Time to embrace the chaos created by children - GulfToday

Time to embrace the chaos created by children

Foster Children

Representational image.

Victoria Richards, The Independent

Are you even a parent if you don’t wade through a tsunami of shoes, empty Pom-Bear packets, softly browning apple cores and a homemade “art installation” featuring a lump of Blu Tack and a tea bag (”don’t throw it away, I made it for you!”) just to get out of the door in the morning?

Speaking of tea bags, allow me to provide a vista into what “working from home” and “mess” really means when you’re solely responsible for two under-10s: just the other day (around the same time that the scandal over Nadhim Zahawi’s tax affairs gathered pace, as it happens) my six-year-old son was out of class because he was ill; except that of course — as soon as I’d resigned myself to not going into the office, and diligently contacted the school to say that he wouldn’t be in — he made a remarkable recovery and asked me to set fire to a tea bag. That’s right: it was grey and drizzling outside and below freezing, but in between edits there I was in the garden, hunched over to stop the wind, holding an extra-long cooking match to a box of PG Tips. FML.

An hour later, of course, and you would have found me at the dining table, covered in “space dust” while my son conducted a Very Important Excavation (aka: trying to smash open a ball of clay with a wooden mallet to “see what was inside it”). That was (naturally) followed by an experiment which involved him sticking one of my feet to the floor with electrical tape — a cute trick he stumbled upon during lockdown, and which is all too often repeated. At the time, it felt almost altruistic: he said he wanted to help me “stay there to do work”. Now, I’ll be honest, it just feels like a trap.

My children don’t give me any concrete or believable explanations as to how, for example, playing a recorder very loudly into my right ear at the same time as I try to take a work call is helping me, exactly; or how cutting open a milk carton, turning the top upside down and sticking it outside “to collect acid rain” is supposed to work. But what I do know is what’s left behind: half-drawn comics featuring sinister wolves, scraps of black card everywhere, tubes upon tubes of glitter glue with the tops left off, an old hot cross bun with the raisins all picked out. “I don’t like them, they look like flies” isn’t an adequate excuse for pushing it with your foot under the sofa, sorry.

Speaking of the sofa: if yours is normal — and by “normal” I mean it hasn’t been turned into a “fort”, a “wizard’s lair” or a “library” with every cushion upended and every single book you own dragged off the shelves and neatly stacked inside the folds of a blanket, next to the “library’s most loyal customer” (the cat) then I feel sorry for you. It takes me at least half an hour to attempt to tidy up and find somewhere to sit in the evening once the two tornadoes I am responsible for go to bed, and that’s the way I like it. I think.

But now, if anyone asks why I live in the middle of such chaos (like it’s a choice!) I will tell them thus: Marie Kondo told me to do it. Because it’s true. To hell with “decluttering”, shove your “does it spark joy?” manifestos where the sun don’t shine — Marie has a different outlook now, and it’s brilliant. It’s also one I (and many, many parents like me) can get behind, because these are our lives: we are all Marie Kondo, now. Take it from her: after having her third child in 2021, the reformed minimalist has admitted she’s “given up on cleaning” and is embracing chaos, just like the rest of us.

“My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life,” she told The Washington Post in a recent interview. “Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times,” she said through an interpreter. “I have kind of given up on that in a good way for me. Now I realise what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home.”

Amen, Marie — and thank you. As I write this I am thinking about what lies ahead for me when I return home: Ken (as in “Barbie and”) had been dressed and then undressed in the living room, this morning — some leftover gold lamé leggings discarded on the way from the living room to the hallway.

Related articles

Other Articles