Inside: Why we moms need to stop obsessing over whether or not our home is tidy – a messy house could be a sign of intelligence and creativity!
“Please ignore the mess!”
My friend waved her hand, gesturing to her living room that looked like…well…a regular living room.
“We’ve been so busy with holiday stuff that I just haven’t had a chance to…” she trailed off.
I looked around — this was my first time inside her house.
It wasn’t spotless. There was a blanket tossed over the armrest of the couch. There was a stack of mail on the table. A big dog trotted over, tail wagging and fur flying.
And in my head I did a little happy dance.
A Messy House is a REAL House
You see, when I step into another mom’s house and it isn’t messy I get suspicious.
How does she find time to clean every room every day? How is it possible that there are NO toys on the floor…anywhere? Does anyone even live here??
You might think that your messy house is an embarrassment.
Au contraire mama — I see your messy house and I feel at home. I know that someone lives here. I know that you, like me, are doing the best you can, and not always getting everything done.
You are my people.
There’s no fakery here. No putting on airs or pretending that you’re perfect.
I know that you’re going to keep it real with me.
And that is SO much more important to me than whether or not your house looks magazine perfect at all times.
My House Isn’t Messy – It’s Lived In
I suppose I should clarify that by messy I don’t mean dirty. I’m a stickler for making sure that food is put away at the end of the night and I vacuum at least once or twice a week.
But at any given time there will be toys scattered around the room, dishes in the sink, and laundry in a basket waiting to be folded.
And with three kids and a full-time career, I just have to be ok with that.
It took me a while to get here. To get to the place where I stopped worrying about what “people” might think if they saw my living room in its not-so-perfect state.
What “people” am I worrying about anyways??
The UPS guy?
Those are the only people who might glimpse my living room on a day-to-day basis.
And while I do insist on cleaning up the dinner table and sweeping the kitchen floor every night, I’ve stopped obsessing over ordinary clutter.
Our house isn’t messy — it’s lived in.
Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do with your house?
Our Messy House is Full of Memories
Besides the fact that it’s literally not possible to have a perfect house with kids (pretty sure that’s a proven scientific fact), I don’t know if I even want to go all Konmari on everything.
Because that “mess” is full of memories.
The shag rug in the middle of our floor? The one that’s definitely seen better days? That rug is where our two youngest daughters learned to crawl.
The bookshelves in our living room are crammed with our favorite books and magazines — stuffed into every nook and cranny. There are candles, picture frames, photo albums, and kids crafts. Those bookshelves hold our memories, and I smile every time I glance up at them from the couch.
The dollhouse in the corner of our living room that’s filled to the brim with mismatched furniture, and every type of toy from My Little Ponies to Barbies — that dollhouse contains 25 years of imagination in its walls. My Grandpa built it for me as a little girl and it makes my heart burst to see my girls treasure it too.
Speaking of My Little Ponies, we have at least 50 of them. Those faded ponies with the ratty tails? Those are vintage y’all! Straight out of the 80’s! And the brightly colored ones with giant cartoon eyes, well those will be vintage too in about 20 years. And ALL of those ponies encourage my girls to let their imaginations run wild.
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A Messy House is a Sign of Intelligence
Just in case you still need a little more convincing, there is quite a bit of evidence that shows a correlation between a messy house and intelligence. Some of the theories include:
- Complex thoughts and ideas monopolize most of the “brain power” of smart folks, leaving less energy for dealing with mundane tasks, like chores.
- Intelligent people aren’t concerned with what others think about them…or their house.
A lot of history’s most renowned geniuses, from Einstein to Mark Twain, are said to have kept a less-than-tidy abode.
Interestingly, I had the pleasure of attending a speech by Randi Zuckerberg — you might recognize the last name from her famous brother, but Randi is a super successful woman in her own right. She told a story about how shockingly messy and disorganized her brother Mark’s apartment was, and he is one of the most successful of this generation!
In fact, a 2013 study published in Psychology Today shows that a messy space encourages creativity and outside-the-box thinking. On the flip side, a clean and tidy environment makes people more likely to “play it safe” and avoid new ideas.
Your messy house means that you and your kids are smart, creative thinkers who are living life, and not just picking up after it.
So mama, stop worrying about the mess and start making memories.
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