From Tami: Messy Yard

Slower pace
One problem with having such a big family is that you really stick out in the neighborhood.

It’s not like we have a bike or two left in the driveway—we have three or four. Plus a skateboard or two, a whole bunch of helmets, and a pair of roller blades.

Garbage day is an adventure; we always look like we are doing spring cleaning. After holidays, when cousins come visit? Suffice it to say that the garbage collectors have been known to leave some of our garbage in protest. More than once. Okay, so it’s a constant problem.

Two of the boys like tinkering with engines, and so we often have the carcasses of old go-carts scattered around the driveway. They buy them, fix them, paint them, and sell them. So there is always paint lying around too.

In short, try as we might, we tend towards having a messy yard.

It can be embarrassing, trying to fit in with the neatly manicured lawns of suburbia with all of this stuff cluttering everything up.

We try to get the kids to put away their things, and we have them help with yardwork—it goes very fast, with four or five kids working hard for an hour—but our yard, like the universe, always drifts towards entropy.


1. Lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.

2. Physics stuff about Thermodynamics.

3. My yard.

4. My life.

Ahem. Moving on.

I love when our yard looks nice, but I am certainly a realist. We have a lot of kids. There are constantly fluctuating hordes of toddlers, kids, and teenagers in our house. And in our yard. And on our driveway.

If the kids want to bike, skateboard, or just hang out with their friends outside, am I going to stop them? In this age of video games and Netflix, every hour they spend outside is valuable to me. Do I wish they cleaned up after themselves more? Absolutely. Would I trade the messy yard for sedentary kids? Not in a million years.

I can’t get too mad about the helmets in the yard—after all, I’m glad they’re wearing them. As long as they are being productive, learning, and enjoying, I can’t get too worked up about the dead go-carts…okay, those are really bulky, so I sometimes get a little bit annoyed about that. But I would still rather them use their hands to explore an engine, instead of staying inside on the couch.

It can be tough to come home to a mess—especially one that the neighbors can see. But I need to live in a house with healthy, happy children. Being outside is a huge part of their health and happiness, and I am willing to deal with external chaos for internal peace.

Sometimes, letting go of our stress about neatness and appearances can be a huge relief. Of course, it is also stressful to live in a mess, but I know that you’re a good judge of how much mess-making is beneficial, and when to reel it in. Mess-making memories are some of the best, and I know that your children appreciate the freedoms you give them. That isn’t to say you never make them clean up after themselves. It’s a balance, but you know that.

That’s why you’re a SuperMom.


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