Why I Love My Messy Home

Lincoln Logs - Why I Love My Messy Home

Courtney WestlakeCourtney Westlake
Blogger at blessedbybrenna.com | Mom of Two
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It was late when I got home, and I sank onto the couch, kicking off my shoes.

As I glanced around the living room and into the adjoining playroom, I realized that I was in the atmosphere I had often dreamed of as I mothered two small children – a quiet space, a home that was clean and had been clean for days.

But I wanted the noise and the mess back, desperately.LincolnLogs_MessyHouseFACEBOOK

It was days into Brenna’s hospitalization last summer, and we had fallen into something that resembled a ritual. Connor was spending most of the time with family and friends while my husband Evan and I were at the hospital all day, every day. At night, Evan sacrificed his own sleep and comfort and all but forced me to go home to sleep in our bed. So I would rub Brenna’s back and hold her hand until she drifted off into a restless sleep, rush home to bed – to my own restless sleep, full of worry – and wake up to head to the hospital and do it all over again.

My home was quiet and organized each evening, because it was unused and untouched by the people I love most. Untouched because they weren’t there.

And suddenly, I loved my messy home. Suddenly, I loved the toys left out, the snack plates on the kitchen table crusted with leftover food, the seemingly millions of little shoes that I trip over in the doorways.

That was the day I came to realize how exquisitely beautiful the mess is.

The mess means that our home is full, that we are making memories, that we are loving and spending time with each other within our home. A messy kitchen means that family is gathering, that friends feel welcome, that people are being nourished. A living room cluttered with game pieces and books means that we are enjoying moments spent as a family, learning and growing and talking together. Clothes strewn about the bedroom are evidence of full and fulfilling lives, of children who are active, thriving and well.

What I realized is that even as I need moments of solitude and quiet, that even as an organized home can help to make my mind feel more organized too, a house that stays quiet and stays organized for longer than a few hours equates to a home that is untouched and empty of the people I love best in this world.

I never want a home so pristine that we never enjoy it. I don’t want my kids to say, years from now, “well Mom never let us get out the paint or play-doh because it made such a big mess.” The messes are what make memories. The messes are what help us to connect as a family. And the messes even afford us the opportunity to teach responsibility and respect for what we have, as we all work together to pick up and put away… only to start all over again the next day.

My life feels abundantly more beautiful when I notice the streaks of Aquaphor along the hallway wall two feet off the ground, or the dinosaur figures standing up on the breakfast bar in the kitchen, or the pair of jeans strewn on the floor instead of folded and put in the closet. All of the things that whisper “we were here… we have been laughing and crying, loving wholly, enjoying these days, living beautifully in big and small ways.”

We had friends over last week for a play date that turned into an impromptu dinner, pizzas ordered and kids playing past their bedtimes. Everyone pitched in for a quick pick-up before goodbyes were said, but there are still several piles of toys left over unattended from that evening. And instead of feeling guilty about the remaining mess, I find myself passing by those toys, thankful instead for an especially fun afternoon that lingered on into the evening and how special it was to have a home full of people we love.


This post was originally posted at blessedbybrenna.com on 2/23/16.

Courtney WestlakeAbout Courtney Westlake

Courtney Westlake is wife to Evan and mother to Connor (6) and Brenna (4). She is a writer, author and photographer, and chronicles family life after Brenna was born with a severe skin disorder on her blog Blessed by Brenna. Courtney is also the author of the upcoming book A Different Beautiful, released August 2016. You can also find Courtney on Instagram and Facebook.

View all posts by Courtney Westlake here.

9 Comments on “Why I Love My Messy Home”

  1. I just don’t see it as a mess when i walk into someones home i see it has a very creative and playful spot for kids,and it me that’s a home well used!

  2. No one will ever be able to accuse me of having a pristine home, haha. Bit I agree, the mess in my home is just a sign that their were happy children there enjoying life.

    1. haha! You’re not alone there, Holly! Are you are so right. The mess is a sign of love.

  3. Awwww..that’s too beautiful how you wrote it. I had tears in my eyes reading this post. It reminded me of the time when our toddler son had high fever and then followed by seizure. He had to be admitted to the hospital and my wife had to be there for him. My house was clean and quiet for once but I didn’t like it at all. All that I missed was my son screaming at me, the TV playing DORA and the floor full of all his toys! That’s all I ever want!

    1. Wow, yes it takes tough moments like that to realize how much we treasure the chaos as parents, huh?

  4. I try to like Messy home but I just can’t! My happy place is simple and clean because that’s how I grew up. Things do get messy once in a while and thankfully my husband is very helpful.

    1. There’s no problem with a clean home, Chely! We’re jealous! hahaha!

  5. I wish my husband liked our messy home as much as I did. It’s not “that” messy. I wish it was cleaner but I would be cleaning 24/7 for that to happen with 2 and 6 year old boys. I much rather go to the park with them then clean so much.

    1. We hear you loud and clear! Everyone has different levels of mess that they can tolerate, don’t they? We love your comment, and think you are right to focus on spending more time with your boys! Obviously it’s nice to have your house as clean as you want it, but sometimes that mess is a sign of use. And that is sure a good thing!

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