Embracing the Mess

Confession: my house is a wreck. So, if you’re looking on tips to keep a clean house this probably isn’t the blog for you. However, a good chunk of what looks like a big mess (besides the things that are actually a mess, like the constant pile of to-be-folded laundry) is actually a carefully calculated project-in-progress of Little Girl. Who am I to argue?

Play in progress

It looks like a mess, right? Well, the shark is calling for help because the squirrel and the person fell off the helicopter landing pad when they were trying to get to the rocks "in the water." The frogs are asleep on the helicopter landing pad and don't know that the squirrel and the person need help. At least, that is what I gleaned from overhearing Little Girl's play. See, it's not a mess, it's a story. A weird story, but a story all the same.

This is why I have decided that I am going to embrace the mess. In contained places in the house, Little Girl is going to have free rein to do whatever it is that she does, and even keep her little projects and games out for the next day. Living spaces will be picked up before bed, but on her train table and the carpet in her room she can have her toys in whatever state she wants.

Am I creating a monster? Maybe. My problem is this: she creates elaborate scenarios that span multiple days with these little toys. She places them just so and the next day gets up and picks up the story exactly where she left off. I fear that forcing her to put them away before she’s truly done with them would hamper her creative play. I know that when I’m making something, I hate putting it away before it’s finished because it’s a pain to get everything out again (thank God for my long-suffering husband who puts up with me).

So, do you think that I am doing my children a disservice by not making cleaning a priority, or am I fostering creativity and free-thinking?

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6 thoughts on “Embracing the Mess

  1. it seems the person without children is the first to comment 😀 but as a child of a fastidiously neat mother, let me just say what you’re doing is awesome. i think you knowing the difference between actual mess and creative mess is more than enough. hopefully, she’ll grow up to be a fiction writer like me. we’re a bit strange but very affectionate 😀

    • Thanks! I don’t think you need to have kids to know what kids need – you just need to remember being one 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement! I’d love if she became a writer; she certainly has stories to tell!

  2. I LOVE what your daughter is doing here! How imaginative! This is exactly how we’d hope our children would play, creating semi-lifelike scenarios with their toys. I think a bit of a mess in support of this type of play is a small price!

    • Thank you! Listening to her play by herself is my all-time favorite form of entertainment. I feel like I learn so much, too. She’s teaching me how to play and tell stories and all those things I used to know how to do all over again.

  3. I chuckled inwardly when I read this, because Isaac does the exact same thing; sometimes on very large scales. When there’s boxes, stools and stuffed animals all stacked in some sort of (supposedly) crucial order, it’s difficult to manuever around it, and tempting to want it cleaned up. Like you though, I generally try to give him a lot of room for his creativity; I think it’s good. Even so, I suppose everyone draws the line somewhere. There are days when I just need a clean living room 🙂

    • Ha, I can see it now! I definitely understand needing a clean living room sometimes (I’d like to have one when we have company, for example). Not that I actually ever have one, but the thought is nice. 🙂

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