There was a time when Nate always wanted his room just so. He would clean, and line up his dinosaurs, and whine when cousins came over and moved them. He always kept his room perfectly clean, to the point where he wouldn’t even really play with his toys because he didn’t like a messy room.
So I started telling him he couldn’t keep his room clean. I would, on occasion, dump all the laundry out of his basket, just to give his floor a little color. I would tell him he wasn’t allowed to clean his room for weeks at a time. He needed to get comfortable with messes – because in real life, messes happen. And you can’t be so particular that a little disorder makes you come unglued.
I have been drilling into him – as I have all his brothers & sister before him – that ”every mess can be cleaned.” It’s not that I live in a messy home, or that I’m indifferent to clutter or grime. Very much the opposite. BUT – we have to live with life when it’s gone awry – when we have piles of extra kids over, or days so busy that all we can do is dump our gear, grab our next supplies, and head out the door again, leaving the mess to accumulate. Sometimes we have to turn a blind eye to the table of dishes, or a disorganized pantry, or the laundry room overflowing, because there are children to play with, and friends to visit with, and tired evenings when we just can’t move. But the mess can always be cleaned later. And when it is cleaned, a mess is sure to return again.
All this is to say when I went to retrieve the winter gear stored in Nate’s closet, I observed that Nate seems to have learned his lesson well. And now it may be time to go the other direction! HAHA!