There has been a red Fisher Price Cozy Coupe parked in my living room for the last five years. We bought our first little plastic car when my oldest son turned one. He enjoyed climbing inside and eating his snack and putting his drink in the cup holder in the back.
For the most part, in the years that followed, you could find that car parked somewhere in our living room or kitchen. When I was at home all day and didn’t have any mommy friends, we would make laps around the inside of our house for what seemed like hours. He would honk the horn, and I would push.
Five years and two kids later, our original cozy coup has been upgraded to a roofless fire truck with a water sprayer hose. My youngest doesn’t have the luxury of enjoying a cup holder like his big brother and sister did, but he has two energetic siblings who take turns pushing him around the couches and crashing into my cabinets.
I try to remember that this is their house too.
Yeah. We learn to respect our things and do our best to put toys away when we are done. But that little car parked in the corner day in and day out for the last five years has reminded me throughout each one that my living room… my house… well, it looks like kids live here – because kids live here.
Some days, I feel like I chase my little ones around picking up messes after them. They “help,” but… their help is sometimes more work. It teaches good lessons on how to contribute to our family, but still… some days I feel like I never stop moving. And the days that I don’t follow them around, I just keep telling myself that at bedtime I will go around and make the house look the way I want. I will put the toys in their baskets and the shoes in their bedrooms and arrange my couch cushions and pillows and finally take that rogue Pampers box that has been climbed in and over all day long out to the trash.
But when the end of the day finally arrives, I look around and ask myself, “What did I accomplish today? What projects did I complete?” I never stopped moving, and yet I feel like I barely maintained. There are toys everywhere. There are dishes to wash and baskets and couches full of clothes to fold. What did I do all day?
I think moms, especially us mommas of little ones, are forever battling the reality that our babies make messes. We try to keep order, but often, simple tasks like folding laundry or emptying a dishwasher are a much more complicated project. While we are busy with one chore, our kids are making five more for us to clean up.
But friend? The truth is, if you’re looking around your house tonight and there is still so much to do… you told yourself all day long that when they were asleep you’d tackle all those projects that were so hard to complete when they were awake… and you’re just out of energy… Can you just remember this with me for a second?
It’s okay for your home to look like you have children. It’s not just okay when you get all of it picked up and tidied and put away… not just when the car is parked in the corner and everything looks neat.
It’s okay in the middle of it. It’s okay when life is strewn around you. I promise we’re not judging. I promise that your messiest moments are really not offensive to most other moms. We get it. We understand how hard you work. We understand that some days your house is just… a literal disaster.
But you are not. Your disaster of a house does not mean you are a disaster of a woman.
And someday… they tell us that we’ll miss these messes. We’ll miss the craziness. They say that someday when the house has everything in place we will wish we still had little ones to come and throw the socks all over the floor. And we know they are right. But while their advice might not help us today… maybe we should take a second when life looks the least put together and remember…
The blessing of having a little red car parked in the corner.
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