Being a mum is messy. It just is.
From the laundry piles that get knocked over to the shampoo being poured out in the bathtub (‘I use your bubbles, Mummy!’) to the diapers and the sheet changes and the oatmeal everywhere. The books that get thrown off the shelf despite constant reminders to treat books gently. The basket of stuffed animals that gets dumped out in the search for one little baby elephant. The puzzles that get dumped and then forgotten about it.
It’s overwhelming, sometimes. It’s pull-your-hair-out-why?! The laundry hamper is full again and just yesterday you gave yourself a gold star for being all caught up.
And then sometimes, when you feel brave and just a little crazy, you invite mess.
“Hey girls, let’s make cloud dough!!” And you squish and they squish and you make cloud dough castles and they fight over the same toy and you make peace. Again.
Or on a dreary January day,you say yes to their request to blow bubbles because summertime is really quite a long time away even for you and you’re the grown up. So you blow bubbles and they laugh and laugh and the bubble mixture gets spilt everywhere. You needed to wash the floor anyway.
And sometimes, you leave all logical reasoning behind and fingerprint. There is mess. But it is colourful and it is everywhere. On their arms and faces, on the table and the chairs. The little plastic animals are covered in it (‘they wanted to have a bath, Mummy’) and the paper is soaked through. You needed to spot wash the walls and the floor anyways.
Sometimes I lose perspective and I ask my 3 year old why she can’t be ten? Couldn’t she just sit still for half an hour, by herself, without any conversation? I get frustrated with my little toddler when she just dumps the puzzles over and then walks away, doesn’t she know that’s not the point?
And then I catch myself. The dumping is the point to her. She loves the sensation of seeing the wooden pieces fall and she waits for me to clean it all up, so she can do it again.
The books that are thrown down on the floor are shared between the girls, my big girl making sure her little sister has books as well. And she ‘reads’ the story with her little sister on her lap.
It’s beautiful and messy and incredible. I get to watch these little people create and imagine and become. It’s actually quite an honour.
They live life to the fullest and sometimes that means sitting right in the rainbow coloured rice sensory bin instead of quietly running their fingers through it. It means they change their clothes frequently because they had an idea for a different outfit and who I am to stand in the way and say no? They feel the cold and they know the teddy bears all want to be in bed, with blankets on. And they go on a hunt for the baby elephant because they know the best place for it is right beside the mama elephant.
Sometimes I see the mess, the smells, the never-ending cycle of laundry. But sometimes (more frequently, I hope) I see the kindness, the love, the creativity, the boundless imagination, and the zest for life. And I smile and say yes. To the bubbles and the finger paint and the storytime and the games we play to clean it all up. I kiss my little people and tell them how beautiful and kind they are. I take pictures. And at the end of the day, I am done. Tired and filled up and I put another load of painting clothes in the washer.