May 17, 2023

Open Door Policy

Growing up, I recall my parents, especially my dad, constantly shouting to my brothers the tired phrase "shut the door, we don't live in a barn!".  Or something like that.  Which was promptly met with deep eye-rolling from us, thinking that phrase was so silly, and probably confusing to us, since we lived in a neighborhood (albeit in a teeny, rural town).

It's true, most people don't live in a barn, but as a parent now, I can relate to that phrase.  In and out, out and in, the front and back doors are constantly in motion these days.  So much so that I had to oil them, as to reduce that post-winter creaking from the hinges.
While I love that my kids spend so much time outside, especially in the light of reading this article, the parade of neighborhood kids traipsing through the doors is something I have to remind myself to embrace, especially at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when I've had my fill of little voices and shoes.
Pre-parenthood, I always wanted to be that mom in the neighborhood whose house the kids always congregated toward. 
Surprisingly, I am still happy to live in THAT house, the one where the kids hang out.  Whether it's facilitating a May Day teepee, filling a wading pool and getting out the squirt guns, or just mentioning the possibility of a popsicle treat, I (mostly) like hosting the kids, and I'm pretty sure they like being here.
It can obviously be exhausting and stressful, keeping an eye out for sometimes 6 small beings and their antics and monitoring behavior, especially sibling rivalry.  It is sometimes funny too, like when Soren and one boy yesterday were peeing in my flower bed and then discussing whether to try pooping in it too.  Oh boys!  Thankfully it wasn't in our veggie garden, which is coming along beautifully, despite an unexpected frost a few nights ago.
A perpetually-busted screen is proof that kids inhabit a house
While I try not to secede my home entirely to children (as evidenced by my plants and decor), I do appreciate seeing the evidence of their existence left behind via their toys, crumbs and dirt.
That is, when there's a quiet moment to reflect upon it, especially during preschool/nap time for the boys.  Which I'm certainly frittering away on the computer right now.  It's hard to muster up appreciation when boys are snapping your lilac bush with swords.
It's still a work in progress for me, this living-with-children, especially boys.  Incrementally, I'm letting go of a tidy house, because when you really confront the fact that cleaning+kids=more cleaning, it's actually easy to let go of it.  You'll never get more neat-freak satisfaction than that 20 minutes of time when all the laundry is done and the floors are clean, so why stress for such a brief moment?

So please excuse me while I throw open the doors, smile when the kids come in, and ignore those sticky fingerprints on the glass.

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.


  1. I think I've gotten better at letting the daily living mess just be. Most days... ha! If people are coming over though, my eye can't help but focus on every thing that needs to be picked up, cleaned, put away, closed, sorted, tidied, etc. :)

  2. It's really awesome that you're embracing the role of being 'That' mom of the neighborhood! I know when my sister and I were younger all the way up to our teenage years, she had the house full constantly and she was known to all our friends as 'Mamma P.'

    Your sons will grow up and thank you for that one day. I know I appreciate everything my mom did for myself and my friends :)

  3. I wish we had more kids in the neighborhood to just drop by. Roo has started being much more adventurous on her bike, so I am sure it will happen soon enough...

    Your garden looks fantastic!


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