Messy Play Gives Me The Jitters!

I try my hardest to be the best mum I can be.

To fill the girls days with endless opportunities. Outings, walks, playdates, pretend play and craft activities. All to let them express who they are, enhance their little imaginations and broaden their experiences.

But I struggle with Messy Play!!

As soon as the words ‘paint, playdoh, PVA glue or even felt-tip pens‘ get mentioned, I practically get the shakes!!

It fills me with dread!

But, being the good mummy I’m endeavouring to be, at the same time as the nerves I will make sure I sport a happy smile upon my face, just to show the kids that, of course we can be like any other normal family and enjoy a spot of messy play, just like their friends do with their mummy’s and daddy’s, and just like you see on Pinterest (which is obviously the norm)!


And I think I’m forcing that smile for my own good too!

I have a need to be that super-mummy who can just let things go.

I’d love to be able to let the paint stains on the furniture just wash over my head.

I await the day where I can simply ignore the bright fluorescent Play-doh splodge which has been squished into the new carpet.

And I long for the time I can just laugh off the primitive cave drawings on the wall behind the sofa.

I think this would make me a much more fun kind of mum.

I want to Rachel from ‘Friends’, not Monica who is “cool and fun at organised indoor projects”

But as much as I try, I can’t do it.  I literally get the jitters!

For example, there was today…….

Having returned from hospital only last week with my little Ella, who is learning to stand and walk all over again after having her leg broken in a rather unfortunate accident, I’m trying my hardest to fill her time with fun and interesting things to do.  I want to be the best ‘stay at home mum’ I can be whilst I’m signed off work for the next month to care and look after her.


So – this morning I grabbed the paints and a stash of paper with a view to spending some fun and quality time with both Ella and Holly.

I was organised.

I laid out the paint mat, popped all the brushes into pots of paint and spread out as much paper as I could find for them to start on their little masterpieces.

Each pot had its designated brush according to colour.

I’d also bought some extra paint tools last week, for some extra fun sponge painting and stamping too!

All went well for the first ten minutes, but then all hell broke loose.

Ella accidentally painted my arm whilst turning around, but then thought it would be funny to do it on purpose the next time. So she launched at me with a sponge roller laden with bright red paint.  I asked her nicely to stop, but she didn’t. So I told her more forcefully not to do it again.

Well, the toys literally came out of the pram!

This is unfortunately is something she has picked up from her time in hospital as she couldn’t express her frustration in any other way than throwing things – I mean, she couldn’t exactly storm off in a huff with her legs hanging from the traction equipment could she!


So, with paint flying all over the dining room (currently their play room) and with Holly merrily pouring the paint directly onto the paper and spreading it out with the roller – the paint must have been half an inch thick – I decided enough was enough and called time on the painting activity!

I just couldn’t do it any longer!

So I went and fetched the washing up bowl full of warm soapy water and a cloth to wipe the girls down to get them changed again ready for a new activity.

This didn’t go as to plan also.

Ella and I ended up playing tug of war over the sopping wet dishcloth, and because I am highly aware of her fragility at the moment, I backed off.  The grimy brown tinged paint water flicked all around the dining room and left a huge puddle on the wooden floor around us.

I had to call for reinforcements.

So Mr B came to my rescue and put Ella to bed (she often gets stroppy if she’s tired) and left me to clear up the mess.

So half an hour later, I’m sat here writing this with my head in my hands and my arts and crafts mojo well and truly crushed.

I’m Monica after all!!

So – I think this is something I need to get over.  This is my Everest I need to climb and conquer!

Which I plan to do this very summer with the likes of mud pies, feet and hand print painting, bubble painting and foam fun!

Wish me luck!!

Are you like me and get all flustered with these type of activities?

Or do you have a fab secret for successful messy play time that you’d care to share with me??

I’d love to hear from you!

love steph

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Mami 2 Five


  1. 15th October 2016 / 11:06 am

    I actually quite like messy play (I’m rubbish at just playing with toys though!!)

    Do you have a dining table? I always make mine sit at the table to do anything messy- it contains the mess much better x

    • 15th October 2016 / 11:08 am

      The website thingie didn’t work! (I’m rubbish at this too!!)

  2. 18th May 2016 / 7:25 pm

    Find a messy play class near you ? I take my son to one and saves him making a mess at home X

  3. 18th April 2016 / 10:49 am

    I am so with you on this! I really do try but find it so hard to just let taylor go for it with the paints! We had a session outside last week but like you she managed to get it all over me. And then she gets so upset when I decide it’s over that it hardly seems worth it in the first place! But like you I’m determined to conquer this – more preparation I think! Xx

    • 18th April 2016 / 10:53 am

      Hahaha. I love your determination here! It’s just so hard isn’t it. And invariable they makes ten tonnes of mess in under five minutes, and I’m just left rocking in a corner somewhere!! Hehe! It’s better at the mo though, as we just booked a new kitchen and diner knock through this weekend, so I’m really not caring about the decor now, as it’s all changing. But you just wait till it’s all in and new. I think I’m going to need bottles and bottles of gin!!! (Thankfully the Bombay Sapphire distillery is just down the road – I might get a tap plumbed in!!!) Good luck though lovely!!! ????

  4. 31st March 2016 / 11:10 am

    Oh, I remember the stress of messy play! The secret is to befriend one of those parents who genuinely don’t care about the mess and love organising all this stuff and go to theirs instead. Mine are teens now and the Play-doh and paint has been replaced with nail varnish, lipstick and toast crumbs decorating the bedroom carpets, so it doesn’t get any better. Sorry! Hope your little girl is back on her feet again soon – sounds like a nightmare!

  5. 17th January 2016 / 11:56 pm

    For painting activities I suggest using bath tub paints. They can wash it off theirselves once they are done. Crayola also has invisible paint that only works on paper. I do not mind the messes my kids make and I have four so their mess super duper big. Sometimes it is super hard for some people but it’s best to find activities that don’t make super big messes like play doh or you can hang poster board up along the wall and let them color with washable markers or crayons.

  6. 29th May 2015 / 9:27 pm

    I despise messy play but every other Wednesday we have “messy play Wednesday’s”. We’ve had gloop, spaghetti coloured with food dye and painting, all of which resulted in a messy child, messy mum, messy house and garden and several changes of clothes. i will conquer this! Wishing you best of luck on your messy play journey! #PoCoLo

    • 29th May 2015 / 10:08 pm

      Oh Sherry – this is brilliant!! I will try my hardest to follow your lead!!! Steph xxx

  7. 29th May 2015 / 11:37 am

    I have a small terrace and I usually make my son do crafts there weather permits. If not we do it inside. I bought this mat from Ikea. Its massive so it can get all his paints and glitters =) #pocolo

    • 29th May 2015 / 5:10 pm

      Oooh, Merlinda – that mat from Ikea sounds brilliant! I might have to look this up!! Thanks for your comment. Steph xxx

  8. 29th May 2015 / 11:05 am

    Oh I can relate to this too – I try so hard to enjoy messy play but I do often find after ten minutes I’m struggling not to get stressed out by the mess. I’ve gradually got a little better about it but there are definitely days when a messy play session ends with a stressed-out mummy and unhappy children. It did sound like your messy play session was a particularly stressful one though with paint and water getting everywhere.

    • 29th May 2015 / 5:12 pm

      Hahaha – yes it was a bit stress! You’d have thought I’d have learnt my lesson but I have another craft post coming up!! Perhaps ten minutes should be the golden rule!! And then we tempt them with something lee instead! Hehehe. Steph xxx

  9. 29th May 2015 / 10:11 am

    hate, hate, hate messy play. I have successfully managed to let them destroy all their playdoh by playing with it in the garden. I no longer get asked as they don’t have any!

    • 29th May 2015 / 5:13 pm

      Fab idea – I’m letting them play with their Play-doh in the garden on the next scorching hot day we have!! Hahahaha. Steph xxx

  10. 23rd May 2015 / 6:29 pm

    I have trouble with messy play too! Especially when he starts getting bored and waving the paintbrushes about! We have green paint on our sofa – thank god they are old!!! #sundaystars

  11. 17th May 2015 / 7:50 pm

    Haha I TOTALLY relate to this. I’m find I am forever wiping, trying not to freak out or control during messy play. I find it very hard to let go so you are definitely not alone here! Hey, nobody’s perfect…#sundaystars

    • 29th May 2015 / 9:31 pm

      Yep I totally agree – I’m seriously not perfect! Maybe we’ll just do messy play round at other peoples houses from now on!! Hehehehe!! Steph xxx

  12. 17th May 2015 / 3:04 pm

    I completely understand. I want to be cool too but I also hate messy play. Having said that, I’m incredibly competitive so I am always the one to instigate it as my SAH husband just wouldn’t think of it. Yesterday we did salt dough and I’m currently dreading allowing the girls to pain their creations.

    My only tip is a waxed top table cloth. We do all our messy play at the kitchen table with this indestructible table cloth on top. When the girls were smaller I would confine them to their high chairs – pulled into the table – for activities. I wish I could do that now. Felt tips are allowed in the playroom but all other crafting equipment is limited to the kitchen table.
    I hope your daughter is mending well, it sounds like you have had a tough time – don’t be too hard on yourself 🙂

    • 29th May 2015 / 9:35 pm

      Oh Morna! This is spot on! I’m you! My husband wouldn’t even think of it too – so I try to be the good mum and try my best! My next mission is salt dough too! And I’m buying that oil cloth! Fab tip!!! Ella is mending very well indeed thank you – her walking is coming on in leaps and bounds! That reminds me – I must do an update! Thanks so much for your lovely comment – apologies for being so late with the reply – things have been a bit intense of late!! Steph xxxx

  13. 13th May 2015 / 11:44 am

    Hate it! I let nursery do all that. At the mention of Playdoh I pretend I haven’t heard them and distract them with a biscuit.

    • 13th May 2015 / 8:26 pm

      Oh Karen! I nearly spat out my drink! Love the distraction technique!! Totally using that in future!! Xxxxx

  14. 13th May 2015 / 9:56 am

    I am just absolutely terrible at messy play – you are doing amazing here!

    • 13th May 2015 / 8:29 pm

      Hmmm – I’ll give it another go – but i’m not holding out much hope!!! xxx

  15. 13th May 2015 / 9:51 am

    This is me!! I am so bad a messy play and I’m not even that much of a clean freak but it always seems to go wrong. I think once you have more than one child it is a recipe for disaster. I very rarely try now and I think I’ll only get the paints out again when I can let them all loose in the garden! It does look lovely and under control on your photo too but I know how quickly that can all change, haha xx

    • 18th July 2016 / 6:05 pm

      If I were a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, now I’d say “Kuabwonga, dude!”

  16. 12th May 2015 / 3:36 pm

    I hate messy play…..I can just about cope with play-doh or felt pens but not paint! My girls just seem to lose control and paint everything in sight including themselves and they are 7 & 12! There is no hope….I have taken to letting them paint outside if they have to….lol

    • 18th July 2016 / 6:52 pm

      This is crsyatl clear. Thanks for taking the time!

    • 11th September 2016 / 2:10 am

      Our sis found us a two to get Christmas this year, I want a lot of these wasted gucci mane lyrics worn them all practically every single day given that i have forever gotten them all! Just the thing that I dont like about the subject is always that if you get the schokohrrutige people, these people move your feet, or use the backside of your own hosiery any black/blue color selection and i simply cannot achieve it to unclutter through.

  17. 12th May 2015 / 2:33 pm

    OOOh I could have written this. I dread messy play time unless it is done outdoors. We got new carpets just before M was born last year and now I just panic that they will get ruined!

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