I do, too.
I feel like I can breathe better when the house is clean. I can walk through it and really appreciate that everything has a place and it’s so neat and orderly. Even my kids like it. When the house is spotless, these creative geniuses wander from room to room discovering all kinds of things they can pull out and play with. They take the laundry basket when I’m folding laundry and fill it with random toys. They dump the basket of stuffed animals and call it their animal mountain. They carry things from room to room on little missions I may never understand... and it starts all over again.
I see holistic parenting as a scale (not the kind you weigh yourself on – you probably know by now I don’t believe in those). Holistic parenting is a balancing kind of scale, tipping one way and then the other. By definition, holistic means being concerned with the whole more than the individual parts. Parenting, by definition, is the care, love and guidance of a child (or children). It’s really big. A clean house, in comparison, is really small. Throw holistic and parenting together and you get the care, love and guidance of a child that is concerned with the whole, more than the individual parts. When we parent holistically, we are viewing the big picture, the people we want our children to become, the ideals we are putting in place and the love we want them to receive.
The parent I want to be, the parent I try to be, the parent I sometimes am, is the parent with a messy house. I say yes to painting, yes to book castles, yes to toy boxes, yes to emptying the cupboards and yes to playing every game we own. And when the paintings are finished and drying on the floor, sometimes the dog walks through them and gets paint paw prints all over the floor. When the book castles fall over, sometimes I look the other way and go do something else too. I don’t put everything back every night, not the toys in the toy boxes or the pots and pans in the cupboards because by nighttime I’m ready to spend time with my husband. Sometimes, when I get up in the morning I feel exhausted because I’m staring at a messy house and don’t know where to begin.
Let’s go back to the holistic parenting idea, too. When I look at the big picture, my beautiful children, the people I want them to be, “having a clean house” just isn’t one of the ideals that’s very high up on my list. Love, kindness, gratitude, creativity, generosity and joy… those are the ideals we are working toward. Cultivating those can be messy! But the memories? They’re so worth it.