Some days I surprise myself, and I can overlook bedrooms that have literally been turned upside down. I shrug my shoulders and feel grateful that they've spent time playing and chatting away in there together, and the gigantic task of tidying it doesn't worry me.
I leave it for another day.
But this is not normal.
Note: Some days.
Most days I live permanently on edge; gritting my teeth, clenching my jaw at just the sound of mess being made. I swallow frustration at socks stuffed in hidey holes because the walk to the laundry basket is too far and I snap at toys kicked under the bed, Lego not kept on the rug, and books making a new home behind the shelves.
They play, and they are completely absorbed in their play, and they drag toys from bedrooms to bathrooms and some days I explode at the sheer overwhelming mess of it all.
And those days I become shouty, scathing, rip-you-to-shreds-for-clothes-hanging-out-of-the-drawers mama.
I try to breathe, I do.
And I speak as kindly as I can, and they drag their feet and complain that it's too haaaaaarrd to clean up all the mess they have spent so long in making.
I stomp and bark my orders and they walk to and fro and tidy and they are glum and I hold back tears.
And then the guilt comes and afterwards I reason with myself and wonder and I tell myself it is just mess. You are overreacting.
Even when I hold it all in, the frustration over the mess, the cluttered brain with the cluttered floor, the feeling is still there.
Thank. God. for. grace.
So yesterday sparked a cull. A gigantic throw-out. Baby toys, broken toys, old books.
Stuff sucks and I don't need it, and if I simplify it will make it kinder on all of us.
Joel has space for Lego, and boxes for other things.
The girls have only a couple of dolls each (why do they need 8?!) and we kept the Barbies all in a tub, with a lid.
They know where everything belongs, it's a fresh start for us all, and I can breathe.