I used to be one of those mamas. One of the ones who discouraged dirt and mess. Who hovered over her toddler making sure he didn’t fall in the green-stain-making grass. Who cringed when he headed toward the sand box thinking of all of the sandy hair and time it would take to bathe him afterward. Who hid the finger paints in hopes that he wouldn’t ask to make some messy creation.
I’d hyperventilate when someone suggested a messy mud pie playdate or making slime dough. I could hardly handle my kids playing with playdough or regular old dirt, let alone setting up messy activities with them.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Maytag. All opinions are 100% mine.
I wasn’t trying to hover and hinder my kids’ fun. I wasn’t thinking about that at all. I was thinking about the cleanup. The time it would take that I didn’t have. I was trying to stay sane. And that’s okay. I refuse to feel guilty about doing what I needed to do to just get by when I was knee-deep in baby and toddler parenting.
But I’ve loosened up over the years. I think that had a lot to do with having three children. Don’t get me wrong; I know that three kids isn’t tons of kids. I bow down to those who parent more children. But having my third child changed things. I learned pretty quickly that my kids would get messy whether I liked it or not. I no longer had enough arms to keep them all from the sand box or the finger paints.
So I let this being a mama of three business adjust my thinking, too. I let go of the idea of perfection just a bit. I let go of the idea of constant micromanaging of my kids. I learned that the mess was really fun for them, and even really good for their development, too. And I started to see that some of our best memories are the messy ones.
Have that fear of dirt and mess, like I did? Here are some tips that might help…
Adjust Your Expectations
Like I said, I finally realized that the mess was going to happen whether I liked it or not. My kids would find dirt anywhere. I had to stop expecting pristine, clean kids at all times.
I had to adjust my expectations to include the mess. And include time to deal with it and clean it up.
Plan for the Mess
Once my expectations were more realistic, I adjusted my stance from prevention of the mess to planning how to better manage it.
By planning ahead, I could make sure the kids were in play clothes before heading to the park or lay a plastic tablecloth down before messy sensory play.
Focus on the Positive
With adjusted expectations and a better planning, I am able to focus on the positive aspects of the kids’ dirt-filled fun.
I now try to keep my focus on the skills they’re building, the creativity they’re expressing, the friends they’re building, the memories they’re making.
Take the Stress Out of Cleanup
When I know my kids are gaining so much from their messy play, I don’t feel so resentful about the cleanup.
I know that the cleanup is worth all of the mess.
Maytag knows that the cleanup is worth it, too. As a top trusted American home and commercial appliance brand for decades, Maytag understands the importance of offering powerful and dependable washer and dryer units that can handle the dirt and messes of everyday family life. Their new Top Load Washer and Dryer units are designed to handle any filthy mess the kids make.
Celebrate & Share Your Child’s Filthiest Play
In fact, Maytag laundry is encouraging and celebrating kids’ filthy play with their #MyFilthiestPlay Contest. As the official washer and dryer of MLB, Maytag is calling ball players of all ages to upload photos or videos of their sliding, diving or just “filthy plays” using “#MyFilthiestPlay” on Twitter or Instagram, for weekly prizes like a Maytag Top Load Washer and Dryer pair, and the mega grand prize – a trip to the World Series, plus a Maytag Top Load Washer and Dryer pair!
Maytag knows that the filthiest plays are the most memorable, and their made-in-America washer and dryer units can handle them all. Come join along and see all of the Filthiest Plays of the Week
I promise that if you take a step back, adjust your expectations and focus, you’ll see that letting your child get a little messy is OKAY. And even that it’s more than okay; it’s awesome and memorable and so so good for them.
It’s worth the mess.
I’m a little bit that way… I don’t really mind the kids getting messy, but I do sometimes avoid stuff that will make extra work for me cleaning up.
But in general, I do agree kids should have freedom to play and make reasonable messes.