What is an “Ideal Home”? Is it one where everything is clean, nothing is out of place and no one dare sit down for fear of disturbing the sofa cushions? Or is it one where everyone feels warm and welcome, safe and loved? I have been pondering this question a lot recently. I spend a lot of time at home; I am, after all, currently a stay-at-home mother.
Now, I have Serious control issues when it comes to the state of my home. My sister can testify that I would yell at her for sitting on my bed and messing up my covers when I was seven for heaven’s sake. My Beloved Husband still teases me about making the bed – “if the bed’s made kids, it means Mummy is coping”. I do not like mess. On the other hand, I have been in homes where my teacup was whisked away and washed up before I had even swallowed the last gulp of tea. This did not feel welcoming. I do know there will always be more mess, dirty dishes, stickers on the floor, laundry, etc. It comes back to that Zen stuff I’ve been reading. I cannot prevent mess so why exhaust myself trying?
I am very Serious about my children’s happiness though, and children make a MESS. Messy play is in fact developmentally important. They need to play with sand, water, paint and playdough. They need toys and puzzles and crayons. Inevitably, these get spread around. My son is two; as far as he is concerned the kitchen floor is enhanced and beautified by the addition of one of his tractor stickers to a central tile. An aeroplane and a fish add interest to the cupboard doors. Who am I to argue? His opinion about what constitutes beauty is surely as valid as mine.
Can I learn to love mess? Now that really is a tall order! I find myself wishing that tidy, clean, ordered play could be developmentally valuable. I clearly have a long way to go with this Zen thing.