Recently I wrote an article on the mess children make, it inspired a reader Amanda to pen her thoughts on mess in her life. As I have a whole house of stickers, crayons and food stains to clean up before I head out to my 500th children’s birthday party for the year, I thought I would post it for you here because I think she is spot on. Sometimes, just sometimes I crave a BC mess life.

Emily Jade

Emily Jade

High heels and high chairs

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Mess.  Doesn’t that word just send shivers up your spine.  Mess.  In my view there’s two types of mess.  The first is the type experienced before children (BC).  This mess consists of an old newspaper left sitting on the table, perhaps a jacket carelessly placed over the back of a chair and left there too long, or an empty milk carton sitting on the kitchen bench, needing to be taken out to the recycling bin.  This kind of mess was easily dealt with.  An entire house of BC mess could be sorted within half an hour.  Nothing was thought about it, no one lost sleep over it, and it certainly wasn’t the topic of discussion.

Then there’s post children mess (PC).  This type of mess needs no description for those who have been there or who are currently living it.  This type of mess is unrelenting and persistent by nature.  It can include anything ranging from a plate of food scattered over the floor, to a million tiny pieces of lego scattered from one end of your home to the other.  This kind of mess breeds mess.  You can be cleaning up the PC mess in one part of the house, only to have it multiplying tenfold simultaneously down the other end.

And it’s quick. Oh so quick   So quick that it can catch you completely unaware.  Who among us hasn’t left hubby at home with the kids while popping down to the shop, only to return to a house completely turned upside down. I’m talking every jigsaw puzzle emptied out onto the floor.  I’m talking hundreds of Barbie clothes thrown up into the air and left to sit wherever they may fall.  Books emptied off shelves, clothing drawers turned upside down and used for cars.  And I haven’t even mentioned the craft cupboard yet.  If they happen to get in there, only the strongest parents will recover.  There’s something about a million pieces of tiny, shiny paper, beads and pencils all rolled into one, covering an entire bedroom, living room and family room that affects your mental state in a way that can’t be described.

And then there’s the physical danger.  If PC mess isn’t cleaned up promptly, you run the risk of standing on a tiny plastic dinosaur in the middle of the night – the pain will be so acute that you will never forget it.  In fact I am still limping from a lego injury incurred whilst walking across my son’s bedroom when he was two years old.  In addition to feeling as though a knife had severed my big toe, I am sure the alignment of my spine was permanently destroyed as I struggled to maintain my balance. 

I’ve tried on several occasions to “embrace” the mess.  To accept that my children are creative beings, and I should be lucky that they choose to express themselves so fully and so regularly.  Ha!  Who was I kidding? When I’m sitting cross legged and bleary eyed on the floor at 11pm sorting the pieces of every single jigsaw puzzle that I had bought since 2005, the only thing I am embracing is the thought of staging my own disappearance.

PC mess, it’s a sight even Pro-Hart would find overwhelming.

PC mess, a visitor arriving at our home would assume we had been burgled, or that a bomb had exploded in our lounge room.

The only way I have sought comfort from the PC mess is to start taking photos of the mess.  I am keeping them in order to show my kids when they grow older and complain to me about the mess their own children make.  Only then, I figure, will they understand the angst felt by parents all over the world at the mess their children make.

Amanda Sheehan. Mother and Mess Manager.