I don’t know about you but if you’re part of any social media that involves women it seems like almost every single photo that gets shared includes some line like “don’t mind the mess…” Sometimes they try to give you a reason for the mess and sometimes they don’t but the shame feeling is strong with this one.
Now don’t get me wrong, if your house is UNSANITARY that’s one thing; if it’s unsafe for you or another loved one to be living in that is a problem. Most of the time however, these posts include
1. Basket(s) of laundry (either folded or unfolded):
3. Or maybe just general familial clutter:
First, yes, these are all pictures of my house recently. Second, no, I am not apologizing for it on social media. It would be disingenuous if I apologized since the title of this blog is “Inside the Messy Life”, if my life wasn’t messy it wouldn’t make any sense! But more importantly, who cares? Sometimes the house is dirty, sometimes there is stuff on the floor, sometimes you need to take a few minutes to clean up but that hasn’t happened yet.
I remember when the Munchkin was younger and still napping I would try to do one round of pick ups during nap time before she ravaged the house again but decided that my time during nap time was better spent especially considering that she’d do it all over again as soon as she was awake. Momma needed a hot minute to do something for herself at that point. Now that the Munchkin is four, she helps us clean but it sure isn’t perfect and while it would be better and faster if I did it then she would never learn how to do it herself and always expect Mom to be her caretaker.
She’s a great helper and we need to give everyone who lives in the house some part of taking care of it; it’s not always my job to clean the house. I’m not the only one who makes a mess so I’m not the only one who needs to clean up after myself.
She has always been inserting herself into whatever I’ve been trying to accomplish but it’s important for kids to take ownership of some of the household duties. They live there, they should be maintaining it in some way. The same is for all adults who live in the house; part of “room and board” is keeping that room and board clean and livable for all parties involved.
At the end of the day, however, my house is not clean and perfect 100% of the time; especially during COVID where we’ve had more time to clean but more time to mess it up too! My house is lived in. I want my house to feel like a home and not a museum.
Ultimately I have five standards:
- Dirty dishes need to make it to the sink (I was terrible with this when I was a kid and had many a plate or glass in my room growing things….sorry Mom!)
- Make sure the house doesn’t smell (AKA Scoop the litter and take out the trash in a timely fashion)
- Anything on the ground when we go to vacuum is fair game for being sucked up
- Anything left where a dog may chew it up is fair game for being destroyed
- Get rid of things (trash, donate, or Buy Nothing) that are broken or we don’t use/need anymore
We don’t need to apologize for what our living space looks like when we’re trying to live in it. Being able to keep my house clean is not another expectation I need to put on myself. If you find great joy in cleaning then by all means do it but if it’s something that stresses you out, figure out what your non-negotioables are and stick to them when it seems like chaos is swirling around you.
Currently I am starting back at physical work which means getting up at 5:30am, commuting, and doing my job in a brand new way so keeping in mind the 5 standards allows me the grace to do the bare minimum and still being happy. When I am better I can do better. September is always a rough time getting back to work and this year is no different; riding the tidal wave of change and not trying to maintain perfection in something I am woefully inadequate and uninterested in allows me the ability to keep it clean enough, stop should-ing all over myself about my house not being spotless, and still be able to enjoy my life.