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Growth Spurts: A Coffee Table Commentary

The following was originally posted on my blog, “On My Mind,” on March 19, 2010:

Currently on my coffee table are the following items: a miniature tea party set, a toy gun, mail, a rented DVD, an empty glass, a pad of paper, a doll’s hair curler, a photo card reader, a Chess piece, a pen, a guitar pick, a Disney Princess storybook, a coffee mug, a ponytail holder, a couple of safety pins, a stack of birthday notes from my husband to me, a candle (the only thing that’s actually supposed to be on the table), a cell phone, a guitar capo, a laptop and reading glasses (until a few minutes ago), a set of horse stamps and a stamp pad, change, a remote control, a tube of pretend lipstick, and Abe Lincoln’s log cabin made out of a milk carton. Yes, we have a fairly large coffee table.

As my gaze and thoughts were drawn to this scene, I suppressed the initial thought (not difficult to do) of how much I need to clean my house and instead thought about how these various items represent the bits and pieces of our family’s life. The items are colorful and interesting. And a bit random. They have been used and reused. Some handled with care; others not so much. They represent our work, our play, and our hobbies–things we love.

I’ve been told that 20 years from now, I can have a clean house if I want to. But for now, with three young children, that’s just not a likely reality. We don’t live like pigs, but our house is generally messy most of the time. But it’s because we live in our house. We enjoy ourselves and our time together. Plus, my husband made me promise him when we first got married that our house would look and feel lived-in and not like a museum.


Between the comments on my blog and the ones I received on Facebook concerning this post, I could tell that this subject struck a chord (or nerve?) with other moms. I don’t know where the pressure to have an ever-tidy house comes from, but it’s apparently been around for generations. What I have found over the past decade of my being a mother, however, is that other moms are actually more comfortable–and probably comforted–when they see that other moms’ houses are just as lived-in as their own.

Won’t you join me in bringing comfort to yourself and to other moms?! Let’s relieve ourselves of this unnecessary pressure and give ourselves the freedom to enjoy life with our little ones! We all know how quickly it will pass us by.


Carrie Bevell Partridge and her family live in a messy house that’s lots of fun in Jackson, MS. Visit Carrie’s blogs: and

About The Author

Carrie Partridge

Carrie Bevell Partridge grew up in Memphis, TN with her parents and four siblings. She attended Mississippi College, where she met her husband Kevin. They have been married for 20 years and have five children. They live in Ridgeland, MS. Carrie has written the “Growth Spurts” column and managed social media for Parents & Kids Magazine since 2011. You can read more of her work at and

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