You’re less judged than you realize. Where does this need to have the “house picked up” before friends or family come over come from? What was it your mother said (or MIL) to you that instills this cringing fear of OMG, the house is a mess and they’re coming over. First things first, messy is not the same as filthy. Messes tend to happen when children are running around daily and there’s a lovely collection of activity-induced materials strewn across the home. This is normal. Filth is literally like sludge, grime, pools, and pools of dirt – an uncleanliness that can actually cause sickness. So let’s face it, Mom: Unless there’s a super-nanny-cleaner at the heels of your family members to pick up, dust off, wipe up, catch, prevent, and finally care enough till their dying day, having a messy home is simply: A part of a successful mom-life.
Welcome to the real world – a world where moms are single parents, moms and dads are both working full-time jobs, moms are homeschooling their kids, moms are home running a business with school-ages kids, and babies at home. Moms are everywhere, and you know what? Moms are living this day and age with their busy, fast-paced life and you don’t have time for that load of laundry, so you leave it. You don’t have time to pick up after the two-year-old, so you leave it.
However, the caveat is that the house is not in tip-top shape and the laundry strewn across the couch is … what? Uncivilized? And you are freaking out because people MIGHT come over!
You’ve got to ask yourself, what’s your agenda? For the one day – which is today, what needs to get done? If you need that outfit and the kids dressed for church, well, you simply make sure the laundry (they have to wear) is clean (and you actually don’t have to be the one doing it) and if not, then do laundry. Forget the dishes for the moment. Forget the toys (just make sure there is a walkthrough so you don’t trip!), forget the daunting to-do list that doesn’t have an expiration date and only reminds you of your failures. Forget all that.
It’s OK to have a messy home.
You eat, laugh, play, discipline, sleep, veg-out, entertain, and live in your house. Realistically, what are you expecting? And are your expectations downright realistic? Think of all the activities that go on within the walls of your home. Is messy the accurate word for it? Most people call it day to day living.
If your house is messy, congratulations! Think of it as evidence that you are living with your family, working hard within your home or outside your home to provide a comfortable lifestyle. There’s no doubt that what needs to be cleaned – will inevitably be cleaned. What needs to be mopped up will get taken care of, so if there are toys scattered, a dust bunny playing with the cat, and unmade beds filling up the bedrooms, that sounds like the lively and productive life of a household that cares more about each other than the way the house “looks.”
Getting the OK from yourself.
Go ahead and do a ‘check in’ with yourself. Take a leisurely stroll through the bedrooms (or peek in, we don’t want you to enter any hazardous zones), down your hallways, the living rooms, any sitting or toy rooms, the kitchen and dining area, and perhaps the basement. What are you truly looking at? The dirt, the unkempt areas, the now I have to clean spots because so-and-so is coming over?
Take another look then.
Your child’s laughter was in those rooms. Your child’s delight in those toys kept them occupied and out of your hair for a few precious moments. The dirty clothes are evidence of a fulfilling meal or quality playtime off the couch (or if you are really lucky…both!). The messy beds are the battlefields of conquered dreams of victory and yet slumbering and safe children.
Who are you trying to impress?
Be honest with people…and yourself. There are times you probably feel compelled to give an explanation of why your home is an outright mess but is it necessary? I’m sure you’ve run into this scenario: Friends come over, you open door and invite them in, and despite your best efforts to clean every nook and cranny, yelling at the kids to repeatedly clean that ONE spot you still see dirty, you apologize. You start an explanation, rant-apology for your “messy” home.
Goodness-gracious, Woman, they’re not food inspection officers!
10 times out of 10, they didn’t even notice what you were talking about until you said something. You’re only pointing out what they fail to see, for all your guests are noticing is: a home that’s been lived in, a home where they feel invited to share some of this amazing life with you and those babies they can’t wait to get their hands on. Your “messy” home is part of that life. Stop making excuses and apologizing for it.
Your “mess” is blessed. Period. It’s okay because you live and thrive in your home. Whether you are a single parent or you have a partner, messes happen; get down and dirty and love the mess you’re in. It’s truly okay to show neighbors, friends, and family that you choose to live in your home than worry and go a wee bit crazy over “the house is a mess, so sorry!” every time someone just wants to come over, be, and live WITH you.
Photo Credits: AndiL.