Messy play. For many of us parents it’s a love/hate thing. Either you enjoy doing it with your kids or you point blank refuse to deal with the mess. I do like doing messy play but it doesn’t always (or even very often) go the way I hope. I have in fact had some disastrous messy play experiences over the last week or so, so I feel suitably qualified to share with you a guide to ensuring that messy play goes very badly indeed and stresses you out enormously.
1. Do zero preparation.
Tell your kids about a fantastic idea before you have even thought about how possible it is, whether you even have the right ingredients or considered how long it takes to prepare. Cue kids whining and clinging while you try and gather ingredients and get it all ready. This does not get messy play off to a good start and you are stressed before you even begin. Brilliant.
2. Don’t think about your child and whether it is right for them.
Even if you know your child doesn’t like getting sticky or wet, set then up with some jelly messy play and see how it goes. Why not eh? Of course there’s no chance they will act true to form and refuse to participate because “I don’t like it” or will try their best before yelling “my hands are all yucky” while screaming and throwing themselves at you with said yucky hands.
3. Believe what you see on pinterest and social media.
Of course there is no chance that those smily faces you see are merely a snapshot and the one happy moment of messy play before the whining started. As for those picture perfect results and amazing creations as a result… Yup zip chance a parent has contributed at all and of course your children will also create similar masterpieces. No doubt about that whatsoever…a picture tells a thousand words? Or a thousand LIES!?
I posted this picture on Instagram.. looks idylic huh? Nicely glosses over the fact that within seconds Monkey was demanding to get out kicking off an uber tantrum and LM wanted to get out shortly after… Don’t believe everything you see folks!
4. Expect it to last more than 5 minutes.
Because of course they will enjoy it so much that they will still be engrossed in half an hour or an hour allowing you to have a cup of tea or write a blog post. There’s no chance that they will prod it for a few mins then announce “I’ve had enough now. ” Or if they are too little to talk then of course they won’t suddenly make a break for freedom trailing spaghetti/jelly/paint throughout the house the second you have turned away because you think they are happily playing. If they have previously enjoyed an activity then you can guarantee that they will like it again… Yup absolutely zero chance they will be a contrary little so and so and refuse to join in…. ahem.
5. Underestimate the clean up operation.
Can you say uh oh?
Got a pack of wipes. Yeah that’ll do. Until you see both you and child are up to your arms in black goo which is dripping all over the floor which you haven’t put any protective covering down on… Cue holding a child at arms length as you run through the house to the nearest sink, screaming “don’t touch anything” while you hope nothing drops anywhere that it can’t be removed by vanish or bleach!
See, failing at Messy Play is very very easy!
If for some reason you don’t want to fail at Messy Play, perhaps take care to avoid all of the above faux pas… And yes I have done all of them more than once…
Because it is worth it. Sometimes, just sometimes, you are rewarded with scenes like these and that makes it all worthwhile even if the smiles are very shortlived. Even when there is a ginormous clean up operation to come. As long as you don’t expect too much from them or yourself it will be fine.
We love a bit of DIY in our house, and our current project is decorating the baby room. Unfortunately though not all of our DIY attempts go to plan first time. There was the time hubby drilled all the way through a wall when putting a shelf up (thankfully that room needed a bit of re-plastering anyway due to him enthusiastically ripping out a built in wardrobe!). There was also the time I knocked over a pot of bright turquoise paint, spilling it all over the carpet. I’ve also been known to step off a ladder into a pot of paint. Honestly I should not be trusted with paint!!
We were recently contacted by Poles Direct who are asking for my DIY Confession as part of their ‘Changing Attitudes and Values DIY Blogger Challenge.’ The problem really was not thinking of an example of a fail, as we have had a fair few, but of finding ones with photographic evidence, as we do tend to rectify our mistakes eventually.
Then, I remembered one of our biggest DIY fails.Which we haven’t rectified, or even attempted to! So here it is, our DIY Confession.
I had a really lovely week this week. We are all well again after being poorly and it has just been nice and relaxed and Monkey and I have had a lot of fun. But, for some reason, I have woken up this morning with my negative head on. Does anyone else ever get this? When I have my negative head on it is like all of the niggles that usually live in the back of my mind, come flying to the front and seem insurmountable. The happy mundane routine of life at the moment suddenly seems stifling and I feel like I want to escape….. but to where or what, I don’t know.
I am alternating between stomping round the house, shouting at objects, (such as my phone because it won’t do what I want) and sitting crying and thinking about all the negatives in life. I should point out at this point that Monkey is out with Daddy for an hour or so, so he isn’t witnessing any of this! I am generally a positive and happy person. I try to look at the positives in life, so this is all quite out of character for me, but it does happen sometimes, and as this blog is about my life as a stay at home mum, I feel I need to share the lows as well as the highs. I am not using this blog to try and make myself out to be the perfect mum, far from it! I also find that it is quite cathartic to get it all out of my head by writing it down.
I made the decision to be a stay at home mum. It was my decision and mine alone, with the support of my husband. I have written a lot about this decision in the past so won’t go into detail here, but most of the time I love watching Monkey grow and develop and I feel I have made the right choice. But on days like today, when my negative head has taken over, I am back to doubting all of this again. I wonder if I am using being a stay at home mum to hide from the pressure of having to do something in my life or to be successful. I wonder if being a stay at home mum is enough for me or if I should be doing something else. I feel like a failure which also feels crazy because I chose to do it and I try very hard to do a good job. I don’t feel like I am failing at being a mummy, I’m not a domestic goddess or anything but I don’t feel like I am failing at that specifically either. I just feel like I am failing in general, maybe because there is no evidence of success or achievement? I don’t know if this rings any bells with anyone or if it just makes no sense at all from the outside.
So I start to wonder if I can do something else, I mean I crochet and I blog but I wonder if there is something else I can do to give myself more of a feeling of achievement. I used to love photography and drawing, and I wonder about writing a story or something, but then the negative head hits back at these attempts to find a positive solutions, and tells me I am not creative enough or talented enough to be successful so why bother. So I wonder if I should go back to work but then I do a full circle and think about the Monkey and I do know that I don’t want to leave him to go to work. I could work from home, but do what? And find the time where? Then the negative head tells me I am lazy and unmotivated… maybe I am.
My negative head usually doesn’t stick around for long, and sharing these thoughts on here already seems to be diminishing it’s hold over me. Hubby and Monkey are back and chomping on the flapjacks fresh from the oven and I feel myself coming back. But I know it will take over again one day to cast shadows and doubt over my purposefully happy and mundane life. For now though I am going to sign off and try and enjoy this sunny Sunday with my family.