This largely unedited free-write is linking up with the annual Write 31 Days Challenge. // indicates the start and stop of five minutes. Today, the word is PAINT. Go!
// “Kids, let’s paint the town red!” said no mother EVER!
In fact, the mere words “mommy, can we paint?” used to send me into a state of panic. Paint? No way! I just cleaned the kitchen, I just washed the floor, you just had a bath, I can’t clean up ONE… MORE… TIME.
You know the feeling. That desperation deep inside that says, “Please, Jesus, I just need some time to relax. I can’t do one more thing.”
I LOVE order and cleanliness. No, I’m not OCD (let’s just say that I have SCD… “Stress Compulsive Disorder.” When I’m stressed, I organize.) You know those Ikea plastic dishes in 6 colours? Yeah, when I’m stressed, I always stack them in order of the rainbow. During college, I would take study breaks long enough to re-fold my dresser drawers or organize my closet in order of the rainbow. Wanna know how stressed I am? Check if the dishes say ROYGBIV.
I get it―I decompress in order, not chaos.
How many times did my kids ask to do crafts and my answer was so often, “No, cuz I don’t wanna make a mess.” My heart breaks at how much fun I’ve missed.
With our eldest daughter recently moving across the globe and attending Hillsong College, I have been re-evaluating my values and priorities as ‘Mommy’ and dreaming about what I would do differently if I could turn back the clock. //
In my recent article called “MY MANIFESTO OF MOTHERHOOD,” I wrote…
♥ I will MAKE A MESS with you more often. It’s creative, it’s stimulating, and it’s downright fun!
What I wouldn’t give to turn back the clock and make a mess again.
- I would have one LEKKER food fight (that’s Afrikaans slang for “delicious” or “awesome”)
- I would have a killer paint fight (outside, of course)
- I would jump in the puddles every time it rained (and I’d buy myself a funky pair of rubber boots)
- I would recklessly play in the rain and the mud. Whoohoo!
- I would put the dishes on hold, and build train sets on the carpet. (Oh wait, I DID do this, but I would do it MORE.)
Having said that, here are some of my
Tips and Tricks for keeping your house LOOKING clean in the chaos
- The traveling dust rag. While you are walking to the laundry room, take the damp towel that is just about to get washed and wipe it across the banister, furniture, counter tops, etc., etc., etc.
- Emergency bathroom rescue. Company just arrived without warning? Change the towel in the bathroom, but use the old one to quickly polish the taps, counter, and toilet tank (in that order, please).
- Keep cleaning supplies under EVERY sink in the house. You never know when you’ll need to clean the mirror, but it won’t happen if you have to walk to the kitchen first.
- Plastic drawers are your best friend, especially if they are slightly transparent. Your kids will eventually stop dumping everything out when they realize they can simply look underneath and find the toy they’re looking for.
- LABEL everything! Don’t kid yourself―your children can spell… M C D O N A L D S, O R E O S. Words like “Cars,” “Puzzles,” “Barbies,” and “Lego” won’t be an impossibility.
- Every room needs a “Miscellaneous” drawer. It’s a big word, but they’ll get it. Can’t find Woody’s hat? Check the Miscellaneous drawer in Josh’s room. Barbie’s bag is missing? Check in the Barbie drawer in your room, or the Miscellaneous drawer in the playroom.
- Shared responsibility. No more “Mommy cleaning everything!” Joshua, you do the Lego drawer. Raelynne―puzzles. David―Cars. Rachel―Miscellaneous. Then you’ll also know who to discipline when (not ‘if’) it doesn’t get done.
- Responsible Playtime. We all need to clean up after ourselves; kids are no exception. Wanna play with Barbies now? Cool, but you’ve gotta put the puzzles away first.
One final word of MOM ADVICE
Life is too short to obsess about having a clean house all the time.
Your value as a Mom is NOT found in the state of your house, nor the success of your home business (another topic for another day), nor in your primping and preening (you don’t always need make-up to go to the park). Relax!
Just LIVE. Just BE.
Just LOVE them and have a little FUN once in a while.
To read more of 31 Days of MomAwesomeness, click here.
For more information on the Write 31 Days challenge, check out Christina Hubbard’s site!