Our home is a messy one. Not disaster-zone level mess where every surface is covered and you don’t know what lies in the cracks of your sofa. More a happy-messy.
The sort of home where you’d know if people are due to visit because the place appears noticeably different. Toys are given order on the play-mat. Frames are dusted properly. The breakfast bar actually looks like a functioning breakfast bar and not a post and newspaper depository. Objects normally displaced are mysteriously housed. Upon arrival you’d have no idea that only minutes before there was aubergine chilli splattered across the radiator.
We try and keep the place as tidy as we can, but this could easily become a full-time occupation, and we like to leave the house too. Plus, we have two children who each seem, in their own way, hell-bent on undoing any attempt at organisation in each room. The toddler being the main culprit.
Perfectly positioned cushions? On the floor they go. Endless supply of pens all tidied away nicely into the tin? They simply must all come out at once. Lego? EVERYWHERE. Obviously.
I rarely venture downstairs without slippers on for fear one of those tiny yet evil bits of plastic will find its way to the sole of my foot. Leo likes to keep a block of Lego to hand then drop it somewhere randomly when he finds something more exciting.
A permanent pile of children’s books, Lego and several soft toys have arranged themselves on the landing and despite looking rather displaced, neither of us have bothered to move them. It’s a convenient space for Leo to play/remain distracted as I attempt to get ready without him pulling at my hair straighteners or digging his finger nails into my bronzer powder.
Each evening, one of us will gather up the children’s belongings, toys mainly, and return them to their designated areas. It is nice, for those brief few minutes, to feel as though there is some kind of order.
Occasionally we will argue about just how much order there really needs to be.
I’ve had to talk Joel down from a need-to-hoover-at-9pm numerous times. It’s our dining room floor that gets blasted with food during dinner with a toddler.
“The floor needs a clean!!”
“IT’S 9’OCLOCK JOEL YOU WILL WAKE UP THE CHILDREN!”
“They’ll be fine!”
He did hoover that night but I was so angry I never let it go and he never did it again.
A few weeks later he bought one of those spray-mops, he loves it. As do I as it’s ever so quiet and the floor dazzles. We’ve had zero hoovering-related arguments since.
Well that’s not strictly true, we have bickered over hoovers.
I love my Henry and he remains loyal to his Shark, so like some weird cleaning fanatics we currently have both in our home.
If I want to truly make Joel’s day, I will hoover and mop the downstairs floor. Yay me.
It’s wiping up Leo’s meal-time tornadoes that makes me grateful for the child that doesn’t throw her food everywhere. The joy of handing her a plate of food and knowing 99% of it will end up in her mouth. (Well, three small plates, she’s picky about foods being mixed. That’s a whole other column.)
She can even be trusted to enjoy her snacks on the sofa.
We have yet to update our tired, worn-out, yet incredibly comfy sofas. I refer to them whenever we have visitors, mocking their appearance and clearly stating they’re next to be replaced on our to-buy-for-house list, and yet we always seem to skip over them.
It seems, as ugly and primitive as they are, we’re both rather fond of the old things deep down.
And so, neither of us really minds if the odd bit of food or liquid gets spilt on them. In fact that’s my main reason for holding onto them; they work with the term I’ve coined for our home; happy-messy.