I posted a picture on instagram recently of my kids playroom, toys scattered all around and no one but their Mother interested in cleaning up! We've all been there, right? A mess all around and a shortage of helpers just waiting to jump in? Posting it and reading comments from friends made me think about a few things.
When I post pictures like this on my blog, it may seem like we live in a pretty organized way. For the most part everything has its place and it looks pretty clutter-free. It's certainly not magazine-cover worthy, but it's looking about as good as gets. We get to enjoy our home like this after the kids have gone to bed for about 30 minutes until we collapse ourselves and start another day. OR when we have guests over, and we've killed ourselves to live in a much cleaner state than normal, careful to wipe every surface down and find a home for every toy. I like it when my house is like this but the honest truth is that really, it rarely looks this good!
This is a more realistic kind of look for us.
Laundry covering our couch...
...toys in piles, in various states of play.
It would be dreamy if I walked in here and always had a cozy throw to grab and a few pillows behind my back. Doesn't that sound great? Who wouldn't want to kick their feet up and settle in for some conversation or a good book??
In reality, there is rarely a seat that is clutter free and ready to enjoy. On most days you have to dig a little to find the cushion to sit on and even then, there's no guarantee that something isn't stuffed in the sides of the cushion or on the ottoman where your feet would love to be! In this picture, I can't even blame it on the kids...that would be my stuff all over the place.
I shared this picture of our new sheets, approximately 5 minutes after I made our bed at 7 am. It looked so nice, I love the new darker blue and the way it looks with that robin's egg blue.
I enjoyed it for about 2 minutes before it looked like this for the rest of the day!
And that toy pic I originally posted? Here it is.
As you can see, my kids were having a great day playing with aaaaallllll of their things!
And actually when I look at this, it's not so bad. These are mostly little things, the big stuff is actually put away.
Why am I showing you all of this??? Because I realized you mostly see these spaces when everything is neat and tidy, organized and basically not played with. And while there is nothing wrong with that, I realized I don't want you to get the wrong impression of us.
Because we do really live here. And we aren't unlike you. My kids don't make their beds, they don't always come running when I ask them to clean up and everything we own doesn't "match."
Despite my best efforts, tacky things invade my once darling spaces and almost nothing ever looks like I intended it after I walk out of the room.
We have odd things in every room, like these two pieces of wood that belong somewhere, I just don't know where??
And as often as I dress my kids in all the cute clothes we have been given, Carter still insists on running around in a pull-up, no matter what the temperature outside!
My mirrors and all the windows have tons of little handprints, smears and smudges on them and when I go to great lengths to clean them, it lasts all of 5 minutes before someone is pressing their nose against the glass, again!
It's really easy to post pictures like this and give the impression that everything is amazing over here, we have bowls brimming with golden apples and cookbooks that I cook from every night. With this digital world of social media, it's pretty easy to stage pictures and make everything look just a little more artsy than it actually is. This photo isn't a lie, that's actually what it looks like on my countertop right now...
But unless I pan back to show you the bigger picture, you'd never know that my stove is brimming with dirty pans, that I have 2 pieces of bacon left on the counter from breakfast 6 hours ago, or that I'm hiding a package of candy from the kids next to the crockpot. THAT my friends is reality!
When we live day to day we make messes and everything is not perfect. Sometimes I'm diligent to clean up right away, sometimes it sits in disarray for a day and I move the laundry off the couch so I can lay down and watch TV. Yes, I'm admitting that, we even watch TV of all things :)
Staging a photo is one thing, but staging a life is another. I love writing about our home and taking pictures and sharing stories. Somewhere in NE Iowa, my Mom is shaking her head right now and is about to say "I told you so!" after reading that. She always told me I should major in Journalism and write about Interior Design for a magazine like Better Homes and Gardens. *ahem* She may have had a point! Anyway, I love to do this and this "31 Days on Home" series has been a fun one for me. But I would be remiss if I left you with the impression that our home is the most important thing or that we've somehow figured out how to have kids and a home that is never dirty! We haven't.
Our trash piles up just like yours and there is ALWAYS something that needs attention or another room with a "project." They really never end, do they??
As much as I love order and design and beautiful spaces, I love these three way more. I love that this is their home too and that we all get to live here together. Relaxing and unwinding really doesn't come naturally to me. I don't sit still very well and I have a hard time doing nothing. But I'm married to a man who helps me unwind and gives me lots of grace and permission to just chill. I'm grateful that he never comes home and demands that the house look better or wonders what on earth I've done all day? He often comes home and tells me to sit down with him, gets on the floor with the kids and then helps me tackle some disaster area before we go to bed.
I love the little shoes that pile up and even the toys I find tucked in the oddest places. I love them because they are reminders of the BLESSINGS God has given me and the privilege of a home brimming with life! I won't lie, sometimes I'm bugged by it all and I get sick of picking it all up. But really when I start to think about what life would be like without the messes? That's a life I don't really want to imagine...
Maybe you assumed all of this and you've caught on to our reality because you know me or you've come to my house before. But in case you ever had a delusional thought and wondered if our house was always picked up based on my social media usage, please let me put that to rest for you! Don't be fooled, we're just like you and our home is too. I think a home that is lived in and even messy, may say more about the people who live there than one that is always pristine and perfect. It's exhausting trying to keep up with the latest and greatest everything or trying to maintain a standard that is unrealistic. I'm a work in progress, but that is one truth that marriage and motherhood have taught me. And maybe my own Mom too, who never had a problem turning down a nap in place of cleaning all afternoon. After all these years and two kids, I get it now. I so get it...
This is post number 20 friends, and on that note, I'm kicking my feet up for a nap!