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Buried Alive: Kid Room Edition

I kind of wanted to skip this topic because I have very little wisdom to impart on the subject of “getting my kids to maintain neat and tidy rooms” — but then, I decided that this is precisely WHY this is a topic worth exploring. I am in the same boat as the mama who is … in this boat.

And, I assume, many of you are, too.

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In my experience, kids like to make huge messes and then live in those messes and then watch as those messes make other messes until they are literally sleeping in a bed built out of messes and doing their homework on a pile of messes and pretty soon there’s a reality camera in their room and America is absolutely shocked that human beings can live this way and then the credits roll and we all shake our heads.

Here’s the thing: Before I had kids, I was INSANE about messes. And I still am! I cannot go to sleep until the living room is tidy, until clothes are put away. But when it comes to the kids’ rooms, I kind of gave up long ago.

Ugh, that’s the worst, isn’t it? I AM THE WORST. But the truth is, it was giving me far too much grief, that messy-room business, and I don’t want to fight with my kids about whether or not their LEGO city belongs in front of the bathroom door because I REALLY WANT THEM to feel like they can build an epic LEGO City and keep it standing forever if that’s what moves them.

" ... I like my markers right here on the ground and the doll furniture out and my paper over here and the costumes all hanging on the thing.”

And that’s why I recently decided to give up.

Because after fighting with Fable about the art supplies all over the floor, I finally opened my ears and listened to her.

“But Mom, this is my space! This is the only space in the entire house that’s for me and I like it this way. I like my markers right here on the ground and the doll furniture out and my paper over here and the costumes all hanging on the thing.”

And, yes. She could have organized a little better and thrown out a few errant papers but the truth is, she was right.

So long as she kept her mess on her side of the room (she shares a bedroom with her much more neat brother) and Archer was OK with art supply explosions happening off the side of his bunk bed, I was cool.

Once a month, I go in and organize/throw out things that need to be thrown out, sweep and vacuum and spray down what needs to be sprayed down, but other than that, my kids’ rooms look like kids rooms. They do not look like the rest of the rooms in the house and that’s OK.

So long as dirty clothes are in the hamper, clean clothes are in the drawers and the room functions as a bedroom, I’m OK with a little chaos.

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I would much rather they feel free to express themselves by taping flowers to the walls and sprawling their various projects all over their floors than keeping them in a sterile room where they have to put away all of the things and sit quietly with their hands folded in their laps.

Life is a mess, kids. Play on!

What about you guys? What is your stance on maintaining clean kids’ rooms?

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