Stand off or Showdown ?

The good mother - praising her creative daughter and letting her explore her creativity.
The home maker /cleaner - frustrated that her efforts of less than a month ago are totally non recognisable now. 

Its no secret to anyone who has been visiting here for a while or that knows us that My Miss5 is a creative soul. She keeps the sticky tape and staple industries running. Her creativity is beyond her years and some of her creations are simply gold!

Paper cat that has stand attached to back - with his/her bowl of water and ... bed ( I think ).

Now its not so much the creating that is the problem, its the resultant mess of the creative process and the discarded works in progress as one idea springs from another.

 Its the failure to put the 'tools' back into the correct place, its the paper all over the floor 

and most recently the decision to test if mediums are worthy of paper by testing on the desk top! Thank goodness most of them are washable

Its the artworks and creations creeping out onto the top of the draws.

the self created books such as 'Nature Books by Rachel' - subtitle this book is for people who don't know about nature. ( Words appear in random order as space on the page was available ) These self created books creeping out onto the bed and drawers

and we can't forget Under the bed. ( where else would a finger puppet mouse live? )

I can not store these things and I honestly say as much goes willingly into recycling sporadically by her as what is on her desk. I took all of these photos as I had started to sort the textas, pencils, crayons, stamps ... etc 

So what do I do here? I can't live with this mess it drives me nuts! I can't stop her creating. I shouldn't have to keep cleaning it all up over and over ... I can't seem to encourage her to clean it up as she goes. Who wins supportive Mama or happy homemaker ... how can they find a middle ground even?


  1. Ahh yes, it's a very tricky subject Tammy. My Bella is older now so will happily (mostly) clean up all of her mess and we have a plastic tub where special projects can be kept.

    We display art work etc.. on the fridge, sometimes the wall, in her Dad's shed and then special setups (that she has created) can go in her room or on the lounge room floor for a couple of weeks. We have a rule that once the couple of weeks is over they have to be moved to Dad's shed to be displayed on a shelf (which is choc-o-block I might add LOL), to the plastic tub in her room or else be thrown out (that's Bella's choice what to do).

    The special artwork goes into a cheap A5 scrapbook (we glue them in) after they've been displayed - again, Bella's choice which ones she keeps or throws.

    I find myself continually saying - although your artwork and creations are very special we can't keep everything. Sometimes it's tricky but I think ground rules are important like that and growing up I know I wasn't allowed to keep all of my treasures (I had an A5 scrapbook too to glue everything into too).

    On saying that though, we do have things that sneak under the radar and get jam packed into cupboards and under beds without me knowing. Every 3-4 months we spring clean the bed room together and that's where the 'under the radar' items get found and sorted.

    Sorry that was a bit long and jumbled!

  2. Tammy, when i was teaching I had a group of girls who did this exact thing with their tubs. So my rule was during the week you can put your creations an bits of paper into your tub. On a Friday you have to tidy your tub. Your tub MUST be cleared for Monday morning. I had a photo on the wall by their tables showing what was deemed acceptable for a cleared tub. They became very good at policing themselves as they knew being able to do this was a privelege. Maybe you could implement something picking a time that works best with your family whether it be Friday after school or sunday before dinner etc

  3. I have the same thoughts...set a time limit...tell R she has a fortnight, she will understand this time frame because of your family routine. She has the fortnight to keep her creative area and creations how she likes but once that fortnight is up you will come in and tidy the area the way you like to have throw out, recycle etc.
    A gentle reminder at the one week stage and then a few days before the end of the fortnight will be necessary though.

    Saying that don't expect too much straight away, she is still young. It has only been the last year or so that O has been more responsible for keeping her room tidy and her desk can still get in a state...but it doesn't take her much to clear it up herself now with the reminder that a fav show or computer time won't happen until her room/desk is reasonable.

  4. I have no advice for you Tammy because, I am ashamed to admit, I create a lot like she does. I have half finished projects and materials all over the place. I have tried and tried to keep to a designated area but I can't. When the urge strikes I have to listen and then when I have to leave the project I can't pack it up for fear I wont be able to pull it out ever again.

  5. Oh it's all so cute though, but if it were me I'd start to go crazy too. I agree with the time limit. And maybe a box for really special projects that she wants to keep for longer. Maybe she can only have 5-10 (don't know you decide) in her 'special box' and the rest of the things must be recycled within two weeks. This of course might mean she'll have to start dating her work and you'll have to start checking the dates... so hard! Good luck! At the end of the day at least you know you have a beautifully creative and imaginative little girl! xo m.

  6. Gee Tammy thats a hard one but all of the other comments look good and helpful. In the end you will know what to do.

  7. I have this problem x 3! Like you I don't want to stifle my girls' creativity, but at the same time I am going insane with the sheer quantity of little scrappy bits of paper/fabric all over every floor in the house, and that's not even beginning to deal with the actual art works themselves... I will be following your solution/s with interest lol!

  8. As the wife of a creative person and the mother of another I have empathy. While I understand that creativity is a process and that things are not finished evolving within a day or a week, they have to be in an area where they do not interfer with traffic flow or in my direct line of site. My daughter has a desk with a pull down cover and a box of 'must keep', which she has to go through once every 6 mths and make some choices. If it's on the floor - I tidy it & it is never seen again. My husband has a shed.

  9. One thing you can try, Tam, is to photograph her work once she's decided what can stay and what can go....that way may ease the way a little. R could have a folder on the pc or even make an album with printed pics in that.
    Another teacher friend used to feel that the finished work is less important than the creative process which makes it easier to toss things out as you know she's had that benefit already.


  10. I'm there with you :) We have the same artwork here too. We also have tea parties with stuffed animal guests set up in random places. Yesterday we had a tea party in the bath tub and had wash cloths for guests...:)

    Enjoy it while you can before too long this time will pass and you will miss it.


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know you were here. x
Have a happy Day.