Messiness and parenting

Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

E-mail Cheryl Bac

About this blog: I’m a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl…  (More)
About this blog: I’m a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons including Chicago and Boston. Exercise is an integral part of my life. I hope to one day go back to long distance running and tackle the New York City Marathon. Right now I run after my one year old son. Although I am a stay-at-home mom, we are rarely “at home.” My mom also stayed at home with my brother and me. She warned me that, although rewarding, it can be isolating. So, with her help, I learned the importance of getting out into the community and meeting other mothers. On the rare occasion when I am at home and have a hand or two free, I squeeze in time to scrapbook. As a new mom, many challenges are thrown my way. I hope my opinions, triumphs, and struggles help experienced parents reminisce, new parents cope, and parents-to-be get an honest glimpse of what the first years of motherhood can entail.  (Hide)

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With three young kids it’s easy to misplace items. I’ve given up on keeping track of everything. “Where is a specific Lego piece?,” No clue. “Where is the orange play-dough? I don’t know, but here is some red. ”Where is the hot wheels I played with yesterday?” Maybe under the couch. “Where is my favorite blue shirt?” Could be in the laundry.

While I wish we were more organized, I don’t want to spend any more time actually organizing. We are finding a balance- keeping track of the important things and letting the less important stuff go.

Recently, I was very lucky to have a kid-free morning and I decided to listen to an audiobook while on my way to swim and do some yoga (I didn’t want to touch the dishwasher, laundry, or mail during this rare kid-free time. Cleaning and organizing was just going to wait). Tim Harford’s book, Messy, was the perfect audiobook for that moment. I only had half an hour, but I enjoyed hearing his argument that sometimes messiness is beneficial. Messiness can cause us to step out of our comfort zone and to be more creative.

So the next time we cannot find orange play dough, I hope we take it as an opportunity to mix different colors together to make new ones. And the next time we can’t find a specific Lego piece, I hope our search for a replacement helps us build something a bit more creative and unique.

Of course there are times when organization is important, but listening to Messy is helping me embrace some of the chaos that comes with raising three little ones.

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