Embracing the mess

"Tut, tut, it looks like rain" is probably what I should have titled this since it has rained for nearly 24 hours straight around here. No one slept well because of the thunder and J.'s (and M.'s and B.'s) school was closed today because the river it sits next too was flooding the campus. Thankfully, though our side yard is looking a bit bog-like, we are pretty much dry. Stir-crazy, but dry.

School was not cancelled for my children this morning, though, rain or no rain. We did math, I worked with the learning-to-read group, we did an art lesson, A. finished an essay on the 1st amendment and did biology, B. was doing some botany. And in among all of that, the littles played, this time cutting paper into little, tiny scraps. Everyone manages to keep busy during the morning and then suddenly it's lunch. People are sooo hungry that they push the stuff on the table aside and fix lunch. They eat while I read our current chapter book and then it's quiet time.

Ahhhh. Quiet time. Except that by the time quiet time rolls around, I look at the house and every single day it seems as though a tornado has blown through. There are dishes on the counter and table that need to be washed. (I usually save the breakfast dishes until after lunch so that I can start working on school at a more appropriate time.) The remains of craft projects are on the floor. School books lie, well, just about everywhere. Upstairs toys are scattered hither and yon. Did I mention this happens every. single. day?

People ask me what the downsides to homeschooling are. Honestly, in my opinion, there aren't a whole lot, but this is the one that I mention every time. A house that is lived in by people who are interested in a lot of things and who are allowed extended time to play and who are home most of the time gets crazy messy. And apart from strapping children into chairs for the better portion of the day, I just don't see a way around it. A homeschooler's house is used and lived in. And it looks like it.

I am at heart a pretty compulsive, type-A person who likes a place for everything and for everything to be in it's place. I thrive on order (though my desk seems to be the great exception to this rule). Raising and homeschooling so many children has been, um, stretching for me. If I can learn to appreciate a lived-in house, then I'm pretty sure that just about anyone can.

Because most of the time, I do appreciate it. The trick is to focus on the mess-makers and not the mess itself. Paper scraps can be swept up, but it is so worth it to watch a little girl make us of her new-found scissor skill. (And paper is far, far better than pigtails. I know this from experience.) Breakfast and lunch dishes strewn about look really messy, but once again, are easily picked-up. It does mean that people were able to eat (and often without me having to prepare food). And it goes on and on like this. The alternative to having a messy house is to have one that is spotlessly clean, but without the little mess-makers. While I think I would really enjoy a spotlessly clean house (really enjoy it), I think I would miss all my little people.

And we do manage to get much of it put back together by the end of the day. To not have a regular pick-up time would mean that chaos would take over and we might not be able to move around. I work hard at finding a balance between the mess that comes with living and playing and exploring and stopping it before it goes too far. I'm not always successful, but I try.
I have several adoption advocacy related items that I really hope you will read.

The first is to share about this little girl, "Holly".

She had been in foster care, but just over the weekend was transferred back to the orphanage (and not a great orphanage at that). She desperately needs a family. Could this be your daughter?

Next, do you know about Sevenly? They sell clothing, but in order to raise funds for good causes. This week's cause is to help fund adoptions through Reese's Rainbow. Why don't you buy a shirt? Then we can compare and see if we bought the same one.

And last, Brandi still needs a family!

She is 6 years old. She lies in her crib and waits and waits and waits for someone to scoop her up and tell her how loved she is. Just imagine a grin on her face, her hair allowed to grow out. Imagine how transformed she will look when she is loved. Pray that she doesn't have to wait too much longer for her parents to find her. While her file has been sent back to her country, it can be obtained. I can put you in contact with people who can help you do this if you are interested.


Charlene said…
So true! Since coming home with #5, we just cannot seem to keep the house straight much less clean. Drives me NUTS! I love my mess makers, but I have to say I do NOT function well in clutter. My nerves seem to start off frayed. It just doesn't seem to be happening lately. Sigh.....
Donna said…
Just last night as the kids were getting ready for bed I said something about wishing there were two of me -- one of me really, really wants the house to be "together": dishes done, kitchen clean, laundry, sweeping (never ending sweeping of tile here) and some general pick up. The other one of me wants to enjoy the quiet house with a cup of tea and a book. I ended up with a little of both, though the kitchen waited until this morning. I too love the pristine and the orderly but I am willing to take it in small bites here and there in order to enjoy the blessings that are growing up too fast.

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