I did purchase some more Rubbermaid tubs of various sizes to contain toys with small parts (Lincoln logs, etc.) and pushed those into service. I hate little toys scattered underfoot. Plus, I have sensitive feet. Especially at night. Need I say more?
To some extent I have to realize the limitations of the family and the house. Having children of a certain age means you will have little cars rolling around under the dining table. It means you will have train tracks extending from the door to the dresser to under the bunk beds. Long, long gone are the days when I could set something down, come back later, and find it still there. (Especially crochet hooks. I have a little boy who for some reason thinks these are arrows.) I swear, I'm raising a crop of borrowers.
A post I read today by Kh. Nicole both cracked me up and encouraged me. Here's an excerpt:
To any friend who has ever detected a nostril flare from me upon me encountering a mess, my sincerest apologies. I understand now. In order to accomplish almost anything that takes longer than 15 minutes, I sacrifice Clean in some other space. The only real thing I can do is contain the mess. I can’t really ever live without it. Unless I make Sweet Pea sit on her hands in a chair all day. (Come on, I can’t be the only mother who’s ever had that thought run through her head occasionally.)Kh. Nicole, feel free to move in next door any time you like.
So, because having a thought like that doesn’t equate with actually doing that, I have a mess. All. The. Time. It drives me bonkers, but I’ve noticed that it stresses me out the most when I think other people are judging it. Well, that’s not a major philosophical discovery, I know, but in any case I’m trying to relax my standards a bit so that my kids feel that this home also belongs to them. They shouldn’t have to behave like a guest in their own home.
So balance. Some ways I’ve started making sure the messes can be contained are to corral all the art supplies in a tackle box and stick it up out of reach. That way, when Sweet Pea starts a craft, I can be on Craft Alert and make sure it stays on the table. Books out of her room have a box so that they’re handy, but not messy. Toys in the living room live in a big blue bin and currently the bin is in a Pack N Play, an object that I have found, in my few years of parenting, to be almost entirely useless, but Fr. A likes to use it occasionally when he’s watching the kids so it is currently a piece of furniture in our living area… I use it for storage… and to keep Mishmish away from the puzzle shelf. The mess is still, well, a mess, but at least I don’t have to step on it. If you come over, feel free to flare your nostrils at the piles of books, crafting supplies, procrastinated mending, and jars of wildlife. I’m just thankful that I have little ones to mess up my house. I’d much rather have my kids and a mess, than a magazine house and nothing but my orchids for company.