Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bad News for Messy Moms

I can't stop thinking about the Emily Bazelon article in Slate I skimmed yesterday. In it, she describes a study that showed moms who are orderly do a better job of encouraging reading than do moms who are messy. She might have said something different or more nuanced than that, but I couldn't really take the specifics so I didn't read closely. I mean, I know my kids are supposed to have a bedtime routine (they do); I know their days are supposed to be consistent (they pretty much are); I know they need routine and continuity since they have no sense of time and never know what to expect. But does my house have to be neat all the time, too? And what about my husband? Why is it just messy moms that disoragnize the highly impressionable minds of small children? It's just relentless all this stuff I'm supposed to be as a parent -- patient! home baking! organized! And then what about that whole messy-is-creative thing I read about in the Times a while back. Turns out it's from 2006 and I still haven't forgotten! And I just skimmed that, too! Because you know what that article says? That article says if you've got a messy closet, you're probably a better parent. I think.

Of course one of the best parents I know has a closet so organized everything in it is labeled. I mean, containers with q-tips and band aids are labeled. It's astonishing. And her kids love to read and do art projects. Oh dear. I've got to go find a label machine. I know I read about those somewhere.

2 comments:

Carolyn said...

hmmmmmm, i am uber organized but not so neat if that makes sense. i can navigate the rubble but have a tendency to plan things to a fault. it only takes one time not packing extra underwear for Nels or forgetting to bring my pump to work...but at times, it really does make me wonder if i'm stifling creativity (for myself as well!). i guess i should let the routine fly out the window on some days. as for the reading i figure they'll pick it up when they do, right? (swiss kids don't even formally begin until they are 7)...it would be interesting to see these studies continue into adulthood because who really cares if you have an 'early' reader.

Robin Aronson said...

I would give my eye teeth to be more organized. I try all the time and I think I'm getting a little better, but it's, as they say, a journey. I don't think not being organized makes me any more creative, but I do think it allows for a certain amount of flexibility -- but if the flexibility is overwhelmed by a search for the keys, who cares? I don't actually care about early reading, but I do care about my kids having a sense of order and the space to be quiet -- which can be hard in clutter.....