Why You Should Embrace The Mealtime Mess
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Motherhood comes with a variety of messes--some smelly, some sticky, and some we try hard to forget. This is especially true when it comes to mealtime.

When Brooks was born, I quickly learned that a spotless kitchen was now out of reach. Let’s just say it didn’t take me long to come to this realization. The moment I introduced solid foods at 6 months, it hit me right in the face. Literally. With one sharp movement, there’s no telling where a mashed pea puree could land.

When Scarlett was born, the messes doubled and almost tripled. I mean, I didn’t think it was possible. That girl can seriously eat! The second we introduced solid food those little pudgy fingers were getting into everything. Now that I’m about to have another boy, I’m in for it!

Instead of fighting the messes, I've learned to embrace them. No, this isn’t just a defense mechanism to save my sanity. Believe it or not—studies have shown that allowing your kids to be messy at mealtimes can be highly beneficial. Messy play stimulates their senses by exploring different textures, flavors, and colors. It also helps develop strong hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills for self-feeding.

Once they learned to feed themselves, that’s when the real fun started. Brooks and Scarlett love to get involved and help me in the kitchen—especially while baking desserts. Sometimes the chocolate is so good that Scarlett goes on all in, fist first. Augustus Gloop, anyone?

At the end of the day walls can be cleaned, high chairs can be scrubbed, and clothing can be washed. I’ve used Dreft detergent on both my babies and it works like a dream. Yes—even for that chocolate mess! It’s tough on stains yet gentle and hypoallergenic on a baby’s sensitive skin. There’s a reason that families have trusted them with their messy baby adventures for over 80 years!

Since I love a messy baby, I’ve recently partnered with Dreft to launch their nationwide search for Dreft’s America’s Messiest Baby. The contest invites families to submit photos of their favorite messy baby moments for a chance to be featured on the cover of Parents Magazine + a six month supply of Dreft products!

Enter by posting your photo to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #messiestbabycontest. The deadline for submissions is November, 30th 2016. So…LET’S GET MESSY! I cannot wait to see all your little contestants!

Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.