why having kids means having messes

This morning I walked into my bathroom, shut the door and simply sighed.

I wasn’t trying to escape. I wasn’t counting to ten. I wasn’t even frazzled yet.

I sighed because the room looked like I never cleaned it less than 12 hours prior.

There were towels on the floor and handprints on the counter and water splotches all over the mirror and a soap container spilled over and a pair of tennis shoes in the corner and two wet teeshirts on the floor next to the hamper. Yes, next to it – at least not in it like normal where they sit there underneath a dry towel all damp and turning the whole thing into a mildewy mess.

Sometimes it feels so tiring this cycle and rhythm that we find ourselves in.

Make the bed, mess the bed. Clean the kitchen, mess the kitchen. Put the clothes away, take them out – and in the case of my boys – leave them on the floor. Make dinner, clean dinner. Drive to school, pick up.

I fold the teeshirts in the Konmari folding way and my ten year old still pulls them out and tells me I have nothing to wear. Some mornings I find a pile of teeshirts on the floor next to the trundle bed with the drawer left open. I put them away. Refolded them. And then decided enough was enough and just put them in the drawer.

My name is called dozens of times. I’m hungry. He looked at me wrong. There’s nothing to wear (again). I don’t want to go school. I don’t like this dinner.


It’s like the plastic dishes too. We stack them. They fall over and out and all over the floor.

There are half drunk glass of apple cider on my table too. No one will claim that it’s theres and then at the end of the night I’m standing there in the kitchen dumping what feels like money down the sink drain. Sometimes I’ll even drink one of those warm glasses of who know who it is cider just to feel like it’s not a waste.

We lose socks. And break pencils. And can never find a sharp pencil or the sharpener when it’s time to do schoolwork.

We spill milk and sometimes use permanent marker when it was thought to be washable.

There are handprints on the windows. Even though I wash them. And it’s always super noticeable when someone stops over and the sun attempts to stream through my now frosted looking glass.

My car has crumbs in the back and a Fruit Roll Up Wrapper or two in the slot behind the chair. There are a couple books, a pair of shoes and a couple Starbucks cups. Okay, well, those are mine. But it’s not pristine. It’s not horrible either, but I’d probably have to brush the seat off for you if you road with me – even though I just vacuumed it out.

And then life throws in our faces what we think are the curve balls.


The sick kids (Read my latest ear infection saga of the urgent care post). The marriage stuff. The kids that don’t listen. The kids that don’t get up. The kids that lose their homework. The kids that make messes. The tired mom. The late bills. The overflowing washing machines or dryers that stop working. The crayon that makes it’s way into the dryer and onto the shirt needed in an hour. Snowstorms. Thunderstorms. Kids being afraid of animals and then the trip to the park is ruined. Extra work. The kids being well just kids. A whole bunch of stuff that stops the moving in sync train of motherhood and derails us for a bit.

What if we weren’t being derailed? What if the point is that most of life is of trying to get from point a to b or get through the day but even though we know the target that the path will probably look like nothing we hoped for. Do you know why?

When there are kids in our houses and lives our houses and lives will have imprints of kids.

Yes, that.

They live here. They add personality. They add chaos.

This is where we teach them. Where they learn about putting shoes by the door. It’s where we give them the beauty of the opportunity to explore. It’s where they learn about keeping the room clean and shutting the door. And that markers have different strengths. And about respect. Or to wipe the sink down.

You know what? I will miss the handprints on the window. Or the crazy leftovers in the bathroom on the counters. Or the hand drawn art on the wall. Or the kindergartener with the bad dream that slept next to me and proceeded to kick me in the back all night long.

I think maybe we just need to start seeing those things for what they are.

Imprints in the normal.


Motherhood is a whole bunch of improvising and hurry hurry and making things up and making dinner out of nothing and walking into rooms that once were cleaned only to hear look at our amazing creation and us pausing to not see the mess but to see them instead.

So tonight or today when you walk in the bathroom and see the splotches on your just cleaned mirror remember. Or when you find the sorted toys dumped in a pile. Or the markers with lids off. Or sketches on the walls. Or piles of teeshirts wadded in the corner. Wrappers under beds. Kids that say I don’t know whose that is and a whole bunch of doing the same thing over and over and over again.

Those are imprints.

There are messes

Of kids. And motherhood.

It’s a season. A journey.

And from what I hear it’s a short one.

I just need to remember that on days like today.


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5 Responses to “why having kids means having messes”

  1. February 15, 2016

    Kimberly Reply

    I need this today… Thank You :)

  2. February 15, 2016

    Joni Reply

    Yes! Thanks for writing just as it is!

  3. February 15, 2016

    Kate Reply

    Amen to the never ending cycle of messes and cleaning up! It’s so frustrating at times. Thank you for the gentle reminder of the beauty reflected in those messes. It’s so true, we have to remember how fleeting these years of motherhood are, though they don’t always feel that way in the moment. The days are long, but the years are short. I’m very near to deciding to be a stay-at-home mom for a couple of years while my kids are small, because I don’t want to look back someday feeling regret for having missed too much! As always, thank you for your honest words.

  4. February 15, 2016

    Sabryna Deluz Reply

    That was so beautiful and matter of fact. Thank you

  5. February 15, 2016

    Courtney Reply

    I always need this reminder. Though, I must say, it’s easier for me to let it be than my husband. He stresses us all out making our home look like we don’t LIVE in it. Maybe one day he will let this sink in and let it be too.

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