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Excuse the mess - no more!

We love to host family and friends! I enjoy getting caught up in the scheduling, meal planning and organizing. I look forward to evenings sitting around the table, eating and drinking, while the kids run around and enjoy our company.

And then I look around the house and a wave of panic sets in. Long intricate strings of superheroes and cars pop up from several corners of the house. Our dining room table has been covered in Lego for the last two weeks. Several half-played board games are strewn across the rug. No matter how many bins I get, books, crayons, markers, drawings and stickers find their way under tables and chairs. The “I’ll get to it later” piles of papers on my desk keep growing as quickly as the number of greasy fingerprints along the windows and walls. Crumbs from yesterday’s breakfast are begging me to grab a broom, and is that a hint of must I smell from the laundry pile?

Welcome to the mess that is our life. And you know what? I’m going to stop saying that all-too-common phrase that’s become part of our communal parenting lexicon: “Excuse the mess.” I’m taking a stand – who’s with me?

I will NOT excuse the mess anymore.

In the world of Pinterest moms and picture-perfect Facebook posts, there is this underlying judgement of how we should be living our clutter-free lives – or worse yet, how we should be parenting our kids. Whether consciously or not, we’re setting standards for each other that are unrealistically high and it really doesn’t need to be that way.

My messy house is lived in and full of memories.  Now that I take a second to look around, I’m seeing things through a different lens. That clump of superheroes is all that remains of a fierce battle between good and evil. The dining room table is an intricate metropolis of futuristic skyscrapers, adventure-worthy spaceships, and vehicles that have yet to be invented. The board games are to-be-continued lessons in turn taking, how to lose gracefully, and how not to gloat when you win. The creative juices flow better in the space under that table which is now a literacy centre and renowned art studio. The piles on my desk and laundry baskets are visual reminders that I’ve chosen to spend that time with my family or for myself. And now that panic I felt a while ago is slowly being replaced with contentment.

So I’m going back to being excited about our upcoming company and instead of apologizing, I’ll be adjusting that trivial phrase to simply “Welcome to our home”.

As appeared in the Frankly Fatherhood column of the July 2019 issue of Mom & Caregiver Magazine

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