Learning to Embrace Messiness


That was the last picture I took at Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 before we took our flight back to Frankfurt on Monday. It was the end of our 8 weeks long holiday back in the UK with Dan’s side of the family.

Today, we resume our every day life back in Frankfurt. I found it hard to fall asleep last night because I didn’t want morning to come. I knew I would be upset to watch Dan leave the house for work in the morning. I confess that a tear or two was shed when we bid Dan goodbye at the front door. Theo did a semi-wave to his Papa! That cheered us up.

Surprisingly, Theo and I adapted really well. We knew that Theo won’t have much of a problem adapting. It was ME. The lucky boy received lots of fun Christmas toys and we had plenty of fun playing with them today.

I struggle internally when I see the mess in my living room. As much as possible, I don’t want to be always telling my son “So messy! Play neatly!” or “Stop playing! It’s a mess!” I would like him to be allowed to play in a free environment where he’s allowed to explore, be adventurous, encouraged to be creative and most importantly safe. I actually believe that I should allow Theo to “make a mess” (within reason) or I might be nurturing a child who’s too afraid of dirt, too afraid of making mistakes, too cautious. So whenever he plays, I’m screaming to myself in my head “Shut up, Yolande! Leave the mess alone!” So far so good!

Albert Einstein and Roald Dahld are famous for having untidy desks. They didn’t do too badly in life, did they?

If I looked back into my childhood, the messy moments were one of the most memorable ones.

Play dough on my head.


Getting muddy – well, really shouldn’t be doing it now for health and safety reasons!

Jumping in puddles.

Painting ceramic figurines.

Getting myself half-buried in sand on the beach.

Getting the green light to roll some pastry for Chinese New Year pineapple tarts.

Today, I reminded myself that it’s ok to be messy. In fact, Theo needs to be allowed to be messy (in our own place at least). Honestly, the mess bothers me A LOT but I know I’ll regret it BIG TIME if Theo’s childhood memories are of his Mama frantically packing toys away so that the apartment looks spotless and his Mama trying to make him eat as if he’s dining at the poshest restaurant in town.


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