I often laugh when someone tells me “they are nervous for me to come to their house” since I do design work. Or if they apologize for “a mess”, which oftentimes, is about a million times less than the one I left before coming to their house. Now you may want to imagine my home is in pristine magazine shoot ready condition every hour of the day, but it is not. Far from it. Let’s be honest – I had four kids in less than four years – unless I want to completely ignore my children, it’s fairly hard to get anything done around here. When we had our first child, and so quickly (and surprisingly!) conceived the next one, I mentally had to make a decision. I can be overbearing, uptight, and unrelenting about keeping a perfectly tidy home, or I can relax and enjoy my kids, teaching them to be clean and organized, but not so rigid that it is a total downer for our family. My discipline in getting them to perform certain tasks peaks and wanes during different time periods, but I do believe in the importance of an imperfectly perfect home.
One of the best pieces of advice I received before having children was “if your house is perfect after having children, you are doing something wrong.” Now I have since discovered there are people this does not apply to that have gotten confused looks on their faces when I have said this: 1. people who have full-time help, 2. people whose mothers live next door, or it feels like it. If you fall into either category, I’m happy for you.
Although I haven’t shown you photos of my boys room since it is not quite finished, I thought I would share a real-life snippet with you. Before we moved into this house, and before even the electricity was turned on, I would come at night with a flashlight and paint. One of my projects was painting a wall in my boys room with chalkboard paint and then using a chalk pen to draw a world map on it. (don’t be overly impressed, I did not free hand it! I had a projector.) I then bought cute little white shelves from Home Goods that I attached to the wall in various places to display this darling series, the “This is” books by Miroslav Sasek.
In my happy little world, I envisioned my children cheerfully taking the books one at a time off of the shelves and asking me to read to them about various parts of their magical world. Truth be told, within weeks, the shelves were off of the wall, and the books on their regular bookshelf. Of course, I was irritated. Until the other day, when my little boys, ages 4 and 5 now, took my hand into the room they share to show me their creation.
“Look Mom, it’s like the museum!”, they said, beaming.
I was so impressed…and proud…and happy. We had spent most of the afternoon that day painting and talking about their designs, and they took it upon themselves to get tape, take all of their work upstairs, and place them just so. Of course, my favorites are the ones where they draw people, typically family. Notice the belly buttons. We rarely wear shirts around here apparently.
This one is just the best, though my oldest was distressed upon realizing he had forgotten the two “M’s” in Mommy and the two “D’s” in Daddy. I told him just for that day, I would be one “M” Mommy, and Daddy would be one “D”, too. He felt better after that.
It was yet another moment I was humbled by my children and also so grateful I get to have them and see their beautiful art and watch their minds grow. Because certainly, these little drawings will all too soon be replaced by sports star and rock band posters. (gasp!) As much as I want to create a beautiful life for my family (isn’t that what we are all striving for?), it can be so difficult to not get caught up in bills, and dishes, and laundry, and diapers, and…mess…everywhere. For you to clean up.
Yes, I love a well-organized and lovely home, but for happy daily living, for memories of an art-filled wall (since let’s face it, chances of them remembering my perfect little wall with my perfect little shelves with books are slim), I’ll take my perfectly imperfect home.
P.S. I did not style these photos whatsoever. The boys arranged all of their artwork and taped it without me knowing, and they also made their own beds. Hey, even though you can’t see the gazillion Thomas trains and tracks on the floor of their room in these pictures, they’ve learned something, right?!