Growing through play

Mess for me is a constant struggle.

I’m still struggling with it three years deep in my motherhood journey.

With two children at home, the mess is constant.

It’s layers of toys on the top of carpet crumbs.

It’s toilet paper roads down the hallway.

It’s finger smudges on the windows up to my hips.

And I know it’s the mess of love, of play, and learning.

I also know, it won’t be forever.

But it makes me feel so stressed some days.

It’s all I can see.

Not the beaming smiles from my children as they tip the toy box out over the floor.

Not the joy they share with each other as they pull the yet-to-be-washed washing out of the basket and scatter it over the floor.

Not the lightbulb moments I bear witness to as they realise pots and pans actually make exciting new sounds when they are played like drums around my feet.

When I am tired, irritable, and strung out, mess is a catalyst for over-stimulation.  

It is a very visual reminder that I’m not on top of things today.

That things are out of my control.

And on these days, I crave to clean.

I pine for order.

I have a deep desire to pick up all the toys, and mess, and remnants of all their fun as I follow behind them.

Some days I do.  So “I must”.

Other days, they don’t allow me the time or space to do so while they are awake. So “I can’t”.

But most days I try really hard not to.  I try to leave their playground, and distract myself from the variety of feelings that come to the surface. So I’m closer to “I don’t need to”.

Because I don’t need to, even if I want to.

Mess is constant, but I know it’s important for us both.

It’s play for them.

It’s growth for me.

It’s learning for us both.

Read next: Dear Motherhood

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