My daughter is an amazing individual. She is creative, empathetic, and funny. And she is very different from me. Those differences cause me a low level of ongoing anxiety primarily in the areas of messiness and lack of organization. Yes, visible messes make me feel anxious.
- I can’t work when my desk is cluttered and jumbled.
- I can’t cook until the sink is cleared and the counters are empty.
But Emma is not bothered by messes. In fact, she says she likes to have all of her possessions visible (on the desk or on the floor) so she can know where everything is. To my linear brain, that makes no sense at all. All that visual input overwhelms me and distracts me from getting anything done.
She’s been this way since she was a little girl, and although she has improved over the years, she is simply different from me. Messes don’t bother her.
Is it wrong to be disorderly? Is it wrong to leave your clothes on the floor?
What Emma has taught me over the years is that no, it’s not wrong. It’s her preference. And although I may prefer her to be neat and organized at all times, those traits simply aren’t a high priority for her.
She values other thing above order. That’s different from me. But it’s not wrong. It causes me discomfort when I see her room a mess, but I can turn around, walk out, and close the door.
Sure, I put my foot down occasionally and insist that she clean up, especially when the messes are in living areas of the house. But when they are hidden away, out of sight, I try my best to let it go. I would rather deal internally with my own discomfort about the mess than express that to her and put a constant strain on our relationship.
In essence, I tolerate her messes because our relationship is more important to me than being neat.
See more posts on this theme by the iHomeschool Network bloggers at What My Child Has Taught Me.