I got up well before the sun rose. I washed dishes, emptied the dishwasher, wiped the table from last night’s crumbs, the ones left over from dinner before we raced out the door.

As the sun was rising, I picked up stray items, tidied surfaces, did a load of laundry. I even squeezed in a workout at the gym. I haven’t always been a morning person, nor a gym-exerciser, but I’m trying.

And this morning, things got done. And then undone.

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This picture is the representation of a season of children in the home—being kids—being creative, learning, playing.

Creativity is messy.

Learning is messy.

And it’s OK.

My daughter has been acting moody and argumentative lately. I wanted to send her to her room, but instead, I asked her if she wanted to color together.

After we colored, she sat humming and playing with her brothers.

She needed connection.

Messes will get cleaned, and made, and cleaned again.

Dishes will get done, and undone, and done again.

There are days the stuff makes me feel like I’m going crazy. The mess, the grime, the piles.

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But it just starts by tackling one thing: the dishes, the toys, wiping the table, vacuuming. One load of laundry. One sticky surface. One bedroom.

One thing at a time.

And one connection at a time.

It will be OK. We women were made for this.

We are strong; we can breathe and handle the mess…and handle our kids’ attitudes. And then we can breathe and enjoy the tidiness and peace, too.

Because creativity is messy, but messes can get cleaned.

And kids can be difficult, but attitudes can soften.

This season won’t last forever, but while we’re in it, I want to see past the mess and into the hearts of my children.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Heidi Farrell

Heidi is a stepmom and mom of five, whose ages range from 22 down to 4 years old. She and her husband have seen the full range of child development in their house...often all at once! Heidi loves connecting with other stepmoms and encouraging them on their journey. She blogs about her experiences and provides practical strategies for stepmoms at notjustastepmom.com, and is currently working on a book about the complexities and joys of adding an "ours baby" to a stepfamily.