A beautiful mess

Want a clean kitchen? Dine out. While waiting at an intersection yesterday, a semi-truck with that tagline caught my eye. I mean, isn’t that the truth?! In fact, let’s take it one step further. Want a clean house? Don’t get married and have kids. Okay, maybe that was like three steps further.  

I’m overly organized and I like things neat. And clean. I was incredibly meticulous growing up. I kept things tidy and everything had its exact placement. Whether on a dresser, a desk or hanging in the closet. {My insatiable need to have things perfectly placed and spaced actually got out of control and I was eventually diagnosed with OCD, a disorder that I treated and struggled with for many years. And while those dark days are far less daunting now, it’s a part of my personality that just is so I’ve learned to embrace it}. Growing up, my bedroom had a ledge that wrapped around the room and I placed picture frames, mementos and other knick-knacks along it, carefully spacing everything. My best friends would lovingly rearrange the items when I would leave to go to the bathroom or run upstairs momentarily. And since they knew me so well they would often move them just enough that I would recognize their displacement. Don’t worry. They did it out of love, not harm. So you can laugh. It’s okay. I did too, most of the time. Because I knew it was neurotic and abnormal. But deep inside it was absolutely controlling me and if I didn’t laugh about it, it would have paralyzed me entirely. And I couldn’t afford that kind of disruption to life. So I laughed along. And I wondered how in the world I would make it through college with a roommate(s) and eventually, how I would handle being a wife and a mom. Well, I more than survived college. I had some pretty awesome roommates who accepted me. And now, I have even better roommates, who I affectionately call my husband and kids. And they are more understanding and accepting than anyone.

Which brings me to that whole clean kitchen, clean house thing. If you’re a wife and/or a mom then you know that clean becomes a very relative term once your family grows. It now means shoving things into a drawer when you need to clear off some counter space. It means throwing things away instead of saving everything. Because if you really need it later on, you’ll probably just go out and buy another. It means temporarily wiping up the juice that dribbled onto the floor, with your sock. And it means leaving the toys out because it’s a wasted effort to put them anywhere else. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still pretty scrupulous with my cleaning but I have shortcuts. I give myself grace. And over time I have become a self-proclaimed organized mess aficionado. Every now and then it gets the best of me and I go a little crazy cleaning up and de-cluttering our home. But for the most part, I’ve just learned that it comes with the territory. When my son was born and I found myself knee deep in the trenches of {single} motherhood, I quickly realized my neatness and major efforts to keep a clean home were fading fast. Because that whole baby thing? Yeah. They tend to squish that discipline. Babies are born to teach us about life and love. And for me, one of my first lessons was learning to give up control. Or at the very least, loosen the grip.

Your house will be messy. It will get dirty. And most of the time you’ll have no idea how you accumulated so much stuff.

A beautiful mess
This is currently our kitchen island. For real. 

It’s kind of the script of life. And one that I’ve stopped trying to stay ahead of. Instead I just walk alongside the mess and tend to it before it gets out of hand. Which is about as much of the perfection that I can give up. If you’re one for staying on top of it, more power to you! If you’re one for looking in the rearview mirror, more power to you! Because it doesn’t really matter. Life is about the moments. Not the mess. So tear up your kitchen. Eat at home. And then step back and admire the masterpiece you have created. I guarantee it’s a beautiful one.



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