When people come to my house, I usually spend a lot of time getting it ready for guests. I live in constant fear that someone will come to the door unannounced and I will be socially forced to let them in, then die of embarrassment at the messy state of my house.
I’m not naturally a neat freak, but I do appreciate a clean home. It’s easier to get things done and a lot more pleasant to live in.
However, on any given day, our house usually has:
– breakfast/lunch/dinner food on the floor under the table (Hey, snacks for the baby later! Time saver. Parenting win.),
– toys spread into every room,
– jammies discarded on the floor,
– dirty diapers (you would think I would manage to walk the 10 feet from the changing pad to the garbage, but apparently not),
– cracker pieces on the rug (from snack time, usually dumped out by one kid or the other),
– dishes (in the sink, on the table, on the counters, on the ottoman),
– dirty towels from mopping up spills,
– kids’ water bottles,
– markers and paper spread out across the floor, and
– Legos, Legos, Legos (my son really loves Legos)!
And that’s just the first floor.
I work part time and when I’m home, I feel like I need to spend time with my kids (I was away all day and I feel guilty for that), so I rarely spend time on chores during those 3-4 hours we have before bath and bedtime. If my husband does bath time, it gives me 15 minutes to do something. But as you can imagine, I’m lucky if I get through doing the dishes or packing lunches for the next day.
I’ve had friends urge me not to clean before they come (“Oh, we don’t mind!”), but I’m so embarrassed by the true state of our house that I usually at least pick up most of the mess. Then I can pretend that THAT is really how messy our house is, and say how embarrassing it is that it’s so “messy.”
Oh, I’ve seen and read plenty of tips on maintaining your home (and pinned them all on Pinterest!). But these tips are clearly for people who don’t have a child clinging to them like a koala every waking moment of the day. Or for people who don’t need to cook dinner. I get that I can do little things each day that will help, but frankly, it’s not enough to keep my house maintained, assuming I can even do what they suggest. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to get it ALL done.
So, I’ve decided that my solution is to NOT get it all done. I like having a clean house, and I’m not going to give up altogether, but I’m not going to stress out about something that is a losing battle. And I’m going to try to not feel too bad about it. And hope that my kids grow up remembering that we played together, not just that they had a messy house!