dpp ’11: Messy & Busy

by flowers on December 7, 2011 · 10 comments

boy playing at a messy desk

I like this photo, but I didn’t want to post it.

I like it because it reflects a very real part of our everyday: messy and busy. If you look closely you’ll find Christmas in the photo, but you’ll also find Stone’s old He-man figures from when he was a kid and half-full can of unflavored seltzer.

I didn’t want to post it because it shows you how messy our life can be. It’s not zen, stylish or remotely organized. Then you’ll know that I don’t keep a home that looks like a catalog.

I like to take pictures that show off the beauty of my home. It makes me feel good to catch all that I like about my house, home and family in one frame. It’s also easier because just beyond that frame can be the mess that is life.

This table is where Solshine has spent the better part of the past three years. It’s filled with trinkets: marbles, legos, playmobiles, treasure he finds when he’s out and about. It’s messy and he’s busy.

I know there is an unintended danger that happens when we fill our lives with picture frames filled with only the “perfect” parts. It sets unrealistic expectations and leads to dissatisfaction with what we already have–even if what we have was enough before we saw pictures of something better.

I do it. I love to look at catalogs and pretty blogs and feel inspired and daydream about what I like and what I would do with this or that. At first it feels fun and then I start to look at my own stuff as not good enough. And another mom’s homemade curtains become a testament of my failure.

I think this is a good metaphor for the holiday season. We hold many romantic ideas about the holidays and what they should be like and feel like that it becomes almost impossible to live up to them. But when we stop being enchanted by the idea or the pictures we begin to notice what we have right in front of us–the everyday life that, while not perfect, is perfectly ours. And there’s really nothing else worth having.

Sure this holiday season is messy and busy, but at the same time it’s one of my favorite times. Just like the picture.


December Photo Project
This post is part of Treadways’ December Photo Project. A photo every day to celebrate the festive month of December. My theme this year: Our Everyday Christmas

Oh, and today I’m over at Simple Homeschool talking about how our Christmas Bucket List is helping guide our learning this holiday season. Go on over and check it out.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacy @ Sweet Sky December 8, 2011 at 9:53 am

I like this photo, too. :)

Thanks for a short and sweet and important post!



Zanna December 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

I love this photo, and I’m really glad you posted it! I love thinking of Sol at his work table, making things!

I am thinking a lot about changing my 7yo’s room. He has agreed to let the train table go. It was a place of adventure for many toy animals, and occasionally even the trains. I have a round wooden coffee table, painted black, in the garage. I trash picked it not knowing how I would use it, but I’m thinking it will be perfect in my boy’s room, and I am thinking I’ll use my collage skills and make a giant peace sign on it, formed of animals cut out of magazines. Don’t know yet if it will be done for Yule, or if i will ask him to help me with it, but seeing Solshine at his table makes me feel really good about my own table plans.


flowers December 8, 2011 at 10:38 am

Thanks Ladies. It’s nice to hear from both of you. And Z, I think that sounds like a great plan.


mb December 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm

love this. my house will never be featured in a catalog either. i am that friend who, when friends visit, they always breathe such a sigh of relief because invariably, my house is much messier than theirs. and i don’t have time to clean it before they come over. but i invite them anyway. when blogging, it is easier to clean up before people visit, but much more healthy when we all keep it real.


Janet December 10, 2011 at 12:15 am

Love the photo and your thoughts on it, too! My two boys have a similar type area always with a few legos, papers, and such.


Christina @ Interest_Led Learning December 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I tend to be the same way too. I am content with my eclectic messiness until I see pictures of what looks like a perfect home or lots of space filled with wonderful things to do. I think some people live like that naturally, but it’s not the way that’s going to be best for everyone. But it’s still hard to remind myself of that sometimes!


Nikole December 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I love this post. So true. I love the perfectly imperfect everyday life shots a lot. (Though I have cropped a dirty clothes pile out of a picture before :)


Kika@embracingimperfection January 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I think real life shots – at least sometimes – is nice. Reminds us that we are all real people with real lives. I love order but if If my house was perfectly clean all the time, especially as a homeschool parent, I think something would be wrong.


Dreena Tischler February 2, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Big breath out. Thanks so much. I take a lot of pictures of pretty food, but to do so I normally have to shove all the mess on the table out of the way first. And I sometimes reject pictures for my family blog because “how we actually live” is in the background.

Thanks for your reality. I love it too!


anushka June 8, 2012 at 7:38 pm

oh i’ve had the same picture in my photo library and thought – no don’t put that… it’ll be scrutinized and they’ll see that we have trademark toys, or whatever… but, i’m getting better at letting go of caring what other people think. i doubt anyone really scrutinizes though as much as i may think they would. i love this picture you’ve got up and don’t think we see the mess you see. i see a boy’s world of play and one that is his own special place. everyone needs that.


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