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Let Them Make Messes

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a bit of a neat freak. Messes stress me out (this is one of the top reasons I now work in an office outside of the home). I'm not in love with muddy sneakers, sticky faces or dirty hands. I prefer my clothing to be spotless, and if I'm honest, prefer a polished, and well put together look. In reality, messes are part of my everyday life. I have beautiful children, an amazing husband, who all make messes, and I am even known to make the occasional mess, myself.

When I was a new mom, I was very strict with my son regarding messes. If we dared to make a mess, we immediately cleaned it up. Toys were taken out and played with one at a time, and everything had its own place to be stored when not in use. In turn, my son is very much like me- routine driven, likes to be organized, and prefers not to procrastinate. If he makes a mess, it's usually from a pile of LEGOs and they get put away before bedtime each night.

Enter my daughter, a two-year-old tornado of energy, and crazy-mess making. In less than 60 seconds, she has the ability to pull every book off the shelves, remove toy bins from their cubbies, dump them upside down, and pile every pillow and baby doll in the middle of the floor- from room to room. 

I am much more laid back as a parent than I was eight years ago. I had a lot of one on one time with my son when I stayed at home with him, and we had so much fun together. I also have a lot of fun with my daughter, and we make a lot of messes together. We even let them lie sometimes. She loves to paint, so we do a lot of that, and I don't flinch when she decides to paint her face or even my own.

A few years ago, I realized that I was spending so much time planning, organizing, and constantly picking up toys and cleaning up messes, that I was really missing out on making memories with my loved ones. I want to spend every second I have with my kiddos because they're growing up faster than I ever imagined they would. I want them to remember that their mom was goofy and fun, rather than a nit-picking neat freak.

The messes? They do get cleaned up- eventually. I do a last sweep through the house after the kids go to bed, picking things up, putting those last few dishes into the dishwasher, etc. Some bigger messes get cleaned up on the weekends, and if I have to look at them all week long, so be it. Playing, laughing, learning, and spending time together is worth much more than a spotless home.

How do you handle messes? Do you prefer to clean things up right away, or go with the flow and get to them whenever you get to them?

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