18 March 2013

Your messes tell your story (with link-up party)

When Daniel was a toddler and Noah was a baby I used to get frustrated with the mess in my house. Those of you who have tried to tidy up with little ones around know what I'm talking about.

Source: someecards.com via Jen on Pinterest

So I tried reframing the experience. I realised that none of the mess I had would be there if I didn't have my beautiful children - and I wouldn't trade them for all the clean houses in the world.

I made a scrapbook layout about it:

 photo evidenceofjoy02_zps494cd706.jpg

Here's the journaling:

 photo evidenceofjoy03_zps4270c778.jpg

 photo evidenceofjoy04_zps61fc4f48.jpg

Do you know what the funny thing is? My kids love photos like that. Anytime I have pictures which show their toys / mess they just pore over them. Because the thing is, your messes change over time. They evolve with your family and with your life. One day it's baby gyms and rattles, the next it's iPods and boat-sized stinky teenage boy sneakers. One day it's sparkly fairy dress-up costumes, the next it's a dining table covered in punches, paper and ribbons as you assemble her wedding invitations.

So why not document your messes? I'm not talking about reveling in filth - let's assume a basic amount of cleaning goes on for hygiene's sake - I'm talking about capturing the details of your family (or just yourself!) living life and make glorious evidence-of-joy messes along the way.

So today I went into the playroom and took a photo of it just as it is.

 photo evidenceofjoy01_zpsedd6e90d.jpg

This mess tells me:
  • Daniel loves reading (that's a pile of his library books on the drawers)
  • the boys both love playing with Lego,
  • Noah enjoys drawing tracks and towns on cardboard boxes, and then driving his cars on them
  • Daniel was so eager to begin playing after school that he came straight in, dumping his school bag where he played
  • (It also tells me I was too conservative with the hot glue on a couple of the drawer labels and some have come off!)

It's not much, but it's a glimpse into my boys' lives that is different to how their space looked a few years ago and differnt to how it will look in years to come.

So now it's your turn. Look for the story in your mess. Seek out the evidence of your joys.

A messy kitchen might show how much you enjoy cooking or baking, and that it is something you are interested in at this stage of your life. You are exploring a talent - that's a blessing. You have mouths to feed - another blessing.

A mound of laundry shows that your family is healthy and active and busy. How lucky we are to have washing machines - think of tackling your piles of washing a hundred years ago and how hard it would be.

Toys underfoot shows that you have little ones in your care, to cuddle and teach. I don't wish back that time (it was hard!) but I do wish I could have my babies back to cuddle again, just for a day.

Crafty bits strewn around show that you have immersed yourself in creating something. Celebrate and capture that.

Piles of papers show that you work hard. Or perhaps you are putting of doing your filing because you have more intersting things to tackle. Maybe you are working out a difficult insurance claim or something similar - record it anyway, even if it's not evidence of joy right now. The joy lies in the fact that it will pass and you will look back and remember and be glad you no longer have to deal with it.

Please share your messes below. If you don't have a blog then I'd love it if you'd drop me an email or leave a comment below. If you'd rather do neither, then please at least consider capturing your mess for yourself to look back on one day. You'll be glad you did.

P.S. This is my first time hosting a link party, so if there are teething problems please bear with me!

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  1. I applaud you for looking at it that way!

  2. Jen, my kids are grown but I do remember those days. The funny thing is today I watched my daughter's puppy while she worked and boy do puppies make a lot of messes.

    I have enjoyed your blog for years. Thanks!

    1. Take a picture - you'll be glad you did :)

  3. Okay, I can't leave you begging. Firstly, I love your spin on it. As I read it yesterday, I was remembering the days of tripping over tiny cars and how my son loved to line up his matchbox collection around the braided rug. Books tucked everywhere may never have left a very intellectual impression but it showed that we could drop everything on a whim and dive into a story even if it was only a picture book. But now my son is an adult and far away training to be a pilot. Since he is moved frequently, he has decided to leave all of his special things here at home for the time being. So when I look around his (former) room (the one I wanted to make pretty for guests), I see uniform bits from his present life, some of those same books, his entire cuddly animal collection going back, well longer than I should say, and remnants of his growing years, the dried flower corsage from the prom, his rowing medals and pet photos. You are right in that the binders of engineering notes under his bed tell me he worked hard for his degree, the piles of souvenir t-shirts in the closet remind me of early morning rows and hours of training. So he is not as many kilometers away as the map tells me. Thank you for letting me turn around my thinking. Because it really ticked me off that I was still stubbing my toes on those binders.

    1. I'm glad that you could see the story in the mess. Thanks so much for coming by to comment!

  4. I don't have a blog to link to but your post really spoke to me. My husband and I adopted a beautiful baby girl in December after many, many years of trying and waiting. I have been so frustrated that our usually neat and tidy home now looks like a bomb went off. After reading your post, I actually looked at the messes: bottles and formula on the counter, baby swing blocking the hallway, rattles and stuffed animals in the corner of the living room. These are all evidence of the baby that we longed to have for so many years and I am now thankful for the mess and my baby girl.

  5. LOL, love this! Fortunately I don't mind mess, and just as well with my two. I'm going to blog DD's cooking session this week and that deffo involves mess, so will try and add a link.

    Wish you still scrapbooked!



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