I’d like to invite you into my home for a minute. Come on in!
Oh! Those are just milk and orange juice stains on the couch, but if you’d rather sit in one of the chairs, you can move those Legos! (That couch has also been with us through two newborns and two potty-trainings, but I’d never bring this up in front of you, my guest.)
Anyway. Can I get you a glass of water, or maybe a cup of coffee?
The living room floor, as you can see, is a little cluttered—watch out for the stack of library books, the Shopkins “setup” (please don’t touch that), the train whistle, the Magna Doodle, and those Crate & Barrel throw pillows I splurged on a few years ago. (I thought for sure we’d be able to keep them in good shape, but as it turns out they make the perfect lily pads for child-size frogs when the rug is a pond.)
Don’t worry about using a coaster. No, seriously.
The coffee table books are all put away—too many ripped and/or decorated pages—but check out the five cubbies full of kid lit! Have you read Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and The Day the Crayons Quit? They’re actually pretty clever.
Bathroom? Sure! It’s right at the end of the hall. Just a heads up, the “guest bath” is also the kids’ bath, which means the tub is full of stringy-haired Barbies and foam alphabet letters. (Do you peek behind the shower curtain in other people’s homes? Of course you don’t. Neither do I.) The stepstool at the sink is a tripping hazard, so watch out for that. It’s the only way the little one can reach the faucet and see herself in the mirror, so until she grows another three or four inches, that’s where it lives.
The paintings hanging in the hallway? Those are Crosby children originals. (That’s a touch of pride in my voice.) Oh, you meant the artwork drawn onto the wall? You know which kid did that. Yeah, it’s just pencil and easily wiped off. Yeah, it’s been there for six months. What can I say? I kinda like it there.
When you step through the front door of our home, it only takes a second to see that kids live here.
And that’s not because it’s messy (though it is often messy), but because at ten years into this parenting gig, I am learning to see the beauty of this small space we share.
This is my home, and my husband’s home—but this is our kids’ home, too. And home, for them, is puzzles and games in limbo on the floor, sheets stretched across chairs for today’s Best Fort Ever, a dollhouse with tiny furniture continually being set and reset, and the sunroom—our first home-improvement project—serving instead as a playroom filled with toy bins and art supplies.
“This is why we can’t have nice things!” I used to say, upon discovery of dirty footprints on those fancy throw pillows and Play-Doh squished mercilessly into the rug. But at some point, I decided it was time to eliminate that phrase from my mental stash of Stuff Moms Say.
Because those “nice things” I sometimes wistfully admire in other people’s homes are just things—replaceable, ultimately worthless, do-not-matter things. But these girls, their childhood, the memories they’re making, the way they’ll one day fondly (I hope!) reflect on the home they grew up in? These are the things that matter.
Our home won’t always look this way. One day, a day I’m told will arrive much too soon, this house might be as clean, bright, and uncluttered as my inner Joanna Gaines (is she in there?) could dream.
But right now isn’t the season for building a dream house; it’s the season for growing children.
They are my dream.
This is the beautiful, messy middle. Without a doubt, I will one day miss this mess.
So, this is it! This is our little home. Kids live here.
The drawing of the little person with giant eyeballs and arms and legs coming out of her head, the one penciled onto the wall in the hallway, stays for now.
I’m so glad you came over!
**Rebekah is a co-creator of The Drafting Desk, a wonderful monthly newsletter full of encouragement for women seeking freedom from perfectionism. Subscribe to The Drafting Desk to hear more from her!
Rebekah Crosby is a former copy editor who decided to give her red pen a rest and do a bit of writing from the desk in her sunny kitchen instead. She shares honest stories of mothering daughters, making peace with imperfection, and embracing grace on her blog, Write the Rough Draft, and is co-creator of The Drafting Desk, a monthly newsletter offering soulful encouragement for fellow recovering perfectionists. Rebekah’s hobbies change on a weekly basis but have most recently included photography, cross-stitch, knitting, and raising monarch butterflies. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and two little girls. You can also find Rebekah on Facebook and Instagram.