By , March 8, 2007 10:53 am

As I sit here watching my 14 month-old doing an “Ozzie” by trying to bite the head off a plastic bat that has somehow found its way to the kitchen floor, my thoughts turn to “mess.” My life never used to be like this. My house never used to be like this. I was truly, AN ORGANIZED PERSON. Those days are gone.

A brief survey of my living room floor reveals: one clean sock, one dirty sock (Where are the mates? Who knows!), a cardboard box “rocket ship,” one of my shoes (Where is the other? Who knows!), an inflatable bouncy pony, a penguin backpack, one piece of a baby stackable toy, a miniature plastic airplane, and a “Sunset” magazine with most of the pages torn out.

Why can kids live so comfortably with mess? I used to be a slob as a child too. My mother constantly lamented the sorry state of my room. When did I turn into a neat freak? Why can’t I simply be at peace with clutter?

I suppose there is some false feeling of security or of having control of life if we have control of our clutter. If we control our clutter, we control our environment and thus our life. Right?? Probably not, but at least it feels good.

I was intrigued by this post from Wife Mom Maniac’s blog: Appreciating Messes. I guess I am not the only one who struggles with this issue.

This post brings TV watching into the mix. What do kids do when they aren’t watching TV? Often, they are making a mess! The cardboard rocket ship in the living room, the seemingly random collected objects that are somehow absolutely essential for the “show” that they are producing, the “craft” project they have dreamed up, etc. It is much easier and tidier to plop them down in front of the tube for an afternoon. I love the discussion of mess and what to do (or not do) about it on Sandra Dodd’s site. It’s definitely worth a read.

If we are going to choose not to have TV in our lives, then I guess we must accept some degree of clutter. After all, those highly imaginative games that I love to see my children play often involve mess. So I’d better just get over it and be happy that there is a plastic bat on my kitchen floor and a “rocket ship” in my living room!

PS. Sorry to expose you all to that truly terrifying photo of our playroom closet. I think we shall be having a dreaded “Playroom Tidy” this weekend!

Also, a big THANK YOU to Toddler Planet for her endorsement of my blog. It is so exciting to finally have some readers find me!

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6 Responses to “Mess”

  1. Jim says:

    Mom of Three. I love your writing. Your story below of the mom counter is one I will share with my sister, as well as your url.

  2. Mom of three says:

    Thanks Jim! Your post makes me feel like the time I have spent on this blog is all worthwhile. I hope your sister enjoys it too!

  3. whymommy says:

    Actually, I’m intrigued by your picture. We almost bought that bin system this weekend, but went with a closed system instead (basically bins on shelves, so as not to collect as much dust). Do your kids pull things out of the bins, or do you find that they’re simply forgotten about? We constantly struggle with mess over here too, for much the same reasons (although I admit that we’ve been allowing TV into our lives more since my terrible bedrest pregnancy).

    When you find solutions, post! I’d love to hear what helps tame it, other than simply learning to accept it … which I agree with you, is hard!

  4. Mom of three says:

    Hi whymommy,
    As you can see, the bin system does not always work as planned! They are good for storing all the weird odds and ends that seem to appear, but they are usually a mess. I have always blamed it on the fact that we keep the bins in the closet. The closet is always messier than the room (since it is just so easy to close the door and ignore it!).

    The kids do take the bins out and use the contents, but they don’t always get put back properly.

    We have some storage boxes on shelves in the playroom itself and those usually stay more organized.

    Maybe I will do a post about organizing. I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on the subject. What a struggle!

  5. Susan Helene Gottfried says:

    I’ve given up and now just apologize to the cleaning lady for the stuff everywhere! However, it IS true that as the kids get older, the mess decreases.

    Besides, a messy (not dirty!) house is a sign of a happy family. It shows that the kids love being there. Yesterday, #1 decided he’d rather spend the day at home than go somewhere fun — the Children’s Museum, the Science Center.

    I took that as a compliment and tried not to nag about needing to clean up the clutter before the cleaning lady arrived.

    Here from the carnival!

  6. […] this is not another post about my two favorite obsessions mess and […]

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