A Happy Home, Is a Messy Home

I’ve been feeling particularly inadequate recently. Not as a wife, or a mother, but as a housekeeper. Most of the time I don’t really care what others think. After all, it’s my family, my house, and we’re happy. I couldn’t ask for more than that.

But a few weeks ago I visited a friend with a joyfully clean home. Everything had a place and was in it. then I visited a new neighbour and as I entered her house for the first time, she says, “Excuse the mess.” Her house was immaculate. Okay one bed was stripped since she was doing the washing, but otherwise her house was perfect. And she asked me to excuse her. I felt horrible. I’d invited them over to our house, but she invited me in instead. What would she have thought of my house?

I was horrified just thinking about it. I have my sewing machine on the table, fabric on the floor (in both my office and the dinning nook). I have books and papers piled high on my computer desk (spilling onto our coffee counter). There are various items on counters, and toys. Toys everywhere. From one wall to the next. On each level. Stickers attached to my carpet and even paint on the carpet, not to mention remnants of baby spit. The laundry is often just tossed into a closet, rather than actually put away. And that particular day there was toothpaste all over the girls’ bathroom counter. Our house is messy, but clean. Bathrooms are washed regularly, floors vacuumed every couple days (at the least) counters washed, dishes done, laundry washed, garbages, recycling, and compost taken out every night.

Today we arrived home from a day out and I almost hit the roof. There were dishes everywhere, the bathrooms hadn’t been cleaned, the laundry hadn’t been switched to the dryer. And supper needed to be cooked. It was all I could do not to start barking orders. But then I paused. Why should I be upset? Because the neighbour, who admits to frozen meals and take-out at least twice a week, has a spotless kitchen? I think not. Because someone who is either childless or who’s children have been grown for a number of years (and who doesn’t go out when there’s house work to be done) points out how many socks we have under our couch. I don’t think so.

Instead I thought about yesterday. We drove to Drumheller to see the Royal Tyrrell Museum, and we hiked the interpretive trail with the girls. Today I slept in, while Ryan played with the girls. We gave Agatha her birthday present early and we went for a walk, then to the playground. We had so much fun. Ella rode her bike, she was proud of how fast she rode, of how she kept her balance. I wouldn’t change that for anything. If my house were cleaner, I’d have had to say no to driving to Drumheller, I’d have had to keep the girls inside, the playdough would have stayed in the bag. the games wouldn’t have left the shelves. But we did do all of that, and at the end of the day I don’t want to clean either. I want to sit and enjoy a bath with Cordelia, then snuggle and read books. I want to watch her explore without fear of her sisters tackling her or taking toys, or just being bigger and louder than her.

I will not appologize for a messy house, because that messy house is time spent happy with my family. It’s taken me almost two weeks to realize this, but now that I have I won’t forget it easily. I hope everyone out there can also happily claim the mess associated with time spent having fun.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “A Happy Home, Is a Messy Home

  1. My mama used to say if the house was perfect, she’d missed out on time with her kids. 🙂

  2. I’ve been following you for a while and I never get a chance to comment… I really enjoy reading your posts and so many resonate with me. This one too… some mornings the house looks so “tidy”, then by lunchtime there’s stuff everywhere: paints, blocks, spoon puppets, dress-ups, teddy bears, glitter, playdough… Some days you really have to look at the bigger picture and think about the wonderful things I’ve done with my kids, rather than the trail ofd destruction we’ve left behind…

    Thank you for writing lovely posts 🙂

    • Thank you for the kind words, I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying my blog.

      Lol yep children have a way with turning the cleanest home into a disaster area, but that’s half their charm (charm is the right word isn’t it ; )

  3. Hey Sara, sure sounds like you guys have a lot of good times…have to admit, feeling a little bit like a lacking mother after reading some of your articles…oh, don’t worry, I know I’m not, I just do things a little differently is all and the end result with my kids is the same…they’re happy, healthy and “spoiled” (Terrible Twos And What To Do) Things for me are a little different, I am a litteral OCD cleaner…but that actually works to advantage to us I think…because my house is so organized, it takes less than 5 mins to clean the clutter, thus leaving me lots of time to spend with the kids…I DID have to work really hard at not minding the clutter and messes when they were out, toys scattered, play doh stuck to walls, markers colored all over the table, but 3 kids make a HUGE mess and I’m realistic that that happens and I don’t mind, getting right in there with them…BUT, when we’re done and moving on to the next thing, they grab an armload of whatever’s on the floor and take it back to their rooms and dump in the toy bins there, dancing and singing to their playlist blaring out of the stereo (clean up CAN be really fun) I’ll run the vaccumm quick to grab the last of the tiny dries play doh peices (before the baby starts eating them, yuck!) And there…5 mins and house is spotless again, kids still had some fun and now time to bring out the next project, or go outside or just whatever we feel like that day. Stuff like dishes (EVERYTHING goes in the dishwasher!) So unload quick in the morning, fill all day, run after kids are in bed. Laundry, do a load a day if needed, dump all 3 hampers in, wash, switch to dry at lunch, after Dave comes home and we have dinner, sit down to talk and catch up on the day, fold clothes together…it really only takes 5 mins, then leave the seperated stacks on the other couch, and in the morning, the kids grab their pile and put it in their drawers, while we play ‘freeze dance’ (balance the piles and walk to bedrooms, music stops, freeze! Try to not move but balance clothes, fun) So all in all, I have managed to spend all my time with my kids, house is always clean, kids keep their rooms clean as I have made it easy for them to do so. I do not have to ask them to do it they just do, always helping mommy. Turn on the music and there’s running and squeeling to grab stuff to play the game…so thankfully I was able to make it work, keep my children very happy but also satisfy my OCD. Although I am NEVER horrified when I walk into a friend’s well-kid-disastered house, I do realize that I am just different due to my disorder and not everyone in the world has to be so organized so no big deal, but confess to being a tiny bit judgmental when I go to a friend’s that I KNOW has ignored everything else, kids included for their house to look that clean for that particular day…LOL, K, I’m done…Sorry, this particular article poked at a sore spot just a tiny little bit…obviously you know how it feels (before you realized it doesn’t matter!) to feel like you’re being judged when friends and family visit and you’re house is a mess…believe me, you can be made to feel that way when your house is always clean too!!! “Don’t you ever spend time with your kids?” “Geez, is this what you do all day?”…Just wanted to finally say, “See, it can be either way sometimes…so there!” LOL My life is my kids and my husband and I will never sacrifice my time with them for ANYTHING!!!!

    • It sounds like you have a great routine that works for you. : ) Routines don’t really work here. In fact routines usually result in mutiny after a very short period of time. There are times when I can encourage the girls to help tidy their toys, but those are the exceptions. And I’ve tried pretty much everything. But we’ve found things that work for our family, we also realize as the girls get older they’ll be more accommodating of my need for a bit more order. In the meantime if I were to clean it would mean time spent away from something else I’d prefer.

      • ha! No kidding, time spent away from better (funner) things to do would make really grouchy mommies!! Well, not too much of a routine, just a couple things that I need to insist on and all together they take up maybe 30 mins of my entire day…leaving the rest of the day to wing it and do whatever tickles our fancy…hit the beach, quadding, biking, fishing…if I had to spend all my time cleaning the house and doing nothing else, I wouldn’t do it at all…lock the door and head out somewhere else instead.

  4. Pingback: Parenting Sacrifices | Dandelion Roars

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