There's a plate smeared with peanut butter to my left. A pile of newspapers is to my right. And a mountain of graham cracker crumbs behind me.
And in the middle of it all, it's dawned on me that I may have stumbled across the newest decorating trend.
I think it's called happy messy.
I'm sure it will take the country by storm, eventually. It hasn't been mentioned in design circles, or featured in any kind of magazine. Give it time, it will be, I'm sure of it.
This idea has slowly evolved since the morning I poked my head into my daughter's room. The early sunlight was pouring in through the windows, lending a soft glow to everything it touched. And there, in the middle of it on her freshly unmade bed, sat my daughter. She was happily writing. I was struck with the peace, the happiness. And then I looked around and was astounded by the mess. The piles of clothes that never made it to the dresser were tossed on the floor. Cast off toys and the scattered beads from a broken bracelet assaulted my feet. Dishes crusted with dried cereal perched on the desk.
There was nothing tidy. But there was happiness. There was creativity.
And isn't that what I want for my kids, for my home?
A happy, messy and lived in home does not come by accident. It has come with a conscious decision to be okay with the mess and the undone.
I create this happy, messy home by allowing my family to live. To run down the halls, create art, decorate their rooms their way. It comes by choosing not to freak out over smeared peanut butter and jelly and hand prints on the back slider.
Happy messy comes from creating a place where my kids can just be, flaws and all.
It's not about certain colors or accessories. And it doesn't cost much to attain it, unless you count me letting go of my ideas and my control over the home. It comes from realizing that happy kids are much more important than a perfectly swept floor.
At it's worst it's a disaster, at it's best there's a baby doll peeking out from under the couch and giant sticky spot on the counter.
To achieve this look all you need to do is take one standard house and add a few well loved children, and a pet or two. Then, now this is the hardest thing, let go of pride and the desire to keep up appearances. Leave all perfectionist tendencies at the door and learn to say yes to living and no to cleaning. Well, within reason of course, the toilets still need a good scrubbing from time to time.
The thing is that when I can just let go as a mom and not worry too much about keeping things a certain way, my house, and it's inhabitants, are much happier. As a recovering perfectionists, this is hard.
But seeing my content daughter, writing songs in her messy room makes it all worth it. If I'm too busy fussing about clean I will miss that. Imagine how different it would have been if I would have come in yelling about the mess. Sure, I'd love a clean house. But I'd choose happy people in my house over spotless any day. I figure that one day, the kids will be gone. I'll clean then.