The Joy Of A Messy House
Let me tell you a little bit about our house. Our house quite often is a disaster. I work from home, we have three boys, they’re 14, 12 and 8, we homeschool and did I mention that they’re boys? Not only that they’re boys, they’re boys that love to make projects out of cardboard, glue, glue guns, little motors, engines. As we speak, Nolan is making his own Halloween costume which is going to be epic and it’s amazing and it is absolutely a giant mess.
That being said, it’s an absolute blast to watch them be this creative, really engaged in challenging themselves to do things with a note that it is a great possibility that they are going to fail with the initially what they really wanted. And there’s no doubt that there’s tons of frustration. I’ll be up here my office and I’ll hear a grunt or groan or slam or something because they are so deeply involved in building these things that when it doesn’t work out, the frustration is great. I just love that early on they’re like learning that they’ve got to fail a bunch of times to be able to get it right.
So why am I doing this topic for podcast today? It comes down to advice that we got from our realtor among all people years ago. Her name is Sherry Tom and she’s here in South Hills of Pittsburgh and her kids are older than our kids, so I am a consummate student when it comes to parents that have kids older than ours that we can learn from. A few years ago, she came by the house because we were thinking about selling and we want her to take a look through and see what she thought just as what needed to get done. We went up never selling the house but we did get some fantastic advice.
Elizabeth is apologizing to her because the house is a mess right now, the kids have been doing this project over here and she just laugh and start talking about her kids and I believe her oldest just started high school or maybe her second oldest just started high school. She got really emotional and she said her house a little bit to clean right now. We said “what do you mean?” And she said I spent so much time when they were little, making sure the house was clean, making sure everyone was put together and picked up and I looked back and all that and I wish I didn’t do that. I never enjoyed it as much as I should have because I’m telling you, she got a little choked up and she said “I spent way too much time worrying about the house being clean when they were little. I spent way too much time organizing and making sure everything was neat because their kids and kids need to explore, they need to play, they need to create the challenge themselves and I was so focused on everything being so neat that we should have done that so much better.” And she said “now they’re bigger and they’re out of the house and everything’s neat and I really wish it wasn’t because that was so much fun and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. And if I had to do over again I would not worry so much about the house being clean and neat all the time.”
When she said that I think she was saying it a bit for herself as well. It’s almost like therapy to come and get that out because I don’t think that she had thought about it until we started talking about it. But I’m tell you that it had a great effect on us. Elizabeth and I, as we decided to do this. Because yeah there is cardboard and there’s glue guns and sticks to the table sometimes when they’re doing their crafts. There’s cardboard shards and paperclips, scissors everywhere but one day that’s gonna be gone. One day, it’s all going to be clean and once it’s clean, it means those times are over. Sherry gave us a huge gift by giving us a glimpse into the future if we decide to be the type of parent that chase them around the Windex and harping on them to make sure their room is neat all the time, making sure the papers and pencils are in order. It’s funny because as much as I argues with my dad growing up and as much as he was right about some of the things that I done wrong, he did admit to me that he would do things differently if they were done over again. He said to me “I can remember how many arguments we have, how many nights we argue about me cleaning my room and the ultimatums and the fights and the disagreements.” And he said to me “I wish I would have just closed your door. I really believe our relationship would be so much better if I just let that go and let you be in your own room and you truly do have to pick your battles that the battle that I shouldn’t have picked.”
I think he is absolutely right because I felt a lack of freedom having somebody on my shoulders every moment to do something like that. He was probably right that it’s his house and it should’ve been clean but as parents, we’re dealing with teenagers and we know teenagers are not fully developed to understand all the stuff that we understand. And to give them the ability to be creative in their own house, a place where they feel safe, a place where they can grow and learn, that’s what we should be doing for our kids. And as we speak right now, they are working on the same projects and I know that area the houses going to be a mess but we’ve learned to see it as a blessing, a blessing that we get to do this together. They get to develop the ability to be creative, not somebody judging them and telling them that they’re not able to do it or that they are not good enough to do it. I can tell you having that freedom and that acceptance that they are creative and they should be doing this is gonna be way more valuable to them in the future than the ability to just follow orders and make sure that everything is clean all the time.
So I want to thank Sherry Tom and I want to thank my dad, even after the fact, for telling me those lessons that they’ve learned and I thought about because what I truly think because of their advice and the advice of others we’re better parents because of it and our kids are more creative as well. Remember you have more than enough time to keep the house neat after they move out. But enjoy this now because it really is special and we’ve got to appreciate it while we got it.
I look forward to talking to you again tomorrow.