Learning to be creative…

I have always been a bit of a Monica. Like really OCD. I mean mega tidy. Super organised. Get the picture? I remember having to share my room with messy sisters and I would literally divide the room up with tape to establish sides and their mess couldn’t get anywhere near my space. Bit sad, right? Anyway, I like things to be orderly, clean and in its proper place.

Things have changed though with a now 18 month old. I mean, I still like things to be orderly and tidy but I am having to learn that it isn’t a huge deal if things are a bit messy when he is playing. I can make things ‘just so’ when he is napping and then be ready for it to start all over again.

As he is into the next stage of development we have been trying to get creative recently. We are getting to grips with cutting and sticking, painting, playing with messy fruit, jelly, custard, pasta, wool etc to develop his creativity. I think Daddy is loving all of these wonderful works of art that we show him when he is home from work….

But how do you let your little one be creative, without it turning into a big stressy mess? I am getting to grips with things now but in the start I just didn’t want to even attempt it as I would just be freaking out about things being spilt or dropped and neither of us would be having a good time.

You might be quite chilled about things like this, but if you are a bit more like me, I have found that these few things work for me:

– Be organised and PLAN. I find it hard to be spontaneous at the best of times but I think creative play has to be planned and prepared for properly. Pick the day and time, fitting around naps etc and prepare everything you will need. Then you know you have everything you want and you can prepare the work surface. For example, taping down some bin liners on the kitchen floor, make up the  jelly or play-dough, whatever you feel you need for the activity.

– Use the high chair. (Or booster, chair harness, whatever you use). At least to start with anyway. Then you don’t have a fear like I did, that they’ll just run off with a paintbrush in one hand or with pomegranate seeds in the other. On cream carpet. Gahhhh. (Understanding my clean freak a bit more now??)

– Don’t be afraid of the mess. As long as you have planned in advance and prepared (see first point haha) then it should be pretty easy to clear up afterwards. Plus, you can just put the littles straight in the bath if needs be. They don’t care if they get mucky!

– Accept that things won’t be works of art / won’t taste good. In the early attempts at being creative with Max I would set aside proper baking time, get proper recipes and want to make cupcakes or cookies, having him help me stir or use the cookie cutters. I would get so frustrated when he wasn’t doing it right haha (I know right, he is only 1) so I have learnt that you just need to get some cheap ingredients and bear in mind that you might not be able to (or want to) eat them when they are done, but hey ho! You have had fun, quality time with your little one 🙂

– Just have fun. Put some music on, get your aprons on, maybe dance around a bit (only me?). Just have a fun time whilst doing it and it will take out the stressy element. You will both enjoy it so much more then too.

I hope you can enjoy some stress-free creative time with your little ones!

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  • I think your ideas are helpful for other mothers who feel like you do. I think most mothers would love a tidy home, but if you are blessed with a precious second, third or fourth child then sometimes with the best intentions and energy used by a mother all of that tidiness quickly goes out of the window. Some mothers even find this with their first child, as having one child for some mothers can be just as demanding as four children or more. The reason for saying this is I have always been a perfectionist and the down side to this is that it is harder to keep things the way I would like and it had caused a lot of stress when things haven’t been how I thought they should be. I have been too hard on my self when things have become too messy at times and when seeing how other mothers make the running of the home look so easy, it h taken me a while to realise it is really o.k. to have a bad messy day. – Sometimes those messy days are more often than I would like, but if I don’t let my self worry about what I can’t control and what is really important than all of the family is happy. I have realised that all we can do as mothers is our best and sometimes things might seem terrible, but as long as it was our best effort that day then it is o.k. – Sometimes our best is just surviving a day watching and feeding the children when we are feeling ill and nothing else is done. If any mothers have a difficult messy day, then please don’t worry than tags aren’t perfect. I do think that being as organised as we can be is a big key to keeping a happy home, a happy mother, father and children. I still have so much to learn when it comes to being a mother and wife and am thankful for the examples of all of the great mothers around doing their best and Becky you are one of those. (:

  • It’s suppose to say, ‘If any mothers have a difficult messy day, then please don’t worry when things aren’t perfect’. (:

    • Thanks Ruth. You are so lovely. I do think that being organised and prepared is key.I am learning that being organised and tidy are very different things. I have also heard a little joke that says only boring women keep their homes perfectly – so I’ll run with that 😉

  • This is so cute. I am guilty of worrying about the mess but as they get older I need to let them be kids and be creative. Love the photos of your adorable little one getting his creative thinking flowing. What a great post. #MMBH

  • I am the opposite. I chuck myself in at the deep end, get mess everywhere, then think..”eek what the hell have I just let happen”. My house isn’t the tidiest though and often it stresses me outm I get why people are afraid of making the mess in the first place. When you are so busy finding the time to clean up paint that has been splattered everywhere can be a nightmare. I think its about finding a balance 🙂

    Some lovely pictures 🙂 #mmwbh

  • What a lovely post. I am by no means OCD about cleaning but even I shudder at the thought of doing anything that might be messy with the kids. I always hope that we might produce some great works of art – and as they get older it occasionally turns out ok – but you are right, you just need to let go, as the most important thing is that they are enjoying themselves and having fun creating whatever it might be. x #MMWBH

  • Good tips. Messy/creative play can be hard, but you are right, when the children are young, the key is to be prepared. There is one thing I would add to your list….always have baby wipes to hand, they wipe up most things and you can wipe hands before you let little ones through the house to wash them properly 😉
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

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