Perfectly Imperfect

AStoriedStyle.comI 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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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?!

Until tomorrow!

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Written by Grace

18 Responses to “Perfectly Imperfect”

  1. Lisa Dunn February 5, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    SO Precious! I’ll take this opportunity to say that I have so enjoyed reading your blog. You are so wonderfully talented, and obviously a person who values inner beauty as much as outward! Blessings to your sweet family! -Lisa

    • Grace February 5, 2013 at 9:27 am #

      Hi Lisa, thank you so so much for your kind words. I’m so happy you are enjoying reading, and I am grateful you took the time to comment! Blessings to you also, G

  2. Papa Buck February 5, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    I think it is very interesting that everyone they have drawn has a navel. I certainly don’t include that detail when I draw.

    • Grace February 5, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      Papa Buck, we have an exposed navel policy around here, didn’t you know? xoxo

  3. Sara February 5, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    Love this post! A very good reminder to stop what you’re doing and enjoy your children. Sometimes I need that reminder! A friend recommended your blog and I’m so glad she did. I love reading it and being inspired to decorate in new ways 🙂

    • Grace February 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      Sara, I am so with you, I remind myself of the fleeting time when I get that flustered feeling! I’m so happy you are enjoying the blog and grateful to your friend for recommending it! Thanks so much for spending a little time with me each day! G

  4. Jennifer February 5, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    What a sweet post, Grace! I love that little peek into your life and can totally identify with having to remember to appreciate the “perfectly imperfect” in life right now. When I’m frustrated with toys all over the floor, I often think how sad I’ll be when there are no more toys to pick up, and my perspective changes almost immediately!

    • Grace February 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      Totally Jennifer! I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for taking the time to comment. xoxo

  5. Kat February 5, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Loved this post. Loved the organic, beautiful display your boys created all by themselves in their room. They caught that special talent from watching you arrange. I mean Ellis is a pro at arranging bookshelves! Our children bless us everyday in some way, but sometimes we don’t see it. I’m glad you were able to see this moment and to capture and document it in such a beautiful way.

    • Grace February 5, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      Kat, ha! Yes, Ellis is quite the rearranger, artist, and photographer. Thank you so much for your kind, thoughtful comment – I really appreciated it. xoxo. Love, G

  6. Jodi February 5, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Love this post! What a sweet gift your boys gave you!

    • Grace February 5, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

      Thank you so much, Jodi! Yes, they can be dears sometimes. I’m so happy you are reading – thank you, and thank you for taking the time to comment! G

  7. Amy Hackworth February 6, 2013 at 12:37 am #

    Hi Grace! I love this! Our boys, now 6 and 9, did something very similar a few years ago and I was SO proud. It’s still one of my favorite parent memories! I also have to tell you that I bought a chair at a thrift store this week. Justin was skeptical, but I assured him that you would approve. It’s kind of a chunky bamboo cane chair with a cushion that needs recovering. Anyway, as soon as I said I thought Grace would think it was ok, he got on board. Thanks for your vicarious wisdom!

    • Grace February 11, 2013 at 9:24 am #

      Amy, you are too adorable! That made me laugh out loud for sure! I’m so happy “you have me in your corner” where Justin is concerned. You guys are so precious, I am so happy to know you! Thanks so much for reading and I’d love to see a photo of your chair when you rehab it! 🙂 xoxo, G

  8. Mommy Chic February 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    I haven’t been keeping up (but doing marathon blog reading tonight since we’re all down with the flu!) and this post just made my heart smile. We have two young boys (3 years and 5 mo) and they’re already so sweet. I love the picture of your boys together. We have a similar one with big brother holding baby up as we all cuddle in bed on a lazy Saturday morning. I will use it to remind them how they loved each other once when they’re older and fighting all the time!

    Love the map wall too! Where did you find a projector to trace the map?

    • Grace February 12, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

      MommyChic, I’m so sorry you had the flu! So terrible! Ahhhh, little boys are pretty wonderful, aren’t they? Congratulations! I’m sure you’re doing a beautiful job. xoxo, G

  9. Erin @ Out on a Limb March 2, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    I love this post! Just found your blog through Emily A. Clark’s Saturday 6. I can so relate. I’m currently a full-time mom to a 4 and a 6 year old and a part-time design student. I often think I’d be horrified to share my imperfect home with my classmates, let alone the blogosphere. I completely understand and recognize the way your boys keep their rooms, because mine do the same. I really do love those moments though when they take pride in their creations. While some days feel long and messy, I know far too soon this stage will be gone. I need to take a deep breath more often and just let it go.

    Thanks for sharing and letting all of us with perfectly imperfect homes off the hook!

    • Grace March 5, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

      Hi Erin, I’m so glad you found me! Yes, with two boys, I know you get it. 😉 I completely understand all of your thoughts…long days, gone all too soon…I remind myself of that all the time, and then the mess doesn’t seem too bad. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and taking the time out of your busy day to comment! G