, I won’t give them a chance to try the things they should try – the things that often result in the mess.
If I don’t let them assist me in the kitchen, how will they learn to cook? But here is the thing: their assisting me in the kitchen often means, some ingredients that shouldn’t have fallen if I were cooking solo fall down. And the kitchen turns out way messier than it should have been if I cooked alone.
If I don’t let them do the dishes, how will they learn to wash them? But when they do the dishes, there is soap and water and water everywhere. More mess! Why has the mess chosen to be friends with me?
But here is the thing: they learn something new each time they try something and create a mess. The mess is essential to help them grow.
So I have learned to embrace the mess. It is a necessary part of life. Times of growth are times of messiness. There will be potty accidents before the little human eventually learns how to use the potty. There will be cooking disasters before the little person eventually learns how to cook. There will be spills, oil splatters and all sorts of things in between.
In all these, I find solace that little people are growing in the midst of the mess. They are learning. My kids are being transformed every day, one mess at a time.
While I want them to grow up to be neat and organized people, I understand for now that there will be accidents before they learn to avoid accidents. There will be mistakes before they learn to do it the right way.
I still get angry and bitter at the mess but I’m learning to embrace and tell myself that it is necessary. Being angry won’t help. The mess is an important part of growth. As their mama, all I need to do is give them a message from the mess and clean up after them.
Expecting a life free of mess with kids is like expecting the sun not to set. That’s not going to happen. So, moms, we must learn to embrace the mess and work around it. We must learn to find solace in the fact that we need the mess, our kids need the mess in order to grow.