Saying Yes to the Mess

Head’s up: Sponsored by Samsung

We’ve been painting lately. Headboards and posters and cardboard forts, as if our bodies are aware the weather’s turning, as if it’s time to fluff the nest a bit.

The basket on my fireplace that just weeks ago contained SPF and sunscreen, kinetic sand and sidewalk chalk, has been effectively winterized. Puzzles. Books. Paint.

kids and laundry

Reluctantly, the last one. As much as I want to encourage creativity and play and color, the mess gets me good. There’s the set-up — butcher block paper taped onto the dining room table, dropcloth over the bench, newspaper on the rug — all of it remaining for days and days, wet watercolors and abstract oils laying out to dry where our dinner should be. Why take it down? I’ll reason, when she’ll just want to paint again tomorrow? and so, our dining room becomes an art studio. We eat chicken around the ocean scene, pass napkins over the flowers.

It’s lovely until it’s not.

But Bee is five and a half, and it’s showing. She cleans up after herself with only a bit of prodding. She’s able to sit still long enough to engross herself in a project, to see it through for a bit. There are still spilled waters and distracted smudges, but there is also joy and empowerment and creativity and I don’t know, it just seems like a mess worth making these days.

kids and laundry

I suppose, deep down, I’ve always relied on a basic equation for tiny attention spans requesting a paintbrush:

If set-up of activity (X minutes) + clean-up of activity (Y minutes) > actual doing of activity (Z minutes) = Frayed nerves all around.

You remember, right? When it was just you and your egghead baby, and you’d stumbled on that awesome craft – that one with the glitter(!?!) – so you’d bought the supplies and covered the table and babyproofed the scissors only to find the baby didn’t want to glitter the page, he wanted to glitter his shirt, your shirt, the dog, and the craft was over before it began but you spent the next hour bathing the baby’s hair and the dog’s hair and effectively vacuuming every shred of sparkle from the cereal-crusted carpet?

(Math can be so mean.)

This handy equation has meant two things, for us: (1) No glitter and (2) A really, really good washing machine.

kids and laundry

Earlier this summer, our former washing machine started putting holes in Ken’s shirts, ripping our towel hems. When Bee’s tutu shredded on the ‘gentle’ setting, we knew it was time for a replacement solution.

We landed on this one, the FlexWash and FlexDry. It tackles two loads at once, so you can hand-wash delicates and disinfect your whites all in one fell swoop. And with a corresponding Smart Home app, I can control timing and settings for those (not-so-rare) mornings I forget to start the dryer on my way out of the house. For normal days, it’s a no-brainer, but the real benefit?

Paint days, where the messiest of shirts and dropcloths get their own separate load immediately without throwing off the rest of the day’s laundry.

Maybe math isn’t so mean after all.

kids and laundry

Every now and then, we stumble upon an appliance that enriches our lives in ways we didn’t expect. A larger dishwasher means saying yes to more dinner parties. A smarter vacuum means saying yes to glitter (not there yet).

And for us, a better laundry system means saying yes to more paint, to more spilled water and smudged acrylic and stained shirts.

Saying yes to creativity.
Saying yes to the littles.
Saying yes to the mess.

Tell me: what’s your go-to appliance or household item that helps you say yes? I’d love to hear all about it! Honorable mentions: This, these and these!

 

 

p.s. This essay was written for the Samsung FlexWash and FlexDry – the newest multi-tasking technology equipped to handle anything life tosses at you. (Yes, even glitter.)

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