My house used to be spotless almost all the time. Honest. Brian and I had always been pretty minimalist by nature, enjoying the serenity of an uncluttered atmosphere.
When I got pregnant with J, I remember setting up his nursery just so. It was perfect, I thought, and I could just imagine him sitting peacefully in his beautiful crib, after I dressed him in an outfit pulled from his perfectly organized (by style and by type of outfit) closet.
Then he was born. Those first few months, when he wasn’t mobile yet, our house still felt the same. We’d pull out toys for him to play with, then tuck them neatly away once we were done. Even the big swing could be folded and propped against the wall, out of the way. I felt pretty triumphant, honestly – See, I thought, I can have a child and still be organized! I don’t know who I was proclaiming this to – myself, I guess – but I took a sense of pride in knowing that I could do this mom thing and still be that organized person I was pre-children.
J is now almost three, and if you saw our house today you wouldn’t believe we were the same people from the house several years back. As I turn away from the computer now, I see a floor littered with LEGOs. A large truck lays overturned near my feet, and board books are piled haphazardly right near the bookshelf from which they were pulled.
C is completely mobile now, running all over the place, and his & J’s main goal each day seems to be to have as many toys out at once as possible. Brian and I can get the living room completely clean at night only for it to return to a disastrous state minutes after the boys are up and going.
I couldn’t tell you exactly when this shift in our living style changed – somewhere between the mobility of J and the birth of C, I guess. If I could have seen into the future from those pre-kids days, I think I’d be aghast at the state of our house. But now? I’ll admit, I have days where the clutter drives me nuts. I’m still that organized person by nature. The majority of the time, though, I can look around at the chaos and smile.
Those LEGOs on the floor? Those make me think about the boys playing together and actually sharing, hopefully starting a brotherly bond that will last them a lifetime. That overturned truck? It reminds me of the creative little boy who decided our living room was a jungle for the truck to explore. That pile of books? They bring to mind all the nights of sitting with the boys snuggled in our laps reading together before bedtime.
When the boys are grown, I’m sure my house will be neat once again. But I am pretty sure that when that time comes, I’ll sorely miss the cluttered living room, the sound of little feet scurrying around the house, and the laughter that accompanies it all. If you asked me now, I’d choose a messy house any day.