What is wrong with you?
Why are you so messy?
How come you can’t stay clean for more than five minutes?

These words have probably crossed your lips more than once if you are a parent, not to mention the parent of a boy.

If you knew me pre-child, you would have described me as extremely Type A, a perfectionist clean freak, possibly almost borderline compulsive. Everything had its place. Messes were cleaned up quickly. My house, yard and gardens were always very orderly, organized and, quite possibly, annoying to some—especially to those visiting with kids.

It is funny how your perception of life changes once your child enters the world. All the thoughts about how you are going to raise your offspring fly out the window. As time wears on, you realize what you need to spend your time worrying about.

Those perfectionist tendencies of mine have slowly evaporated into thin air since my son was born. I have become the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants mom. The roll-with-the-punches mom. The-enjoy-every-moment mom.

I have evolved into a new level of parenting: the messy mom.

I’m not quite sure when the day I joined the ranks of these of moms happened.

Nevertheless, I am proud to say I am “that mom”.

The one who lets her kid roll around in the mud and be dirty without worrying about the mess.

I live just to see the pure joy on my child’s face.

Heck, it wasn’t even until a few weeks ago that I realized I morphed into this mom. It came out of the blue from another mom warning me that my son was playing with slime that could stain his clothes.

I was taken aback and then it dawned on me: she was worried he was going to stain his clothes, which, clearly never crossed my mind. I was in a totally different mental zone, watching my son and trying to keep the smile that was on his face etched into my mind. My son has many sensory issues and I was reveling in the fact that he was playing with something so slimy, which is totally out of his comfort zone.

I honestly don’t remember what my answer to this other mom was. Probably something along the lines of, “He’s a kid. He is one huge mess. It’s no big deal.” In our world, stains aren’t big problems that are blown out of proportion. Not finding the missing sock on the other hand, that’s a bomb ready to explode.

One parenting thought I learned long ago was that I might as well light my money on fire instead of dressing him in the latest designer trends.

Clothes are just clothes. They are replaceable.

The memories my son was making with his friends, irreplaceable and priceless. He was laughing, discovering something new and playing with others while getting his hands dirty. As long as he wasn’t throwing the slime at someone, he was fine.

Stains on clothes are not a big deal.

My son being able to tell me that he loves slime and wants to have a pool full of it—that’s the money shot. That’s the big deal.

That’s where it all lies in being a parent and bringing joy to our children’s lives.

Messes mean our children are enjoying themselves while learning about the environment around them. They are little explorers. They are developing their senses while trying to figure out what this world is.

More importantly, if there is a smile plastered on their little faces while they are having fun what harm comes from a mess?

Isn’t that what being a kid is all about? FUN with a dash of mess thrown in?

That is the true spirit of being a kid.

Kids weren’t meant to sit without having a speck of dust found on them. They were designed to run through the puddles on a rainy afternoon, make mud pies in the yard and have sticky hands from sucking lollipops.

They were created to help parents remember the important things in life.

Quite simply, they are meant to be kids.

Messes and all.

I have learned over my short five years of parenting, prepare in advance for the messes and clean-up really isn’t that dreadful. The memories imprinted in their minds are so worth the extra few minutes of clean up. Plus, you can totally make clean up fun, just think Mary Poppins: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.”

Just remember, one day that little mess-maker of a child will be grown up and you will be longing for a mess made by them to clean up.

So, until then, embrace the messes.

Be the messy mom.

Come join our club because, life is just one giant mess. Isn’t it?

You may also like:

A Mother is Made in the Mess

Sometimes I’m the Mom Who Gets Annoyed With Her Kids For Just Being Kids (But I’m Working on it)

It’s OK to Be a Mess, Your Kids Just Want You

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

Jen Fawcett

Jen is married to an incredibly patient husband and a mom to one miracle son diagnosed with Autism. When she's not working her day-job as a dental hygienist, she loves weightlifting, gardening and enjoying an occasional nap. You can read more about her take on life on her blog Raising an Anomaly  Join her on Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook.