Parenting is the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a mess… a very beautiful mess.
We all have our ups and downs with our children. Some days are rough and others are pure bliss – it’s all a beautiful mess. While parenting may not always be pretty, it’s so important to appreciate the beauty in those messy moments.
You know those moments. The ones where you want to scream and yell and throw an adult-sized temper tantrum? The ones where you want to put yourself in time out? Next time, see if you can take a step back and see the beauty in those moments right away rather than weeks, months or even years down the road.
The first one of those moments happened to us when we were in Uruguay. Zoë has always been a very curious child. She likes to know how things work and why. And she’ll take things apart to find out too.
When she was just shy of two years old, we left her unattended with our laptop for a few moments. We didn’t think much of it, but within that brief period of time, she managed to accomplish this:
We were frustrated and taken aback at first (of course we laughed shortly thereafter). We were in a country where we didn’t know if we could even get it fixed (we didn’t get it fixed until we’d been back in the US for a while). While we totally laugh about it now, it wasn’t so funny at first. Now we try to take a step back before we get mad and look for the good.
We could have appreciated the fact that Zoë is a very curious girl who just wanted to learn what was under those keys, right? It’s so easy to squash kids’ curiosity that I try very hard to support it rather than diminish it.
It would be so easy to do everything myself in the kitchen too, but the girls want to learn. They want to try new things. They want to help measure and mix. They want to help stir and flip. Sometimes they get into things they shouldn’t, and sometimes we wind up with a huge mess.
But you know what? That’s okay. Because it’s the smiles that come from the messes that matter.
Those sweet girls are only going to be little once, and I want to appreciate the beauty in all of the mess. I want to appreciate the sparkle in their eyes when they get to try something new – even if that something new creates a mess that needs to be cleaned up. When they make that mess, they get to learn how to clean it up. It’s amazing to see how excited they get to help clean up the mess too. It’s pretty beautiful.
They both think it’s so much fun to help mommy. One thing they fight over doing is sweeping up messes. It’s never too early to teach kids to clean up their own messes – and to teach them to appreciate the beauty in those messes.
Life is messy. That’s what makes it beautiful.