If you’re a follower of this blog, you’ve heard me talk about mess.  The inevitable mess that comes with having seven people living in one house can be overwhelming at times.

I Live in a Studio, Not a Museum {Thoughts on Living with Little Ones}

Janie has just learned how to get into a chair and then onto the school table.  Nothing is safe now – scissors, pencils, Sharpie markers.  She has already written in one library book.  She’s a firecracker, that’s for sure!  Always busy.  Sometimes she is occupied with something productive, but more often it’s something like putting the dog’s dry dog food into his water dish or unloading all the contents of my wallet.

I Live in a Studio, Not a Museum

This morning, I was on my way to get something from the kitchen when I ran into the evidence of Janie having taken a cereal box into the living room and having fed herself cereal in her little chair on the rug.  On my way to get a wet rag to clean up the half-chewed cereal from her chair (meanwhile someone else is waiting for help at the school table), I found this on the counter:

I live in a Studio, Not a Museum

I had let Jonathan paint while the older boys were doing school, but then they needed help in the school room and he ended up painting by himself.  And he painted in the way in which any three year old with limited painting experience would.

In that moment, I was tempted to get angry.  Not at Jonathan, but at the whole scenario – the school mess and the cereal mess and the paint mess, all of which was keeping me from the dishes that were piled all over the sink and the counter.  But I stopped and thought about the fact that we live in a studio, not a museum.  This is a not a place with sparkling clean floors where people gaze serenely at beautiful masterpieces hung on the wall.  No, a studio is messy.  Sometimes things don’t go the way you planned in a studio.  There are paint drips everywhere and supplies strewn here and there.  Things are learned and worked out in a studio.  We are not on display – we are in process.

Sometimes a change in perspective makes all the difference.

Realistic expectations make it easier to see the progress.  Like the fact that the toddler can say 2 more words than she could yesterday and the first grader is suddenly better at reading.  The three year old might spill something almost daily, but the eight year old doesn’t, and in fact he has become quite helpful with cleaning things up!  And while it is certainly good to teach the toddler not to eat cereal in the living room, a shift in thinking puts the inconvenience in the proper perspective (it was a 3 minute clean-up) and allows me to enjoy the life.

I live in a studio, not a museum {Thoughts on raising little ones}

Our house is full.  Not full of inconvenience or hassle, but full of life.

I live in a studio, not a museum

And lots of life comes with lots of muddy shoes.  But that’s okay, because we live in a studio, not a museum.

6 Comments

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  1. Jenny Sep 11, 2015

    This is a great perspective! Certainly helpful for me today - we have a whole heap of muddy shoes!

    Reply
    1. Sarah Sep 13, 2015

      Ha! I think we have muddy shoes almost constantly! :-)

      Reply
    2. Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life Sep 11, 2015

      I love this perspective. I've allowed myself to get discouraged recently about the fact that it's hard for me to keep my house clean enough. But I realized I was using the approval and standards of others as my measuring rod. I think remembering all the important work that we are busy with, and the idea of studio not museum, is so helpful.

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      1. Sarah Sep 13, 2015

        I hear you! It's so easy to measure ourselves by comparing with others - I definitely struggle with that too! And even though I *know* that Pinterest is not reality, it's easy to have all those pretty homes in mind and then see the clutter all over my house...

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      2. Jenae Sep 11, 2015

        This is so beautiful, Sarah! Thank you for such a great perspective!

        Reply
        1. Sarah Sep 13, 2015

          Thank you for your kind comment!

          Reply
        2. Devany Sep 12, 2015

          This is BEAUTIFUL and much needed. Thank you!!!

          Reply
          1. Sarah Sep 13, 2015

            Thank you for taking the time to comment, Devany! I'm glad it was helpful!

            Reply
          2. Holly Sep 14, 2015

            Thanks for this. I might have to put your sentence on my fridge. "We live in a studio, not a museum." Repeat ten times a day for improved sanity. :)

            Reply
            1. Lady Violet Sep 18, 2015

              My house is now more a museum and there is little studio evidence here at all. It's just TOO tidy. Both my girls are married and living a good way from us and my boys are out at work or away at university. My 14 yr old is the only one left at home and I MISS THE MESS. Sometimes I cry it's just so quiet here. Where have the years gone? So, to all you younger Mums with big families who are reading this, I would encourage you to enjoy EVERY moment that is given you. Who cares what your place is like? Don't pay too much attention to external opinions and just do the best you can.

              Reply
              1. Sarah Sep 21, 2015

                Thank you for taking the time to leave this encouraging comment! Sometimes it's hard in the day to day mess, but I know I'll miss these little years!

                Reply

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