While I'm at work, just after lunch time, I usually take a ten-minute break to peruse people.com. Don't judge me. It's my time to escape from work, responsibilities, and these days, Trump news. It's similar to reading my Facebook News Feed with the difference that I now know mundane details about celebrities' lives in addition to the happenings in my friends' lives. So today, I read that Molly Sims, the gorgeous former supermodel who now has 3 kids under the age of 5, wrote a new book called Everyday Chic. What caught my eye in the article was that she has a neon sign in her kids' playroom that reads "The Happy Mess" and it's a phrase that sums up her house and her life. Yes! That's exactly how I feel and why I started Messy Bliss.
One of the areas that had been quite messy for me last year, mostly literally, had been dealing with and organizing all the stuff that comes with kids while also living in a small space. My husband and I used to live in a 1200 square foot, 2-bedroom condo and that was plenty of space before children. It was fine even when we had one child. But having a second put a strain on our spaces and stuff was everywhere. It didn't help that we lived in a loft with most of the square footage in one grand room. So that room housed the kitchen, TV, sofa, dining table with chairs, dining board, a piano, a plethora of toys and all the contraptions that infants/kids need (musical chairs, bouncy chairs, scooters, etc.) Unexpectedly, the mess was seeping into other parts of our lives. There was no space for us to just be by ourselves, to retreat to or to lounge and relax. We were always on edge and always cleaning. There was no designated space for the kids to play; every night after the kids went to bed, my husband and I would pick up after them, putting the toys away in a huge closet trying to recreate an adult living room. We were in each other spaces in ways that were nice to create a cohesive, tight family unit, but not in ways that would foster independence, relaxation or exploration.
For me, a "Happy Mess" place is one that is balanced between the happiness and messiness that coexist in one's life.
In our old place, I felt that our balance was greatly skewed towards that of messiness. We started to lose sight of the joy of having kids because all we could see and feel was their stuff everywhere. Moving to a larger home helped us find more of this balance and to eventually create these "Happy Mess" spaces. We now have the luxury of adult spaces void of clutter and toys as well as a room that the kids can call their own. The kids can often be found in their playroom (that doubles as an office when they go to bed), which is equipped with their toys and is a safe space; they can hang out and remain in this room without being constantly supervised. These separate spaces have helped in ways that we could not have anticipated. One day, we arrived to the kids' playroom to find a "store" set up by my kids of over 50 handmade paper fans, in different colors, shape and sizes (my daughter had learned how to make fans that day in preschool). In having their own space, the kids were able to use their imagination and creativity to create something new. This would not have happened in our old space. And because we are not spending every night picking up after the kids and putting away their toys, Kishore and I are able to spend more time together. These spaces are not completely neat and defined but they do have less purposes than what our spaces did before. What I've found is that embracing our "Happy Mess" has meant creating separate spaces for our children and ourselves in which we can all explore our "messiness" and be happy in the pursuit.
Embracing one's "Happy Mess" can mean different things to different people- it could mean embracing the unpredictability of work/life balance or embracing the nuance in an alternative or non-traditional romantic relationship. Finding out what mess is creating anxiety and what can relieve or balance that mess is the first step in creating a "Happy Mess."
Have a Happy Mess of a weekend!