Behind the Scenes: The Truth of a Messy Household
Me: “Time to clean up.”
My daughter: “Why, who’s coming over?”
That line right there made me chuckle and stop to think about what cleaning meant for the kids. Although we clean on a regular basis (or try to), it was apparent that the kids were picking up on the higher stress levels of cleaning when guests were coming over. Unfortunately, the level of mess seems to have a direct correlation to my level of stress. With each kid (I now have three), the reigns have loosened on our level of cleanliness, as it appears nearly impossible to keep up. The pride from cleaning the kitchen countertops and emptying the dishwasher is momentarily felt when I turn the corner and see toy bins dumped all over the playroom floor by a very active, mobile baby. Although I feel our expectations for “clean” have lowered, there still is stress connected to clutter and dirt on our end. And apparently, I am sending vibes that cleaning up in a frenzy means someone is coming over.
There are such beautiful photos of “perfectly-perfect” homes and rooms on Pinterest that are so organized and neat, that would make anyone feel both awe and envy at once. But, behind the scenes, the truth of a lived-in home is in the chaos and mess.
There are different levels of chaos. I’m sure there are homes out there that are run in a very orderly and pristine manner, and others, well, are on the other side of the spectrum, where piles of clothes, books, toys, food, and thingamabobs lay a strewn. (Where do you feel you fall on the spectrum?) Our house can waiver to either side depending on the day. We are content if we can have it in the middle of the spectrum.
The intent of this post is not to give you a “how-to” or share tips to miraculously “fix” a messy house. (Although if you do want tips on cleaning with the kids, you can see what has worked for us in this blog post here when we do make efforts to clean). My intent in this post is to let you know that every house has a “behind the scenes” where it may not be Pinterest or Instagram-worthy. And that’s okay. I grew up absorbing the stress when it came time for people to come over because we want to hide the hideousness of our clutter and mess. Obviously, we do not want guests to be tripping over toys, or sitting down at a dining table that is set with dishes left over from lunch. But at the same time, I think it is also time to embrace our “lived-in” home and realize that the reason it looks this way is because there are live bodies in our home who eat, work, play, and use our home for its purpose.
Have you seen the sign: “Excuse the mess. Children are making memories.” Well, that pretty much sums this up. If we have guests, we will try our best to make it the least disgusting as possible for you to enjoy your experience in our home. But know that this is not how it always looks, and perfectly clean houses do not necessarily mean better parenting. Same thing goes for messy homes. It does not equate to inadequate parenting.
We each try our best to make our humble abode the happiest, safest living space for our families, and that is all that matters. So next time you see that perfectly color-coordinated bedroom with every toy, book, and piece of furniture in its exact place, you can admire it for sure, but try not to be misled that this is how that room always is (unless no one lives there). Every home has its own “behind the scenes.” Whether you choose to give guests V.I.P. access to it is your choice.
Moving forward, I hope to not attach as much stress to cleaning. And hopefully in the future when we say it is time to clean up, the response will instead be something more along the lines of “Awesome! Let’s get started!”