I have four kids, and I have to tell you… my life is a total mess.
Although I do manage to get a daily shower, I hardly ever dry my hair or put on makeup anymore. My wardrobe mostly consists of leggings, sweats, and t-shirts (oftentimes oversized ones belonging to my husband).
Usually, I eat my “meals” standing up. I have to remind myself to drink water (instead of coffee or wine) and eat fruits and vegetables, which I often steal off the kids’ plates before I do the dishes.
Our house is covered in dust, jelly, and discarded socks. It looks as though the playroom heaved its contents haphazardly all over the living room floor and an art cabinet exploded onto the dining room table. We need new furniture; it’s mismatched and worn. But we can’t figure out the point in buying anything nice since the kids and cats would probably destroy it anyway.
So, in short, my life is a total mess.
But it’s OK. And here’s why.
Our house is brimming with life.
I really cannot imagine being in a more life-affirming season. Four people depend on me to survive.
My days are spent making sure my kids have their basic human needs met, feel safe and loved, and maybe even learn something. They couldn’t make it without me.
Our house is full of raw, real emotion—belly-laughter, distraught tears, groans of frustration. The kids’ main goal in any given moment is to have fun.
Now, I don’t do a lot in the way of conventional homemaking—you know, fancy cooking or planning arts and crafts projects. But I create an environment where I hope my kids can feel free to be their authentic selves, to learn life lessons and grow each day. And that is truly important work. So what if we’re a little messy while it gets done?
This is just a temporary time.
It’s only a short while that my kids will be this small. I have seen how fast my nearly-seven-year-old has grown, and I know it will seem like an instant before my three-month-old is her size. We’re in survival mode a lot around here, and I think that’s OK.
Soon, the kids will all be more independent and less… sticky. And, if I do my job right, they’ll help out around here more, too.
Then, I’ll be able to put time into decorating my house HGTV-style, deep-cleaning, and organizing. This is just not that time.
It’s futile to clean up.
If I dolled myself up, I’d just get spit-up or pee on me, anyway. And besides, who wants to run around after babies wearing nice clothes?
If I spent my whole day cleaning up after the kids, it would be a complete waste of time. My two-year-old will dump out a container of blocks as soon as I’ve picked up the last one. My kids will bring home piles of work from school. They all seem to leave about as much food in crumbs on the floor or smeared on the table as they consume during mealtime.
I get the basics done, but trying to make everything immaculate all the time would be, as they say, like brushing my teeth while eating Oreos.
And, quite frankly, no one expects it.
I doubt I could find a single person who would stop over here and expect my house to be sparkling clean. It would probably actually seem odd if a mother of four kids under seven kept a perfect house.
Granted, it makes me feel better if we have friends over and the place is not a total disaster. But I truly don’t think anyone actually expects it out of me.
So, yeah. My life is a total mess.
But it comes with the territory. It’s a mess that’s made because six people live in this house—really live. And if I had to choose between this life or a neat one… well, honestly, I think there are some moments when I would pick the neat one.
But this one is pretty darn beautiful. And you know what? When I’m older and my kids have grown, I’ll bet you anything I will look back longingly at this mess and wish I was living in it once again.