My hubby and I were married for 9 years before we were blessed with our daughter (followed by our son, 3 years later). And while we longed to grow our family much earlier than 9 years in, it had some perks that we look back on now and laugh. Things like sleeping in till 9 on Saturdays, going out for sushi on a whim, and having. a. clean. house. I scheduled it. Dusting was on Tuesdays. Bathrooms were on Thursdays. You get the idea.
Fast forward 8 years later and our home is a tornado of Legos, markers, laundry, and dog hair. And it’s amazing. In the words of Marie Kondo, it “sparks joy.”
Didn’t Marie Kondo say that a tidy house sparks joy? Well, she did… and then she didn’t. And word is spreading like wildfire. Great articles by CNN, Variety, and others talk about her shift in finding joy, and now parents are grabbing hold of this new standard.
In her new book, “Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life,” Kondo talks about struggling with guilt and perfectionism after the birth of her first child, giving up that standard after having her second child, and having a “messy” home after her third child.
“I have kind of given up on that in a good way for me,” she writes, “Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home.” She explains that Kurashi is a person’s “way of life” and that true tidying is ordering your life around what brings you joy.
Freedom From Standards
What seems to really be grabbing the attention of parents is the freedom they feel at Kondo’s remarks. She has been a social standard setter and inspired people all over the world. Now she is sharing that, upon entering parenthood, even she can no longer keep that standard — that it’s not even healthy or joyful to hold that standard as a parent — and it has been incredibly validating for moms (and dads) to hear!
That’s not to say that Kondo was wrong in her professional tidying mission pre-kids. However, it is saying loud and clear that life is about seasons, and standards must shift with them. Yes, tidying used to spark joy for me eight years ago, but now that level of tidying would make me a grumpy, yelling, frustrated mom. That doesn’t spark joy for anyone. I have needed to adapt to our new reality.
Keep The Encouragement Coming
What about you? Where are you in the journey? Are you crushed by standards beautifully posted everywhere you look? Are you at peace with sticky counters and crumbs because it means your kids are nourished and growing in independence (not perfection)? Maybe somewhere in between? Me, too. And it’s beautiful stories like Marie Kondo’s that encourages me to keep finding what sparks joy in the messy.