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.
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
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?