It was a Friday night — our first Friday night as parents. Our newborn son was snuggled up and sleeping on my chest. My husband snapped a picture. I went on to post it on social media with the title of “The New Friday Night Norm.” People commented and one particular comment stuck out to me so much that I still remember it almost nine years later.
A much more experienced mom commented, “Enjoy that! They grow up so fast.” As a sleep-deprived mom, who was figuring out this whole mom thing minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour, I kind of dismissed that comment because I couldn’t think much about the next day at this point . . . let alone many years down the road.
Well, here I am with that almost nine-year-old and two other kiddos as well. Those early days of motherhood feel like yesterday. They are memories I will treasure forever.
As we have added more children to our family, not only did we add people but also things. Lots and lots of things. With three kids, each new birthday comes with new toys and books. As our children have grown, they have become messier and messier. As parents, we do our best to purge toys and clothes that have been outgrown or are no longer used, but it feels like a never-ending battle. At the end of the day, I sometimes look around my living room, or our sun room or God forbid the basement, and I just see mess.
We do what we can to clean up the main areas of our house so our house doesn’t look like a complete disaster. But there are days when it feels completely overwhelming. I guess I had this unrealistic expectation that my house would be beautifully decorated and all of our “stuff” would have its place and there would never be any clutter. Ha! Then reality hits and I know that’s not true and not possible . . . at least not in my house with three kids. My kids are working on learning to clean up their toys and clean up after themselves but there are days when it feels like it will never click.
Sometimes, as I look around and see a mess, it just brings me anxiety and I feel anger that here is yet something else that I need to clean up. But is that how I should feel when my kids are playing — and there is laughter, joy, and togetherness?
Do I want to be the mom who harps on her kids to clean up after themselves or raises her voice because she is not being heard? That is not who I want to be. I have made a shift. I have realized that I can only control so much. Instead of letting it bring me anxiety, I need to embrace the mess and the positivity it can bring.
I have three awesome kids. We have a home where we live, play, and work. We have the means to provide fun games and toys for our family. There will come a day that my kids will be gone and out of the house:
- I will no longer be finding and stepping on Legos
- There will no longer be sticky substances on the floor under my table
- There will no longer be piles of stuffed animals on the floor of my living room
- There will no longer be princess dolls strewn across the couch
And you know what? I will miss it. I will long for the days of having us all under one roof, mess and all. My kids will learn because we will keep teaching. So, for today, I will embrace this time because as my very wise friend told me when my oldest was a baby . . . “Enjoy this time. They grow up fast!”