My House is a Mess—and I'm Fine With It – Kveller
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My House is a Mess—and I’m Fine With It

As Jewish holiday season continues, it’s time for friends and family to gather and celebrate.

I love hosting.

Now, I would love for my home to be presentable at a moment’s notice, but this is just not my reality. My house looks lived-in, and I actually like it. In contrast, I feel a little uncomfortable when I visit homes too pristine, which look like new model homes.

As a kid, I loved visiting model homes (the fake foods in model homes look very realistic. It’s was fun to touch, but I digress). I would make up stories about the 2.5 kids who lived there with their mom and dad.

Now when I walk into a beautifully presentable home I’m thinking, where do I sit? Is it OK to sit? Can I touch anything? Is the food even real?

Here are the signs my house is occupied in by real people:

1) My floors have tiny pieces of cut paper scattered like leftover confetti on New Year’s Eve. My kids are in a big “we can use the scissors” phase. This should be followed by a “we are cleaning up our paper mess” phase, but part two has yet to come to fruition.

2) There are always crumbs on the floor. Always. We don’t have a dog, but I think even if we did, the dog would have a hard time keeping up with the mess my three Tasmanian devils can stir up at mealtime.

3) The kids’ bathroom has bright blue children’s toothpaste smudges in and around the sink all the time.

4) You may find a random pair of 2T/3T princess underwear on the couch, coffee table or by the basement door (international sign for “needs to be washed”). Somehow potty training translated to “leave your underpants anywhere you want to.”

5) Any given bar of soap looks like a piece of modern art my girls are sculpting to examine the existentialist meaning of man and his connection to cleanliness. Using the toilet means getting a lot more hand-washing, aka destroy-the-bar-of-soap time. Guest soap? That’s a joke.

All this is what the home of a happy family looks like to me. One day my girls will not leave their drawings next to uncapped markers or leave glue sticks everywhere like a cat burglar’s calling card. There is happy chaos in my home, and I know it’s momentary.

First the baby dolls, plastic toys and action figures will be replaced with chapter books, then computers and iPads, and finally boxes to pack up their favorite things before moving out. In a flash, we’ll be packing for college (OK technically 13 years from now).

One day, contact with my girls, who presently try to climb back into my womb every chance they get (especially when I’m doing yoga) will be limited to mostly only electronic forms of communication. Will regular mail still exist? Will care packages go electronic?

I could easily wax on about the days my house will be clutter-free again and then switch gears and talk about the good old days when my kids were little and only wanted my attention. The truth is every day is a part of the “good old days,” and the state of my house is just a concrete marker of the season of life I presently reside in.

I don’t want to rush anything. I am trying to soak it all up every day, even the mess.

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