Passionate About Columbia SC
and the Moms Who Live Here

What Normal Looks Like

“Oh, I can’t have you over,” other moms always say. “My house is a mess.” I arrive for a playdate and as soon as I come in the door, I’m told, “Don’t judge me, the house is a wreck. No, seriously, it’s destroyed. Please don’t look. I’m so embarrassed.”

Lies. Lies, lies, lies.

Because when I go into that house, the house of the mom who is so apologetic about the condition of her kitchen, or the toys in her living room, or the invisible dirt in her bathroom, I can’t decide if I want to laugh in her face or deck her.

Girl. Please. Not only is your house not messy, your house is immaculate. You have guest towels laid out. Your children’s spilled toys remain confined to a rug – which, by the way, is not sprinkled with crumbs. Sippy cups stay in the kitchen. Playdough dare not enter here, and the dog doesn’t shed. Insisting your house is dirty speaks to clinical delusion, your misunderstanding of small children, your secret desire to make me feel guilty, or maybe your desperate need for reassurance. Probably all of the above. Seriously, stop it.

So for all of you mamas insisting your immaculate house is messy, and all of you normal mamas therefore afraid to have anyone come into your house ever, because that level of clean is just not achievable due to kids/time/dogs/life/constant art projects, let’s set some guidelines. You can either have a sense of shame or small children, and I’ve got three boys under five. So I’ll spill it.

Normal: There is a room in your house that always stays cluttered and messy, and much like Lady MacBeth’s hands, will never be clean. In my house, it’s the dining room, furnished with my great-grandmother’s cherry dining suite, including buffet and china cabinet. I sew on the table, store art supplies in and around and between the hunt board and the wine rack – remember when the Harbison AC Moore went out of business? Yeah, it relocated to my dining room – stash file cabinets in available floor space, dry glitter art next to the sewing machine, and sometimes set up train tracks under the table. None of that gorgeous cherry is currently visible. I neaten this room for birthdays and holidays requiring fine china. Otherwise, you aren’t allowed to see it, Judgy McJudgerson.

As long as they’re clean, you’re home free.

Normal: Your laundry is everywhere. Current house tally: five clean baskets in the laundry room (blocking the auxiliary fridge and probably creating a certifiable fire hazard). One clean basket in the master bedroom. A clean load in the dryer and one in the washer. There is no basket of dirty clothes anywhere. Therefore we’re this week’s laundry heroes! Will those clean baskets make it to folding, or even more daunting, into drawers? Maybe. I’m feeling it lately. But a relative of mine, who shall not be named, once had to hide her kids’ Christmas present – a pet snake – from all the kids and her husband for two weeks. She stashed it under the laundry baskets in her bedroom. The secret kept. She’s the all-time laundry hero, ladies.

Normal: Your sink is full of dishes, your dishwasher is full of dishes, your table and counter are full of dishes, and you can’t find a clean spoon. So you use a teaspoon for your cereal. When you get to the giant soup spoon or worse, start to contemplate that spikey grapefruit spoon at the bottom of the silverware drawer, then you need to do a load. But only enough that the kids have plates for lunch.

Normal: Your kids’ bath toys are right where they left them after the bathwater drained. Don’t pull that shower curtain shut. We know what’s behind it.

Normal: Some type or types of toys are scattered all over the house and no matter how hard you try, or what bribes you offer, or what god you pray to, you never get every piece picked up. True story: I have found those stupid ball-pit balls in my washer, my front yard, and stuffed between carseats. We have the same problem with duplos, which I confiscated on really tenuous grounds, and Star Wars figures. If I come over to your house and notice plastic army men in the space behind your toilet, I’m not judging.

There are spoons in there … somewhere.

Normal: Cups and cups and cups. Everywhere. All the time. Somehow we didn’t perish of dehydration in the 80’s when my mother wouldn’t let us out of the kitchen with a Tupperware sippy of Kool-Aid. But it’s 2014, and my kids will shrivel into complaining oblivion without a cup of juice at all times. Except they leave them everywhere, and then get a new one. They now hold up drinks and ask, “Is this good, Mama?” before taking a swig. So do yours. Don’t lie.

Normal: Art Damage. My bath tub has some hopefully/maybe/eventually will fade tie-dye stains. I need to repaint part of the kitchen wall, because who let her toddlers use her acrylics? This mama! At the very least, your toddler took a pen to the wall and you haven’t had time to magic erase it yet.

Normal: You can’t see the floor of your car. Where else are you supposed to toss all those Chick-fil-A cups? Or the spare diapers? Or the dirty sippy cups? Seriously. Your husband probably complains about it.

Normal: You forgot trash day again. So your supercan’s overflowing and your recycling bin looks like a seriously committed alcoholic lives at your address, but really you just forgot garbage day two weeks in a row. It’s cool. As long as you got the trash out of the house, you’re a garbage day winner! High-five!

Normal: You have not dusted. Perhaps ever, or at least since your parents last visited. I think I maybe own Pledge? Somewhere? Don’t look at the upper bookshelves, especially if you suffer from allergies.

Normal: Some part of your house is in do-not-use disrepair, and has been for longer than you would publicly admit. My oldest son has never seen us use the shower in our master bath. He’s four. We need to replace the tile and just haven’t managed somehow. I thought this was a horrible, abnormal, horrific shame until, in flagrant disregard for social mores, I mentioned this to other mothers. Two of them copped to unusable bathrooms. One mentioned a deck with holes. Another has to warn visitors not to attempt the front stairs. I salute you, my sisters in disorder.

So there you have it. Either your house is really, really clean, and you should stop apologizing, or at the very least you can stop your shame and host playdates for once. We’re all in the same boat. I won’t look in your dining room if you don’t look in mine.

, , , , , , , , , ,

149 Responses to What Normal Looks Like

  1. Catherine February 23, 2014 at 7:19 am #

    You have just described my house. Except for the dishes thing, I cannot stand having dirty dishes. But I dress my boys directly from the dryer many days, and the crumbs breed in the night. I have never been able to figure out immaculate homes with kids.

    • Ericka October 15, 2014 at 11:54 am #

      You had me at “dress my boys directly from the dryer” I do the same with my girls. LOL!

    • Christy November 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

      My house is messy and it will stay that way for at least 10 more years. I have 3 children. They are 17, 15 and 9. We do not home school and I am not a stay at home mom. They are in band, ROTC, scouts, baseball, theatre, choir etc. My fully finished basement consists of my daughter’s clothing charity and it looks like I robbed a local department store. My dishes are done.. at least once every other day because I don’t keep extra dishes around and I pray to get one load of laundry done a day. I have a job that requires me to work pretty much 24/7 and my husband is a nurse on nights as well as a reserve sheriff’s deputy. If I get a free hour, I’m not cleaning my house… I”m spending it with my kids.

      • Diane November 22, 2014 at 8:35 am #

        reassuring to know there are others like me! 🙂

        • Judy December 8, 2014 at 7:32 am #

          I am right there with you ladies! Thank you for being so honest. Last year I almost let the state of my house stop some out-of-town friends from coming to visit for a few days. I am thankful I finally decided seeing them was worth the embarrassment of my messy house.

  2. Mary February 23, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    I will admit that my first impulse is to apologize for the condition of my home and it’s oft cluttered state. I have been working on keeping silent and inviting people in despite the fact that I often don’t meet the high standards I set for my home (or my person for that matter). I have considered that perhaps I should lower my standards but, alas, I cannot. Years of living with a woman (my fear mother whom I am grateful to for all her training and for installing good habits) who kept a very orderly home and passed those “clean genes” on to me and presently cohabitating with my husband who craves the same level of cleanliness and organization prevent the shift in standards. Instead I have focused on altering my personal views of my home and have made my new mantra “people are most important”.

    The eyesore in my home is the large front windows in our living room. I have to just put it out of my mind and ignore the bedsheet that’s pinned up instead of the blinds that were supposed to have been ordered and hung long ago. Sigh.

    • Candi R. February 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

      I feel ya Mary! Your response resonated with me!

  3. Sarah Bradford February 23, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    This is definitely my house. And I don’t (usually) apologize for it. And I frequently have play dates at my house. The one good thing about play dates is they get my house a little bit cleaner for about an hour!

  4. Kristi Bothur February 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    Thank you, Elizabeth! We should schedule a play date sometime – but your house first. 🙂

  5. Mary February 23, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

    Ha! Funny article 🙂 I feel better now since all of our bathrooms are usable. Then again, we’ve had this house not even one year, so maybe I shouldn’t be self-congratulatory yet 😛

  6. Ardie Weber February 26, 2014 at 2:32 am #

    Elizabeth, your article made me laugh, and all these lovely mothers’ responses made me smile. Another myth debunked: Your house doesn’t get much cleaner after your kids are grown and go away to college. Hard as I try to keep at least the living room & kitchen clean – I don’t often manage it, and am still apologizing to visitors who drop by.
    But not to worry Ladies – my children (now 22 & 27) grew up to be happy, healthy, well adjusted women, who still love to come visit Mom & Dad, talk about great times we had and the ones still to come. Compared to that, a clean house doesn’t mean a thing!

  7. Stephanie October 7, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    This is so true. Right now my middle toilet is inoperable, the piano/ hutch in my kitchen is covered in papers, supplies, and toys, and I have three baskets of clean laundry. It’s so freeing to read this!

  8. Amy October 7, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    I disagree with this. I friend of mine posted it and I just read it (obviously long after it was first written!) Protesting that a relatively clean house is not “normal” and that it is a “clinical dillusion” and a “misunderstanding of small children” is so wrong! My house is usually tidy and relatively clean. Yes, I am one of those! I feel it’s part of my job to teach my children to keep a home tidy and to pick up after themselves. Living in a pigsty and attempting to justify it because you are so creative and therefore such a better mom than one who desires a tidy home is extremely judgemental. Filth is not ok. Untidiness is ok. I’m appalled at many of the homes I visit. I don’t say anything about it but inside I cringe when my kids are playing in filth. There is NO excuse for that but laziness. It is possible to be a good mom and maintain your home at a decent level of living.

    • S Martin October 8, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

      I AGREE!

      • Angela November 3, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

        Depression, ptsd and other mental ailments are invisible disabilities that beg for judgmental folk to jump right in and unleash at th feel is some sort of justified, indelible right belonging to them. While some people with severe depression or other ailments do, do what they can to keep things as clean as possible, some do not. Take sever chemical i balances for example. My husband suffered sever lead poisoning in the military and it threw is prolactin levels into overdrive, essentially eliminating testosterone production. At did this do to him? – it basically ended his life as an alert individual, he slept all the time, almost narcoleptic.. He couldn’t stay awake.. He was even diagnosed with sever depression till we finally figured it out. He couldn’t keep anything clean, never picked up after himself, starved of testosterone, the go too hormone to create motivation, alertness.. He became a vegetable for a while. All this akin to blaming a blind-man for not crossing the road fast enoguh, a Parkinson’s patient for dopamin depletion. The pious judgments from those that feel they have a right to simply be better then others isn’t a basic attribute to humanity, and instead of pitying people with severe psychological -or- neurological disorders.. I would figure out where the finger should mightoy be inverting its direction.

        • Angela November 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

          Also, People with these disorders don’t ask for anyone’s pity nor ever want it.. They want to be normal.

    • Jayla October 9, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

      Amy I’m a stay at home mom. I have four children. I have a cleaning routine which includes one load of laundry a day. I make a meal every night unless a sport gets in the way;) I read to my kids, play with them and do the occasional craft. I don’t use my kids as an excuse to have a dirty house. I liked my house clean before I had kids so i still keep it clean. Yes, it’s a bit harder with four kiddos but guess what…they help. They are taught to pick up after themselves and treat our house with respect because it’s an honor to have it ( side note I lived in a bus for a time as a child so i don’t take houses for granted.) This notion that a ” normal house” is a messy one is crap in my opinion as well. Now I don’t care if I walk into a house and it’s not as clean as mine but don’t try and tell me it’s dirty or messy because you have kids. Again..I have four of my own. People have a messy house because they don’t clean and that’s must be fine with them. Everyone’s normal is different! I loved your response;)

      • jess December 13, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

        I just don’t understand why people judge AT ALL. So your house is immaculate….that’s awesome. I know the square root of pi (a facetious example). Do you? Maybe, maybe not. Your sink is clear of dishes…I spent the day building solar systems out of foam. Did you? Maybe I’ll do the dishes tomorrow and you can build the solar system? Your bathtub is scrubbed clean as a whistle and it took you an hour to do it. I spent an hour jogging…who’s better? Your clean sink or my clean arteries? Bottom line, you can not compare apple to oranges. Simply because YOU feel a house is important and, say, clean arteries are not, does NOT make you any better. Love your house! Love that you can have guests at any time of day without fear. That is AWESOME for you. I have found better things to do with my time…things that are important to ME. Can you please show the same excitement???

      • carrie February 2, 2015 at 8:26 am #

        normal means typical. typically most homes with children are not kept as clean as yours. this article is describing normal or typical homes. yes, everyone’s home could be cleaner if they put in more effort or made their kids do more. they choose what they feel comfortable with. my home is normal. it’s messy. we pick up toys a lot, and they have a habit of creeping back out at terrifying rates. I could spend more time picking up, more time putting up laundry, more time vacuuming. It’s ok if I don’t. She’s saying that we shouldn’t be ashamed of something when most other people’s homes probably look the same.

        I find that the more time you really spend with friends and family, the more comfortable they feel with you and you’d get a better idea of what “normal” is. Normal families are messy. Some are super clean, some are super dirty, but most of us fit somewhere in the normal middle. Messy, sloppy, not filthy.

    • Anna October 10, 2014 at 1:17 am #

      You’re right… But there is a difference between filth and messy.

    • Bobbi October 10, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

      I agree. I’m not a bad mom or less loving or involved because I make it a priority to have a tidy house.

      • Christine November 8, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

        And I’m not a bad person or mother because I do not make a tidy house a priority. Needs to go both ways.

    • Jenny October 13, 2014 at 8:30 am #

      I did not get that from the article at all. I don’t think she’s saying mothers are delusional just for having a clean house. I think she’s saying that if you DO have a clean house, you should own it. For instance, if the only mess in your house is a few little toys in the floor and everything else is basically sparkling, don’t say “ohhh, my house is so messy! I’m embarrassed!” It reminds me of the movie Mean Girls when Regina keeps saying how she wants to lose three pounds, just so her friends will reassure her about how thin she is.

      The cleanliness of my own home varies quite a bit. We homeschool and participate in a co-op, my girls have dance on two different days, I make crafts to sell, and we have various other commitments and interests that take up time and energy. Also, my kids are still very young. I can clean and clean and clean and it gets messy again in the blink of an eye. But some days I set aside a chunk of time to work my butt off getting it really clean–because, you’re right, there is value in a clean and tidy home. And when my mom or someone comes in and tells me how nice it looks, I don’t say “what, this nasty old place? I could die of embarrassment!” No. That would be a lie. I simply smile and say THANK YOU. Because with a little bit of work, my home is beautiful and cozy, and I’m proud of it.

      And when it’s NOT clean, which happens often–well, then it’s good to read articles like this one and remember I’m not the only one who isn’t perfect. I loved reading this and will be sharing on Facebook!

      • crystal December 8, 2014 at 3:15 am #

        Loved the analogy to mean girls! That is exactly what it feels like. When people come to my house I’m always: hi, come on in, it’s messy, but what ever, just step around the mess…

        But I’m a single mum with 6 kids. I clean it every day, doesn’t mean it stays that way for long lol.

    • Tee October 15, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

      Amen Amy!

    • Sabrina November 1, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

      I agree Amy. I found this article judgemental towards us “clinically delusional” moms. I apologize to people because of MY standards for my home. I have 3 children, I stay at home and homeschool them. I make supper every night unless we have a night activity. If other moms get offended because my house is cleaner than theirs that is NOT my problem. Maybe those moms should take a look inside themselves and see why they are SO offended. Could it be because you are envious? Stop your justifications on why your house is mess. It doesn’t make you a better mom because you don’t care for cleaning. Ask my children and they will tell you that I spend time and cultivate relationships with them AND keep a clean house. Shame on me for instilling good housekeeping skills, organizational skills and respect for your home onto my children.

      • carrie February 2, 2015 at 8:32 am #

        She’s not judging people for having a clean home. She’s saying if it’s clean, don’t act like it’s not. Don’t be all “embarrassed”” about how “horrible” it is, just to hear people say, “oh, no your house is immaculate! How do you do it? You are sooo amazing, that you manage your home so well!”

        If your home is clean, you don’t need to comment on it. Your guests will notice and be impressed without you begging for compliments.

        I have toddlers. I make breakfast every morning, lunch every afternoon, snacks whenever, and dinner every night. I run them to activities, play dates, park adventures, community programs. I hug and cuddle. I read to them. I listen to them “read” to me.

        I trained them to put their dishes in the sink when they’re done eating. They put away dirty clothing. They help me sort laundry and put away their clothing.

        Yes, kids can help out if you teach them well.

        Sometimes I’m lazy and I don’t do all the housework I should. Sometimes I enjoy reading online or a book or yes, when they finally fall asleep for a nap, I take one too!

        The world won’t end if my house is sloppy more often than not. It doesn’t make me a bad mom. It doesn’t make someone who cleans more than me a bad mom.

        Just be you and don’t act like you’re something you’re not, because you’re trying to make yourself look good.

    • Rain November 2, 2014 at 2:34 am #

      I agree, in part. I’m sick of the prevailing judgemental idea that it’s not good to teach our kids to clean up after themselves. i suspect this is a knee jerk reaction, putting others down to make themselves feel superior. But judging other women for the messy state of their homes is just as awful as them judging me for me (mostly) clean one. Why can’t we just accept that others have different priorities, strengths, and weaknesses than we do?

    • ElizabethW November 3, 2014 at 11:05 am #


    • Anna November 3, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

      Exactly! I’m so sick of people bring too lazy to clean and making excuses. I admit, my house may get a bit “messy”, and by that I mean my coffee mug sits in the sink until we get back from the rink, or the laundry isn’t folded until after homeschool. But at the end of the day, it’s clean, of be ashamed yo have my house a pigsty, let alone advertising for the world to see. If you can’t keep the house clean with kids, perhaps you shouldn’t have any.

    • TR November 3, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

      There is a big difference between stay at home moms and moms who work full time jobs. Staying at home with your children is a blessing that not all mothers are able to enjoy. For a stay at home mom to judge the cleanliness of a mother’s house who works 40+ hours a week is ridiculous. When you don’t get home until after 6 and still have to do homework, feed, bathe and get the kids and yourself in the bed to get up early and do it all again tomorrow, it leaves very little time to do housework.

      • MJ November 7, 2014 at 9:48 am #


      • jennifer December 8, 2014 at 4:13 am #

        I agree!

    • Wendy November 7, 2014 at 2:49 am #

      There wasn’t judgment for people having a clean house. Only to say… Don’t apologize for it. This was more of a humorous approach to address some housekeeping issues that through reading the threads is apparently common. Saying someone is lazy if their house isn’t as clean as you prefer…now, that…is judgmental. It’s certainly disappointing that a person that has it so together would take offense and feel attacked by this piece.

      And I highly doubt that all these things in her house are always this bad, everyday…

    • Katherine November 7, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

      @Amy – I totally agree with you! As I was reading this I just cringed. Messy is not normal and people who live that way are just justifying the way they live. They should be striving to keep a clean and organized home! I grew up in a house that was always messy, cluttered, and disorganized and I hated it! Teach your kids to pick up after themselves, keep good cleaning habits yourself and work it into your daily routine. I mean seriously.

    • Katie November 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      I have a messy home. I try to be clean and be organized. I have two small children (5 and 1) and I have severe health complications that mean i am in pain 85% of the day- to the point where I am just trying not to cry. I try to vacuum twice a week (which isn’t enough but I’m trying), we do dishes at least once every 2 days, and we take the trash out often. I scrub down the bathrooms as often as i can- which is usually once every 2-3 weeks –again not enough. It’s cluttered and messy but liveable. Do I choose to live this way? Yes and no. Like a lot of mom’s, I’m learning to accept my limitations. It’s not ok to sacrifice all of your sleep to keep your home clean; it’s not ok to spend all day on facebook/the computer either. It’s all about finding the balance. So long as you are sanitary- no old foods out, nothing smelly, no toothpaste or pee all over the bathroom, etc, I think you are doing just fine.

    • Lisa February 1, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

      Amy thank you for your response. I am glad I am not the only one that thought this article was full of crap. I hate hearing the excuses of why you can’t pick up and get things done. I have 3 boys at home and for the last 14 yrs I have raised my husbands other children as well. I work full time and do all the school activities and yet my house is still clean. I get that you may want a lazy weekend bc you’ve ran all week- end. But seriously you can’t find the time to sweep the floor or do up laundry. My boys are 15,13 and 9. They all have some sort of responsibility in cleaning their home , their dwelling and also do their laundry. I find time to declutter and dust bc other wise I find it a mess. I have friends that say I could go weeks without cleaning bc my house is always spotless. I would disagree bc it would be dirty.

  9. Amy October 7, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    What is the reason you did not post my response? There was nothing rude or inflammatory in it. In fact, I quoted the author of the blog for stating that moms who have clean homes are “clinically delusional” and have a “misunderstanding of small children.” To criticize so harshly those women who maintain a higher level of cleanliness shows judgement on the part of the author. She seems to think that her messy home is “normal” and discounts that normal might actually be clean. She paints herself as a more superior mom because she allows the mess. Too many moms attempt to justify a filthy home rather than facing the fact that they need to improve their level of cleanliness. A filthy home doesn’t equate great parenting just as a pristine home doesn’t equate great parenting. One can maintain the home while not being delusional and while understanding that small children do make messes. It is interesting to note that all of the comments that were posted agreed with the author. It seems fallacious to not allow opposing viewpoints in the comments.

    • Tiffany
      Tiffany October 7, 2014 at 8:19 pm #


      I apologize your response was not posted sooner. It is not that we were blocking you from commenting or only allowing those who agree to post. We definitely welcome opposing points of view.

      All comments go through an approval process before they are posted (to avoid things like overload of spam) and as busy moms ourselves, we sometimes don’t have a chance to approve comments on our blog until after the kiddos are tucked in.

      I can assure you she wasn’t trying to come across as superior, but more so making a humorous attempt at how it can be hard to keep your house and surroundings clean once children enter the picture.

      Again, we appreciate the candid feedback and understand not all mothers share the same experiences. Thanks for commenting and sharing your point of view.

      Tiffany Nettles
      Columbia SC Moms Blog, Owner

  10. K. Hawthorne October 8, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    You know, I have 4 kids. And I’ve learned one thing. I can maintain the overly high expectation for my house, at the price of time with my kids, my family and my own sanity. However, as I’ve learned, it seems that the Canadian CPS (CAS as it is referred to) sticks their noses up to clutter, and any kid of mess. That a clean house is much more important to them, then you children, husband or sanity. I spend most of the school day cleaning. With short breaks like this one, to browse online and to take care of my little ones most basic needs (Clean diaper? Bottle? Toys to play with? Snack or lunch? Nap time? Just needs a few moments cuddle?) before I’m back to cleaning.

    It’s sad because for the most part, my kids are happy and extremely intelligent because I spent more time focused on them. There is no immediate threat of danger, and I can’t find any that is long term. And yet, I’m still under scrutiny because I fail to meet their standards. (Better yet, I can say that my garbage gets out of the house weekly to the curb, as does the recycling).

    I love hearing that my house isn’t the only one that’s a mess, despite my own efforts. Still, this experience has been enough to make me want to want to never let another person in my house, ever again. I can understand the mothers who have highly cleaned houses apologizing for the mess. It’s because we’re being held to such high standards.

    • MamaJomajo October 10, 2014 at 3:19 am #

      Yes yes yes!!! High expectations… if I would let myself to relax (on rare occasion I do so) -ppl would think I ill or smth.
      Am not ill!!! I have children!
      And you are right… keeping your house clean-less time with your kids… :-/

      • Sabrina November 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

        Keeping a clean house doesn’t mean sacrificing time with my kids. We all do it together. My husband works full time and I am blessed to stay at home and cultivate a relationship with my kids. My job is to keep a clean home as well as tend to my kids. Maybe all you moms who are judging us for high expectations don’t know how to multitask? Whatever the reason this article is judgemental towards cleanliness. It’s hypocritical.

        • Naturo-Mommy November 3, 2014 at 10:41 am #

          Um, no, its not. It’s saying stop apologizing and fretting for a house that isn’t spotless. It doesn’t ALWAYS have to be spotless.

        • Naturo-Mommy November 3, 2014 at 10:44 am #

          Also, good for you that you can all do it together. I’m so happy for you. Not everyone CAN, though. Not when you have a fussy baby in your arms, a 3 year old that wants to undo what you just did and wants to draw on everything. Yeah, just not gonna happen. Thanks for your scrutiny though. ^_^

  11. Brittany October 8, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    And let’s add that beds are hardly ever made (they have to be made when company is over but otherwise all bets are off)

  12. Lori October 9, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    If you’re coming to see my house… first. If you’re coming to see me…..come anytime! This was my motto when my children were small and it still is. Life can be messy. Don’t make excuses! Loved your blog, it was real!

  13. Sheila Menendez October 9, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    I’m learning to love my crazy-chaotic-mess-i-fied ‘normal’ “working farmhouse” as a friend just coined it……’s CRAZY! I tell you – a full-time job to keep it “clean” – whatever that is.


    LOVE your descriptions and realities. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  14. Shannon October 9, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

    I think there are a lot of variables here too. We have a tiny house, three kids, and we homeschool. I am one of those moms with a free-for-all art cabinet, and it shows, both on my walls, and the floors, table, counter, lol. We have one room that is kitchen, dining room, family room, school room, and mudroom, with next to no storage. For us to have a clean house I have to spend two days, with the kids playing outside, doing nothing but cleaning. As soon as I stop, or let them in, it’s over! Someday….

  15. julie October 9, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

    LOOOOOVE it!! thanks lots!!!! your house is juste like my house! i allay fought myself saying sorry for my mess because….. i sis this and that….. who cares its my house ! right… lol

  16. MamaJomajo October 10, 2014 at 3:12 am #

    I recognised myself.. as other kind of mother who keeps apologising 4 the mess at home. And I have only two- boy and girl under 2. Trying to keep my house clean and provide my family with home made food keeps me without time 4 myself… at the end of week I feel exhausted.. and I want to do sewing.. I love it…
    well. Something needs to be changed. Just don’t know if I will manage to overcome myself.
    thanks 4 the article though. 😉

  17. Jamie October 10, 2014 at 7:53 am #

    I have a very neat house, but I also only have two kids and a maid every two weeks, so don’t let all clean houses fool you–help might be involved! I still wipe down windows, pull out the dust can and vacuum each week and every time I do it IS taking quality time away from my kiddos. I do think it is good for them to see you caring for your home but there is that fine line. If I was cleaning the entire house myself it would certainly take more time away from my kids than I am comfortable with. In return I give my friends grace and I am slightly envious that they are not as uptight about their homes. I wish I could be more relaxed in that area.

  18. Amy October 10, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    Our master bathroom shower was unusable until our oldest was 7, there is hope, you’ll get to it one day.

    I always say I’ll catch up on the house work when the kids are off to college.

  19. Galina October 10, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    i am a mother of 3 kids, run my business 10 hours a day and not imberest to invite anybody for a glass of wine after PTA.
    My mom always taught me to leave the house knowing that I have guests coming over!
    My children have their rooms and by knowing that they have responcibily to help me will keep them organized.
    I disagree that what ever you wrote about is NORMAL!

  20. momcoach (Laura) October 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    While I know that the article was written in a humorous way, I can see how some might consider it as justification for not taking care of their home. If a mother is a stay-at-home mom, it’s her responsibility to set a good example for her kids, to teach them age-appropriate chores and follow through. I raised 8 children and yes, my house was rarely photo-shoot ready, but I made sure that the clutter was cleared every day, the food stayed in the kitchen/dining room and the kids did their chores. It’s possible. Takes time and effort but isn’t that part of our job as moms?

    • messymom December 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

      Good for you. Unfortunately for me it’s not possible to live up to such standards. I have raised my only son as a single parent, worked full time, suffered from depression, and, even though my son is now in one of the top colleges in the nation, my house is still a pigsty. Well, perhaps not quite, because it is not filthy – I have a housecleaner some every week, but the small townhome is impossibly messy, almost impossible to walk around without running into something. I fully admit the problem is with me. I can’t get rid of things, because they are memories, I have way too many piles of books growing everywhere, I’m rather lazy who would rather curl up with a book or watch a movie with my son than attempt to clean, besides, trying to clean puts me in a bad mood, I am an immigrant from another country where we had maids and cooks come everyday, and I grew up there until I was twenty two, so no, I never had the luck to learn the fine art of housekeeping. I have a slight neurological problem – so I can’t even hold a cup of coffee without spilling it most of the time. But you know what, I’m reasonably happy, my son still loves me and loves his home, and I have a few close friends who don’t mind coming over and walking tippy toes through the mess. For other guests, well, there are some good restaurants in the neighborhood… I am ashamed nevertheless, but accept myself as a flawed human, and prefer to live in the imperfect rhythms of my own life.

  21. Liz October 10, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    You have just perfectly described my house, including the bathroom! Thank you so much because I am constantly telling my only child that we can have people over when the house is clean, but I teach at 3 elementary schools, my husband is a high school band/orchestra director, complete with marching band, I help with the band for 6+ hours a week, teach virtual school on top of my day schedule and just can’t keep up. I’ve learned to become a bit more comfortable with the mess because otherwise I would go crazy!

  22. Ryan October 10, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    Thank you for writing this! Ha! I don’t feel so alone in my laundry disaster! My husband actually looks surprised if he can’t find a piece of clothing and I tell him it’s hung up in the closet! Frankly I’m always pleasantly surprised it made it there as well 😛 It causes me anxiety having people over because then the whole family goes into speed cleaning ‘make it look like we live like normal people’ mode. When reality is we DO live like normal people, it’s just that normal people lie about how they live 😛

  23. Alana - eSpectacularKids October 11, 2014 at 7:40 am #

    Everyone has these kinds of disasters, and they are inevitable when it comes to having young (and older) kids. It makes the glossy pictures in magazines with spotless houses with unmarked white furniture begin to look quite funny in comparison.

    • Naturo-Mommy November 3, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Yes! OMG Yes! I ALWAYS laugh so so hard at pictures in magazine of children playing quietly in an immaculate house. It’s not real to me.

  24. kippeydale October 15, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    Could I keep my house as clean as some of my friends? Sure, if I also chose not to have a career outside the home and didn’t have any hobbies, but I value those things more than I do a spotless house. There is only so much a woman can sacrifice when she marries and becomes a mother; I’m not giving up the parts of my life that make me “me” in exchange for hours of mindless cleaning. My husband definitely isn’t, so I don’t want my daughter to grow up thinking that women are supposed to always be cleaning and organizing the house instead of reading, or writing, or playing an instrument, or crafting, or volunteering in the community, or visiting with her grandparents and great-grandparents. I can only speak from personal experience, but my neat freak friends choose cleaning over life. It becomes an always available excuse. I have also noticed that a great deal of their self-worth is also wrapped up in what their houses look like to the guests they never have over because their houses are either too “dirty” to be seen or “just now” have gotten straightened up, so they can’t bear the possibility that someone may rest a glass of the soda he/she is currently drinking on the kitchen counter. While the self-declared neat homemakers have complained of “judgement” from the original post, I have never encountered more judgmental people that those who fit that Goop-y, Ms. Martha stereotype. They confuse clutter with filth while calling themselves discerning and place a higher value on superficialities than they do upon the development of qualities that can contribute to the world in a positive way, such as creativity, intellect, and kindness. Sure, there are lazy people who don’t try to keep their houses clean at all, but those people also aren’t pursuing any other activities. I have frequently heard women called lazy who are taking an EdX course or reading a book. Interestingly, as much as they complain of the “filth” and define a woman’s self worth by the number of dirty glasses on her counter, I have never witnessed any offers of assistance by those with this knack for neatness. I have, however, frequently seen many examples of the blind leading the blind. I have started to wonder if maybe keeping a perfect house requires a level of self involvement that the slobs among us just can’t seem to muster.

    • Courtney November 3, 2014 at 7:51 am #

      Well said! I’m a homeschooling mom with six kids and there is so much I would rather be doing with my family and cleaning all the time. And with that many kids home with you all the time you don’t have a choice. Either you clean every second of the day, or you do fun things there is no in between especially with three boys in the picture. I consider myself a “housekeeping success” if our all of our house is tidy all at the same time once a day.

      I would rather spend my time doing science experiments in the kitchen with them, reading with them, furthering my own education, spending rare time with my husband, going on locks, teaching them skill (yes I teach them to clean but it’s not the only skill worth learning and so many include making messes… and if you have never taught an 8-year-old to cook then you don’t know what a mess is), playing board games, wrestling around, or playing with Legos (yes I’m a mom that gets down on the floor and plays with Legos with her kids).

      When they grow up are they going to look back and think man mom was terrible housekeeper because we only had to clean the house once a day, or are they going to enjoy the time that I spent with them and see that I took the time to develop my own talents and my own education instead of focusing on what other people think of the house that they never see?

      • crystal December 8, 2014 at 3:23 am #

        Beautiful. Round of applause!

    • Deanna November 7, 2014 at 2:22 am #

      Amen. So many snooty remarks. You took care of it though. Thank you.

    • Anna November 8, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

      Yes, yes, yes.

      I grew up in a household that was magazine-clean all the time. My mother (a working woman who employed nannies to put in 3-4 hours of cleaning daily, then did more cleaning in her off time) was obsessive and became enraged if we children “messed up” the household in any way. Crimes included everything from fluffing the pillows after sitting on the couch to spilling milk (proverbial!), even if we thoroughly cleaned it up afterward. She is very isolated to this day and doesn’t like to have people in because they upset her carefully maintained household.

      I don’t think all women who keep their houses clean are like my mother, but some certainly are. I would not wish that childhood on anyone. Better a little untidiness, lower stress, and the freedom to live like a real human being.

  25. Theresa Warren October 16, 2014 at 6:39 am #

    I just get depressed living in a mess, but I try and be relaxed, I’m always apologizing for the mess, maybe I’ll stop!!

  26. Stacie October 21, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    I usually invite people over to motivate me to clean my house. There are just some days, I would rather play My Little Pony at Doc McStuffins office with my girls.

  27. Rabia @TheLiebers October 22, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    I know we just met, but you have now officially made the shortlist of “people who are allowed to come to my house.” For the record…my mom is not always on this list. But you? You get me! All the laundry in the living room is clean, and I’ll bet if you stopped by to chat you might even fold a few things, just out of habit. I’m so glad you and I are normal together!

  28. Michele October 22, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this. My couch is always stacked w laundry in various stages of being folded but never put away. The boys room has stacks and stacks of clothes sorted by size waiting for storage boxes to put them away and a sad broken dresser in need of being removed. I have a bathroom w a broken door hinge that will maybe hopefully get fixed this weekend or maybe the next. Our dining room converted to learning area will never be clean. And the toys always sneak out of the playroom and hide in every room in my house. But my art room is actually finally clean and the books in the playroom are sorted. You have made me feel so much less ashamed.

  29. Susen @ Dabbling Momma October 27, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    Finally! A nice honest post about how clean (or not) someone’s house is. This post is getting sent off to my hubby, asap! We are not alone afterall!!

  30. Michelle October 28, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

    hahaha. My 3 year old holds up her cup and says “new or old?” A friend announced last week that her baseboards were dirty. I’m not even sure we *have* baseboards, and our favorite car game is “Ew. What’s that smell?”

  31. jess fritzges November 1, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    This is our place. And by the time I get the clothes to the drawers he’s outgrown 1/3 of them. So they need to be put away. I’ll just pile them here and do it later. And so the pile of outgrown clothes grows until the boyfriend dresses the baby in those too short and tight clothes.

    • Katie P November 4, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

      Hahahahaha YES to the outgrown clothes! There are plenty of beautifully clean, folded clothes in my son’s dresser, and every single thing is too small. out of season, or too small and out of season. All the clothes he currently wears get stacked on top of his dresser.

  32. Katie November 1, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    Ive found that if my house is immaculate then my children and husband are upset because I’m not spending enough time with them. It seems to come down to a choice for me. My house can go from sparkly to tornado blown in one day and teaching the kids cleaning is still a work in progress. I have to tell myself that if it’s the end of the day and I have one room in the house that is super clean then it’s a success, lol. I’d rather have a happy family than every room immaculate all the time.

  33. MomOfMany November 1, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    There is a huge OCD anal-retentive group out there that defends, tooth and nail, their own choice to scrupulously clean every inch of their home or bust to the demise of their families. If something is out of order or not in it’s place, they are empty inside and unfulfilled, unable to be complete or happy or ‘move on’ to something that might be more important- like say, intimacy with their husband? Sound familiar? I have heard this first hand from more than 1 organizationally obsessed mom.
    I really, really feel for these people.
    I’m not saying *ALL* organized moms are like this, I have some fabulous friends who can do it all because they are just fabulous, but I’m saying that they do exist and they are the ones who make the rest of society afraid to invite over in fear of their disapproval. They are quick to point fingers at other people saying they are jealous over their own talents and have no grace in them to provide to those who do not make utter organization happen. If someone is falling over themselves because of how ‘messy’ they think their homes are, it may be that they are a past victim of these kinds of people.

    I have 8 kids (my house must be a disaster according to my intimacy remark, eh? *wink*) I told my children that I sacrifice complete organization so they could have a happy family without a wretch of a mother- but they arent worried. It’s not really an issue, here. My home is not unsanitary, but 20 minutes of normal play can, at times, be absolutely impossible to resolve in its entirety without neglecting other things that are more pressing (“Im sorry kids, we have to clean this mess up for 2 hours before we can start dinner…”). So, sometimes we just have to get things done over the weekend instead of right away.
    I have found that families who have a little less mess-organization in their home have a HUGE heart with understanding and empathy for other people and tend to not sweat the small stuff. Their kids do not wince when the finger paints come out or when the parent walks up the stairs, nor do they argue over little things (like laundry being done ). It’s because the parents have the ability to forgo getting it all done in exchange for the needs and love of the persons. This, is healthy. Happy kids mean, many times, a messy house- because they can’t wait for you to finish cleaning before you love on them.
    So, I think this goes to say, some of you who are pointing fingers might want to just turn it around and consider what in this article this author has written says about you? How truly perfect and healthy is your immaculate family, and take a moment to observe any passive-aggressive behavior you may exhibit in order to achieve your trophy home.

    • Courtney November 3, 2014 at 7:58 am #

      Well said! Every word!

    • Sarah November 18, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

      I do like an organized house. I grew up with my mom not doing much cleaning, let alone picking up. I do finish chores and cuddle, play, read books, play outside… In between it all. My kids are happy. My husband is a glass is half full kind of guy. We were great friends for 12 years before we dated. My kids are super goofy like he is. Cracking jokes and having fun, even through chores. They help me out with yard work (5 freaking acres), with the animals, and with the normal household chores. They are responsible with their things. Everything is picked up almost all the time. If they’re done with one thing then they put it away before they take something else out. I rarely have to remind them of that, even my two year old. I am what you are referring to as a clean freak. I’m okay with that. We’re teaching our kids value, morals, trust, responsibility, we give them direction, guidance, discipline, and of course, love, affection, and tons of attention. We have a super fun family of five. We are always going somewhere or doing something. That’s how it works around here. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  34. Lori November 1, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

    As a mom of 4 who lives this article daily, I am truly insulted by all the type A commenters who feel the need to rip on the rest of us. Is my messy house truly a sign of laziness and using my kids as an
    excuse? Why can’t you just admit that dirty dishes and unfolded clothing never killed anyone, and let it stand? The author never said “stop cleaning”, she said “stop apologizing for being “messy” when those of us with less organizing skills can only dream of a house that clean.” She was simply trying to help the rest of us feel less guilty about being ourselves. Be nice!

    • Rain November 2, 2014 at 2:45 am #

      I think that’s the point, though. Most of us aren’t ripping on you for having messy houses; we’re just reacting to the insults (such as yours) directed toward those of us who do make it a priority to teach our kids to clean up after themselves and take care of their belongings.
      Having a clean house does not mean we are neglectful mothers or are otherwise lacking. Please, be nice.

    • Dori November 6, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

      Thanks for saying this. 🙂

  35. Susan November 2, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    I am a mother of six. They are 17,14,11,9,6,&3. I read this and thought “Hallelujah! I am not alone!” Most of the time I look around my house and feel like a complete failure. I have a sister who keeps an immaculate house even with twin four year old girls. I can barely keep laundry caught up. And dishes, well you covered that. lol Thank you:)

  36. Mama O November 2, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    Normal level of cleanliness. What is it and when does it happen? My answer: everyone’s normal is different.

    As a homeschooling mother of ten, I completely understand this post and many of the contradictory comments. When I had “only” four children, my home was very tidy. As I gained children, stuff, a farm, wisdom, age, and MS, my standards changed. We each are in different stages of the journey, some mothers just starting out, some of us pressing on through the homestretch. There was a time in my life where I couldn’t sleep until the WHOLE house was clean or at least picked up. As life went on, my standards changed. It finally came to this: Would I rather live in a little clutter with joyful, creative kids who love their home, or do I want to work myself to death tending to the “stuff” and ignoring the people to the point that my children’s memories of home are only of cleaning it?

    My husband grew up in a home where everything was perfect, all the time – except for the relationships. There was far more time spent maintaining the “stuff” than in nurturing the people. It is a fine balance. We all must learn to draw the line – how much clutter is too much, what level of clean must we attain?

    We all need to have grace for others who just aren’t where we are. I think that is what is important to understand from this post – let’s just be honest about the state of our homes. Don’t apologize when you haven’t met “perfection,” whatever that means to you. I had a friend once who called that state “magazine.” You know, the pictures you see in magazines of immaculate homes. The important thing to note is that those pictures rarely have people in them. People are messy. If you have people in your home, there is going to be some mess. Period. My home will never be “magazine” because it is not a designer showroom – we LIVE there. That is what I tell people who come over. I try not to apologize for the state of things, but if I do, I follow it up with that qualifier: we live here.

    MomOfMany — you said it perfectly! ” Happy kids mean, many times, a messy house- because they can’t wait for you to finish cleaning before you love on them.”

  37. Naturo-Mommy November 3, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    That is my house and I am almost always embarrassed and apologize. I even apologize to my husband about the condition of the house because I feel like he works 10 hours a day and shouldn’t have to come home to the house in disarray or not have clean clothes when he needs them. But alas, when we have gone to others’ houses that aren’t spotless, when the hubby and I get back in the car, I get the “See, their house isn’t spotless either” look. So this is reassuring.

  38. TheBargainBabe November 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    The snake story!! Hahhaha. I think I just found my new Christmas gift hiding spot. 😉

  39. Mama soon to 3 November 3, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

    Here’s my take: This article is the current state of my house. During normal times I’m somewhere in the middle, not spotless, but decent depending on the day. Laundry is usually clean in baskets. Right now, though, mine is this article plus some. I was really working hard to clean while the toddler was napping, but then, even after getting tied, I got pregnant, very, very sick, and a blood clot in my leg. So people, come over, go ahead and judge, but guess what. I tire VERY quickly, but I do try. Problem is, the trying that I do before the exhaustion, leg swelling, or running to the bathroom to get sick, is not enough to keep up with the kids. It will get better with time, but right now, I am recovering and my hubby is working. Young kids. ‘Nuf said.

  40. pegster November 4, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Guilty of using the laundry basket as a hiding place! The best (or worst depending on how you measure) is when banned electronics go in there. Guaranteed the one who never puts his laundry away will not find his IPAD there! I don’t recommend putting valuables in a dirty basket though – just in case someone flares up and washes a load. An unlikely, but potentially costly scenario.

  41. Caroline November 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    Girls, girls, girls … the writer referred to her messy house not her FILTHY house. She didn’t say you should not clean, she just said you shouldn’t pretend that your house is not clean and tidy when it obviously is.
    I really envy those who can manage to keep a shiny, tidy house. I’m at home with 4 kiddies and I know and accept that it’s busy … but I don’t really understand why I can’t have a tidier home. I try. I try really hard. But like the writer I have piles of laundry one day, piles of toys another day, piles of piles yet another day. It’s rarely completely tidy but this does not mean it’s dirty.
    I don’t judge those with tidy homes but likewise they should not judge us for not being as organised or energetic or efficient or dedicated as them at housework. I know my children get my full attention and for that I try to cut myself some slack. I also know that in order to be a good mum to them I need to switch off at some stage in the evening and have some down time rather than launching into housework when they go to bed. We all should just do our best and be kind to ourselves when our best doesn’t always get all the jobs done.

  42. cathy November 4, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    Oh, thank God I am not alone! I have 2 middle school girls left at home, and 20+ cups on counters/tables/front porch, deck, trampoline, yard, mailbox post, car bumpers and front yard tree at any given moment. (And that is NOT counting when the neighborhood kids are at the house all day.)

  43. Kelly November 4, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    Thank you for your honest post! I don’t know why the comments have to turn back into insecure mom wars. Vulnerability is what changes peoples lives. I’ve stopped apologizing when I invite other moms or people into my home because the Lord uses my own weaknesses and vulnerabilities to grow me as a person and to show love to other people. And what I perceive as messy might be really clean to someone else (like the author is saying). None of us are perfect and we all could use help in the motherhood department, so let’s stop picking sides and work on our flaws (clean or messy) in kindness.

  44. Linda Mahoney November 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    I will just put it simply..I love you!! I agree/admit to all of this, and my kids are old now. I remember these days clearly as they were yesterday.

    Thank you!


  45. anita chicquita November 4, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    If your kids are running around screaming for juice constantly and you give it to them, there are bigger problems than cleanliness in your home.

    • Katie P November 4, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

      How kind of you to point that out. Hope the view is gorgeous up there on your high horse.

  46. JanetJ November 4, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

    I’m a single mom, work part time, go to college very full time (with over a 3.5 gpa) and maintain a bit of a social life. I’m non-stop busy but still manage to spend time with my kid, make him lunches instead of the junk they have for hot lunch, and keep my house marginally clean. Yeah atm it could use some sweeping, and I never bother actually making beds but my place is usually at a decent level of cleanliness. I’m not saying this as a brag (though anyone who can’t handle hearing that it can be done might take it that way) but to say that, everyone has different challenges in their lives keeping them non-stop busy, things making life difficult, and in general people still manage to keep their house marginally clean as well. Normal all depends on what you compare it too, your mess level may be normal to you & the moms you attract on your blog but may not be normal to a lot of people, and obviously isn’t normal to the other parents you speak to in person/your kid visits. Perhaps, just perhaps, your idea of ‘normal’ isn’t as normal as you like to think, or at the very least isn’t everyone’s experience of “normal”.

  47. Andi November 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    I NEEDED to read this today as I feel like my house is in horrible shape, due to staying home with my 3 littles! Awesome post!

  48. Dori November 6, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

    I own a business and raise an almost-four year old by myself, mostly. I only work four days a week but even so, keeping an immaculate home isn’t on the top of my list of priorities because on our days off together, we’re doing errands or having adventures. I have a dog that sheds year round and a cat that lets loose some fluff here and there – i’m happy to have read this since i’ve never been the “sahm” type. The job i had before this biz was on a farm so we were both filthy all day long since she came with me. Then there was four months of inactivity over the winter. That’s the only time a dwelling i resided in was immaculate – it was winter and we had all day to fart around, make messes and clean them up. Now? I do a marathon cleaning when she goes with dad – but only AFTER i indulge in some solo activities that really make me happy first – knitting, sleeping in, reading a book… Some dishes in the sink bother me until i get some perspective again.

  49. Zanja Coetzee November 6, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    Here I was thinking that I am the only mama going through this, that mine is the only house looking like this. Instead of compaining about the mess in about every room in my house thanks to my 5 and 3 year olds I focus on damage controle and enjoying their every little laugh and crazy antic.. allowing them to be kidz and not little robots who never get n dirt smudge on their hands or clothes.. maby one day they wil say they grew up in a mes of a house, but at least I hope they will also say that their mommy played with them and always put them first and that a clean house was never more importent than them.
    Thank you for posting this.

  50. Linda Unwin November 7, 2014 at 12:10 am #

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post! I have never been the Suzy Homemaker-type, not from lack of desire to be, but i usually worked after my kids were a few months old (d/t financial reasons), working shift work as a nurse and laundry used trumped housekeeping on my days off. I have just recently retired from nursing as i turned 65 in April, but we are now raising our 8 yr old grandgtr, so all my plans for finally getting my house in order are kaput, lol. I thought my husband and i were messy, but she beats us hands down. So, i loved hearing that im not the only one without a “magazine” home, lol. However, it saddens me to hear all the judgemental remarks being made in the comments. We, as moms, grandmoms, whatever, need to be supporting one another, not tearing each other down for our differences. Its our differences that make us individuals, not cookie-cutter drones. I simply enjoyed the humour in the post, liked the fact it made me feel not so terrible, and accepted that others feel differently. Its okay to say that you, yourself, prefer a tidy house and well-trained children, without having to put down those of us who maybe find being perfect a little harder. There is only one Being who is allowed to judge us, and He told us to love one another, not be critical of each other. Remember, Thumper said, “if you cant say sumpin’ nice, dont say nuttin’ at all”.

  51. Shea November 7, 2014 at 12:11 am #

    Amy and jayla I completely agree 🙂

  52. Melanie November 7, 2014 at 12:12 am #

    I think I love you.

  53. Billie November 7, 2014 at 12:24 am #

    I hate it when I go to someones house and they apologize for their “messy” house and its spotless or close to. I’m sorry, have we met? You’ve been to my house, you know what a disaster my house actually is. Please, all you are doing is making me feel bad about my house while trying to validate yourself. I can relate to every single one of these. Am I proud of that? No, but it is what it is.

  54. Rosie T November 7, 2014 at 12:34 am #

    Or we could say there are many forms of “normal” — these extremes and those in between. It really drives me nuts when articles decide to label one thing or another “normal” when there is no such thing.

    I’m one who cleans nightly after bedtime and has littles pick up their things at the end of the day. I grew up in a home where there was always a pile of laundry on the couch and dishes in the sink — but I choose to live differently for my own children. Is either the definition of “normal” (whatever that is)? No. But both are ok. You can clean and still have time for your children. And you can choose not to clean and still provide an awesome home. Just do you and quit pointing fingers.

    And, side note, when a Mom says she feels her house is messy, she probably does. I for one worry much more about my own home than I should — but would never judge another’s. So cut her some slack. We are all human.

  55. The Mean Mama November 7, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    I stopped using plates for lunches years ago… PB&J goes right on the table top! If it’s a particularly nasty table top they’ll get a coffee filter to use as a plate.

  56. katie November 7, 2014 at 2:11 am #

    The most upsetting thing about this post were the responses. Mommy wars indeed. Everyone needs to live and let live and settle down. Have a little compassion for your fellow moms and stop the judging. If you pride yourself on being a neat freak good for you! And if you embrace the chaos because you don’t have more time or think it’s fine, that’s okay too. When mom’s spend their time making snarky or judgemental comments it is a bad reflection on us all. And btw, this article was supposed to be humorous…seems like people take themselves way to seriously these days.

  57. Nancy November 7, 2014 at 2:45 am #

    i am looking for the cameras in my house. I know you have hidden them somewhere!! Love this article. I am so happy my house is exactly like this. Down to the beautiful dining room table that you cannot see!

    My spouse is divorcing me partially for my lack of cleaning. I have three kids all under 7. I have been told by them that our house is not normal. Thank you for validating me and that this is normal!

  58. Elodie Erdmann Dulac November 7, 2014 at 5:20 am #

    I think i’m in love ! ^^
    Thank you for this article 😉

  59. Theperfectjuggler November 7, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I honestly thought I was the only one who lived like this. I live in a constant state of frustration and ashamed ness at living like this but how the hell are we supposed to get everything done all the time!

  60. kimberly towers November 7, 2014 at 7:24 am #

    I. Love. You.
    Thank you!!

  61. Angela B November 7, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    I struggle with this all the time. My apartment is rarely sparkling clean, but when I host playdates or have company for any reason, I always stress and freak about cleanliness and go on a cleaning rampage. One one hand, it allows me to keep a clean house on a somewhat regular basis, but on the other hand, it does get super stressful on me and therefore on everyone else I live with. 😉 A nice balance would be wonderful if I could only figure out a way!

  62. melody November 7, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    I work 40+ hours a week, my husband works 40+ hours a week we have 4 kids (2yr, 9yr, 11 & 11) If my kids are fed and clean We have done our job… Is my house clean enough for my grandmother to stop by oh absolutely not… but I reassure myself that the kids have fully bellies, clean clothes, good grades, and we have a lot of family laughs

  63. Dad November 7, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    This article describes my home and my better half perfectly. Truth of the matter is she has ADHD. Her spontaneous and creative nature is one of the reasons I fell in love with her. I too have ADD which is why I believe we have managed to stay married for almost 8 year. We understand each other. The issue we both now face is that we now have two sweet little boys who we are trying to teach good habits. The reality is every now and then our home is clean and organized and when that happens we both are happier. It is easier to find things and the anxiety of having a seemingly endless amount of boring and mundane chores to do is gone. If you are in the same boat as us and many who have commented her I would encourage you to learn about ADD/ADHD. You would learn that there is nothing wrong with you and you are just different. Boring tasks such as chores are actually physically difficult due to the lack of mental stimulation. Please don’t look down on each other over what level of “organized” you are a at. “Normal” is a very subjective word.

    • Megegg November 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

      Thankyou for mentioning the ADHD/ADD. And thank you Elizabeth for the great article. Something only this last commenter seems to have mentioned is the difference in how people’s brains are wired, as though keeping things organized is simply a moral issue. For those to whom organization comes naturally, keeping house seems easy although with some physical labor involved, and they cannot fathom how staying organized might overwhelm someone else. I was touched by how many comments mentioned no longer feeling alone. I have a hard time believing that the tidy housekeepers really relate to that. While we should drop the “neat freak” name-calling, I have trouble imagining those who don’t struggle with housework are really being criticised and shamed the way those who struggle with it are. There is a reason groups like Sidetracked Home Executives and have a following. Some of us need a support group, for all sorts of reasons. Some struggle with organization the way others struggle with math; or there are health issues that are not always visible like ms, lupus, thyroid problems, chronic fatigue, etc. Low energy just means you can’t get it all done, especially when you factor in work, children of all ages, husbands, etc. I agree what we need above all else is compassion and support for one another, not more comparison and judging. It was a great, humorous article – really hit home!

  64. H Triplett November 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    Oh, glory! Yes, yes, and yes!! We couldn’t use our master bath shower for 13 YEARS!! Yes, it’s true!! We discovered a leak shortly after building, and it took that long for my husband to get around to redoing it.

  65. Andi November 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    you forgot the stacks of mail and only paying the bills when they threaten to terminate! Loved this and if only more people thought this way, we wouldn’t have so much mom guilt running rampant!

  66. LJ November 8, 2014 at 1:56 am #

    THANK YOU for your comment.
    Yes, what is easy for some people can be really difficult and discouraging for others depending on different mental and physical factors. We just have to give people the benefit of the doubt and trust that we’re all doing the best that we can.

  67. Jeanette November 8, 2014 at 7:28 am #

    I like the humor and sure there is truth in it. But wow are there a lot of judgmental comments! Here’s an observation which I swear isn’t judgment, just a suggestion to look at things anew. My kids and I don’t own enough clothes, toys or dishes to stack or wait. It cuts down on the clutter. Art projects and books, well yeah. My house isn’t perfect, but when you can’t afford so many things (actually not a house either, we rent), clutter isn’t a huge issue. Children aren’t a project we’ll be judged or awarded for. They are people, independent beings who need guidance to become themselves as adults, bring good to the world and live well.
    Be kind, do good, love deeply, have compassion. Then clean up, or use some of the money you save on things to pay someone who needs a job to help you out.

  68. Barbara November 8, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    This is one of the best things I’ve read! So funny and so very true! The whole list is true for our house. Glad to know we are not alone. Especially with cups and those darn ball-pit balls!!!

  69. both sides November 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    This was a fun and appreciated blog post. I want to respond to the comments — both sides. I am a person who loves to do household chores. I often have the feeling of excess physical energy, and intensely cleaning house soothes me. Of course it’s hard to do anything intensely while caring for kids, but I persevere. If I’m in the house with my kids, I’d much rather be cleaning than playing with them. I get really bored and frustrated spending too much time focused on little kids. The thing is, I know this isn’t a good tradeoff. I also know that it’s much harder (for me) to drum up enthusiasm for interacting sweetly with my children than for cooking or housecleaning. I’m taking the easy way out. I also know that I resemble my grandmother in this — and not my mother, who kept house adequately but all her life was a charmed companion to children. I see all the sides of this, and I know it’s possible to balance everything perfectly, but as with anything in life, perfect balance is elusive. It may make more sense for each of us to know that we lean in one direction or another, and strive to keep our balance by putting our efforts in the direction that comes less easily, but also to value in ourselves what our natural talents are. When I think about which half of the equation is more important, it’s clear (and I’m so glad I was raised by my nurturing mother rather than my strict grandmother — much as I in retrospect admire her industry, especially her epic food preservation). The biggest thing that these comments bring up, though, is how lonely I in particular experience parenting small children to be, and how judgement about others’ choices keeps us from coming together. I know I’ve chosen not to visit friends (despite their urging, my love for them, and my loneliness) who live far enough away to require an overnight stay, because of worries of how they’d judge my children’s behavior, in particular whether my children would mess up their houses (because I know that, as well as my children requiring intense supervision and some delay/space/freedom in order to clean up at home, children’s behavior when away is unpredictable). I also want to mention that for me personally, keeping a clean house is something that I do best when I’m depressed. Interacting with my children is something I do best when I’m healthy and happy. Your mileage may vary. But I’d hesitate to nag at someone who’s happily and lovingly parenting children. Similarly, when lonely and depressed I eat less and some might say “look my best.” Such things as eating, loving, playing, pursuing frivolous interests are what body and soul do to keep themselves whole. When we push against those things too hard, in service of regimen, we are preventing ourselves from staying whole. That’s why I liked this article and worried that some of the comments advocating tidiness as normal might be hurtful to people. Who are struggling.

  70. Kimberly November 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    This has just described my house! What gets me is that if I apologized for the mess, I’d be okay. Working full time, 2 boys under 5, a move when we bought our house a few months ago, cooking, cleaning, caring for the kids, and working on my masters degree at night and intermittent sickness from autoimmune disease, I just don’t have the energy to care. All our clothes are clean, and stacked in baskets in the bathroom, bedrooms, and dining room. It’s my husband who apologizes and it goes like this: “Sorry for the mess, Kim…(insert some reason why I haven’t gotten to clean).” It infuriates me. If you don’t like it, clean it!

  71. Jeanne November 8, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Loved this, and thank you for your honesty! Keepin’ it real!

  72. Maryann November 9, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    Ladies, for those who think the house will change after the children grow up and move out, not gonna happen because you get these tiny little blessings called grandchildren! If you are really lucky they will live close by, or at least some of them, and the wonderful messes continue. The only difference is you enjoy the messes because it means they have been at your home in your arms reading, baking, playing games and having fun!
    I’ll take the spills, stains etc… for them. who needs a clean house? Not me!!

  73. MommaB November 9, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    Some genius decided to design my apartment with the laundry area located in the front hall….I have 5 children. When someone comes to the door I try to open it as little as possible for fear of the laundry running past me to attack the unexpected visitor.

  74. Joy November 10, 2014 at 12:19 am #

    Thank you. Seriously. Thank your. We have been homeschooling for 8 years and I seriously thought i was the only one. (I’m not kidding) I cannot explain how happy I have been over the years though to go into a couple fellow homeschool friends house and it was more “lived in” than mine. Did I think less of them? No, I wanted to hug them!!

    Oh and the deck in disrepair? That would be mine…hoping to get it fixed this next spring. Meanwhile I’m here enjoying my teens that are growing up way too fast! (oh and btw…I’m not far away from Columbia SC…just don’t come visit without calling first 😉 😉

  75. Julie November 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    This is the most absurd thing I have ever read. It is not that difficult to maintain a clean home. Stop with the excuses people. Dirty dishes everywhere and trash all over your car is absolutely disgusting. Get it together.

    • Sarah November 18, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

      Agree 100%.

  76. Jenna Parsons November 10, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

    Seriously? People are taking this as an attack on moms who have neat and tidy houses? ? That was not at all the point of this article……

  77. Leslie November 11, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    So I’ve read several responses here and here is my bit; while I strive for a certain level of neat and tidy I do not always achieve it and it embarrasses me. I grew up in a hoarders house and was told to do chores from a young age but was never shown how to do them and when I tried (without instruction mind you) I was criticized for what a poor job I had done. I am a grown woman, but that voice of unfair critique sticks with me and on the days someone comes over and my house is relatively picked up and clean I don’t apologize for the hand full of dishes that didn’t fit in the dishwasher or the small spattering of toys on the floor because my child just dumped them back out to play after i vacuumed…..and I think that’s all the author of this piece was asking for. I don’t strive to embrace my messy/dirty home, but I do try to maintain reasonably clean standards. When I can achieve reasonably clean I’ve learned to quell my anxiety when someone steps through my door. Yes. I am so messed up in my head that a new person through my door has the ability to throw me into a full-blown panic attack. So if you are a judge mcjudgerson please know, some of us are doing the best we can and have immense hurt when we can tell you’re judging us. I thank God for the friends who love me enough to either over look my messy days or offer to help me out of my pit because I know they love *me* and care about *me* and not their own standards of cleanliness. Why do I go through the trouble of letting people in then if it’s so traumatic for me? Because I believe that facing my fear will help cure me of it and I will not have my kids live as I did. I was never allowed to have friends over and eventually even family events ceased to be held at my childhood home. I will not do that to my kids, even if it means my MIL doing my dishes on Christmas morning and having to reach down into the cabinet over-filled with supplies from my desperate attempt at a clear counter before everyone came or letting my son choose who enters his room no matter what state it’s in. My kids are 6 and 3 and I do strive to teach them how to care for a home, but I’m still learning myself and trying to do it through my own mental illness. Perspective and compassion…..get some.

  78. Donna November 12, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    To you, you may see clean , however, to those of us that have a certain level of cleanliness that was expected while growing up, to their mind, the house is not up to those standards. If you chose to have a house that is cluttered, a trip hazard, fire hazard, and contributes to wasting time when you are not organized and able to make most of your time, then more power to you. I was a single mom, working full time, going to school part time and still able to keep my house picked up and orderly. Like others have said before, make it a fun activity with a treat reward and you get to spend time with your family and still have a house that you don’t have to shovel a path so you have a place to sit. Basically, before judging others who have standards and feel sorry when their house is not up to them, and worry more about your own family and creating a warm, clutter free, safe environment for them and installing them with basic organization skills.

  79. Kayla November 14, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    You had me nodding through the whole thing- I have marker drawings on the walls that are at least two months old and an unusable bathroom. 😉

  80. Anna November 15, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    I browsed through the comments but I didn’t see where anyone addressed a big issue with how difficult it is to keep a house clean: STUFF. Most of us have a ridiculous amount of stuff that contributes to the messiness of the house. If your child is pulling out 50 toys at a time perhaps you have 45 too many? If your sink is full of dishes perhaps it is time to cut back and make it more difficult to pull out more just because the current one is dirty. I have found that as I have gotten rid of stuff, even at it’s messiest it only takes about an hour to clean my entire house. I have 3 children and we are home all day since we homeschool so the potential for mess is there, we just control it by controlling the amount of stuff that is allowed in our home. If it doesn’t have a proper space to be stored then it doesn’t belong. If it gets pulled out and left on the floor then it doesn’t belong. We have started learning that we prefer to keep things that are special to us rather than just having a bunch of junk just because someone else says we should.

  81. Anny November 17, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    Thank you thank you thank you for posting this! This is my house to a T! And long story some what shorten… my youngest daughter who is 3.5 called our pediatricians office last Friday morning and told the receptionist mommy wasn’t waking up… my phone was on silent and I was right next to her watching SpongeBob with my 2 year old boy on the other side… well the receptionist called the non emergency line…. and 5 cops showed up with an ambulance! Well you would have thought my house was the most disgusting place this paramedic had ever seen! She said there was poop on our floor (there wasn’t) said my son’s bed didn’t look like it had been changed in months and that our living situation wasn’t good for our kids…. my house is not dirty. The kitchen is usually clean, the bathrooms are clean… we don’t drink alcohol or do drugs… So none of that is laying around house! But with 4 kids, they come with a lot of stuff! Mainly clothes.. So we have clothes all over the house… all clean! The cops were understanding and the other paramedic was to… So the one paramedic lady called CPS on me! Also, giving then false information. A lady from social services came to our house. She had to question everyone who lived in the house (scared kids shitless because they were scared their mommy was going to be taken away!) And asked me a bunch of questions… pretty much asking me if I was a good mother. And then had to take pictures of our house. Going through each room to tell me what I needed to improve… like I didn’t already know! She said my oldest son’s (10 years old) room smelled like urine… for a while he was a bed wetter. She told me to still try to get the smell out! Needless to say… it totally sucked! But! I know my priorities are taking care of my 4 kids…. doctor, dentist, allergist, therapy appointments, plus after school activities! AND take care of my needs to keep me sane and healthy! I don’t feel ONE bit of sorry that my house isn’t pristine… it just isn’t in the stars for me to also worry about keeping my house spotless!!!

  82. Sarah November 18, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

    I won’t judge someone with a messy house and small children and no stay at home parent. I’ve got three kids. When I worked full time, went to school part time and had one child, my house was picked up. Now that I’ve got three kids and am home with two of them, it is a lot more to do but my house is rarely messed up. My kids know what cabinet the art stuff is in and that they have to do art in the kitchen. They know after bath, the toys get picked up while the water is draining. Even my two year old puts his own dishes in the dishwasher. They have their toys picked up before pjs and nightly tooth brushing. I’m a go getter. Yes, I’m tired beyond belief but I love being busy. I love that my kids are learning responsibility. Everything has a place. Every closet, every cupboard, every room is organized. If you use something and you’re done with it, put it away. Then you don’t have to worry about it later. Chores in the morning, fun the rest of the day. I’m not saying that our house doesn’t have its days and if it’s the day someone stops by, who gives a crap. Shit happens and I won’t dwell on what doesn’t get done because I know it eventually will.

  83. Lorin November 20, 2014 at 5:45 am #

    Here is the the thing, I grew up in a house where keeping it clean felt like the first priority all the time. My mom was always cleaning and fussing about something needing to be clean. Her house is and always has been immaculate! I’m not. I didn’t get that gene. I never did. Not cleaning for me isn’t about being lazy. It’s about being overwhelmed. It’s about wanting to spend more time with my three kids and husband than with the laundry. We are a work outside of the home family and by the time all get home, I’m done! Dinner, bath time, and then bed time come quickly. If I have te energy, dishes get done and laundry gets started. If not, it waits another day. It is how I have to function. I just bought a new house. I am making an extra effort to keep it tidier–but it isn’t or will never be up to my mom’s standard! Her voice is always in my head–so I apologize to guests–

    It’s good to know I’m not alone. For those offended by this article, just remember we are all different and our normal is different. Just because I’m not the tidiest mom on the block, doesn’t mean I don’t teach my kids responsibility or to care for their things–it means we have different ways, maybe less structured, but no less important.

  84. Alessandro November 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    As a non American casual reader who somehow got here, I really feel the need to highlight a point that I haven’t seen in others comments. You are completely right, it’s impossible to keep such a house tidy. The problem isn’t that you are untidy, the problem is that you own too much stuff. I will repeat it again: YOU OWN TOO MUCH STUFF. It’s so obvious, just read through your post, it’s an endless list of how you can’t really manage all the things you own. Why you need so many cups if they end up filling your house? Why do you have a shower you haven’t used in 4 years? But on top of everything, why do keep doing so much laundry if you don’t dust? Clothes gets dirty from dust, especially from the one surrounding the cabinet. It’s so obvious yet somehow everyone seems to ignore it here.
    I really can’t wrap my head around the American way of living sometimes.

  85. crystal December 8, 2014 at 3:39 am #

    Such a humorous look inside regular homes! I don’t give one second thought to the parents who have decided I’m lazy… Having 6 kids will do that to you. I don’t even blink at the writers here who say I’m using my kids as an excuse not to clean… I sure as hell do use them…I hate cleaning! Like, why is the washing not folded? Because I spent an hour bathing my kids and washing their hair. Why are the toys out? Because we were dancing in the kitchen cooking dinner tonight. And why aren’t the beds made? Because we stole all the blankets to make a cubby house

  86. Ayla Gorley December 8, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    Ditto and Thank you.

  87. Katrina December 8, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    I swear you were looking in my windows as you were writing this!!! I have a sign that you will see as you walk in my front door that says “my house is NOT messy…the kids are making memories” Yes there are things lying on the floor and the table and pretty much every available surface but my daughter will only be little for a short time and she will remember me playing with her rather than me saying I cant cause I have to clean.

  88. Tiffany December 9, 2014 at 12:15 am #

    This is my house too! Except for my car. Before we had kids, we had friends whose car always smelled like sour milk from all the old bottles on the floor and I swore that I would never have that. I “try” to tell my kids to take all their stuff with them when they get out of the car. Doesn’t always work, but I try to clean it out at least once a week.

  89. Donna December 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    I think its sad that people are so judgemental about someones home, on how clean they are. Everyone is different, some people are very neat and some people are not, some peoples priorities are different, they would rather spend quality time with there children than worry over a perfectly clean home. Some people work all week and have children in sports and other activities, and all of this takes up a lot of time. I do think alot of how we are is in our genes. I have four daughters and my second daughter is very neat about everything and my other girls are messy. Yes we should as parents teach our children to pick up after themselves and keep things as clean as possible, thats part of our job as parents. But i think our main priority as a parent is to raise our children up in the ways of The Lord and take them to church, and this in itself takes alot of time, because it something that is done on a daily basis and a lot of talking with your children and reading the bible together. This is what truly matters and All this other stuff about a clean house should be further down on our prority list.

  90. Emily December 28, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    I once hid an overflowing hamper of dirty clothes in the tub behind the shower curtain so my guests wouldn’t see it. The living room is usually not too bad, but I might tackle you if you head for the office.

  91. Lynn January 5, 2015 at 10:50 am #

    I’m a older mom with a 10 yr. son. I also have 3 grown children. I loved the humor of this article. The response of some of the cleanie moms were very defensive. I guess now they know how it feels to be judged as not as good, smart, acceptable, stable, as their messy sisters.. Why she used the word normal was a slam to people who judge people who do not keep their house clean and orderly. This is normal to US. US who are struggling in some ways,with disabilities one can see and ones people can’t. Or maybe it is not as important to be super clean to them, we all have a certain energy level, and tolerance to messiness..

    I have always struggled with pstd and depression, and fibromyalgia. I have had a traumatic past as many of us have. I also understand there are people who have had traumatic past and don’t have mental illness. There are so many variations to people, we cannot judge.

    I know in our society the mentally ill, the messies, the not being able to keep up with the jones, are labled as crazy , lazy , too stupid to earn more money. And frankly as a Christian I am sick of it. Thank you for writing this article and proclaiming that we are ok to be who we are, and that can be our normal, even through our struggles!!! All people need dignity. And I have struggled with more than one stigma, and I think most of us if we could have a better home we would, so don’t judge us cleanie sisters…….

  92. Julia February 1, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    There is nothing wrong with a “work in progress” home and an “organized and neat home” and anything along that spectrum. I have a messy house constantly – two days out of a week I have three rooms that are clean, other days it just is what it is. I’ve told my judgmental family that if they want to come over at midnight when all the children are tucked in bed, that’s the best time. Everything is spiffy after 9pm. I have yet to see anyone take me up on that offer. The point is, busy moms like me who work a full-time job, have families and go to school at night have to prioritize. Sometimes that means I’m giving my bathroom a once over at 5am before I get in the shower. Sometimes it means that I take much needed “me” time and read a book with a sink full of dishes. The point is, my house will get cleaned. It may not be every night and not every room but it will get cleaned. Just because I don’t do it on the schedule of neater folks doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. So much judgment is thrown about between women and mothers. Makes no sense – we can empower each other rather than tear each other down.

  93. Brandy February 1, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

    Such a nice change to read about moms, who are honest about the mess! I have two children, 4&1… My house is a state! All day everyday haha. I do everything I can to keep it tidy, but dirty dishes, laundry, and toys still creep back in!
    One day it will stay clean, and I know I’ll miss the mess. My kids are playing, making memories, and I’d rather them remember mom played with me, then remember me as always busy cleaning around them.
    I always tell family who don’t get why it’s not sparkling clean and untouched all the time is “my home is for free expression, not for good impressions”

  94. Lena February 16, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    Gross. Who lives like that. Stop being lazy and clean your filthy house! It takes an hour or less. Just stay on top of things.

  95. Jo-Jo April 29, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    I have to comment, we have adult kids with kids of their own, everyone is out of the house. I work a full time job, drive an hour each way to and from work. I used to keep my house perfect and clutter free. I am now in my 60’s, and when I get home from work, my hubby cooks dinner, I clean up the kitchen and enjoy my evening time watching tv with him and our pets. My home isnt filthy, but it isnt how I used to keep it. I am tired when I get home from work and the last thing I want to do is clean past the kitchen. Weekends, I just want to have fun, I do not want to spend my 2 days off cleaning. I have winter curtains staring me in the face saying take us down, and put up the summer curtains please! I am sure I will get to it one of these days after I am done having some fun.

  96. Erin October 2, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    I just found this, but I want to thank you. I have a disability that makes it tough to get out of bed some days, much less clean dust off the top of my kitchen cupboards. I also work and have a teenager and a toddler. You not only described my house, but you made me feel like less of a bad mom. Thank you for writing this. Sincerely, just thank you. I wish you great blessings!

  97. sue September 11, 2017 at 12:46 am #

    Reading all these comments two things stood out to me – one – that the people commenting about having clean houses were very judgmental and actually mean towards those who could not keep a clean house and two – those who were messy just commented on themselves. To sum it up – seems that the people who keep very clean houses are overly concerned with appearances and seem like they are not nice people. For those of us who are in-between the extremes – I’d rather hang out with the messy moms – they seem nicer and are probably more interesting people.


  1. Making the Most of My Mess | (un)Frazzled - October 10, 2014

    […] the fabulous Lisa-Jo Baker on dealing with anger as a mom. The other was a hilarious and honest expose’ on the state of a home full of little people from Elizabeth at City Moms […]

  2. Floral Friday and the week that was #3 - Little Bit of Thyme - November 7, 2014

    […] posted about What Normal Really Looks Like! If you are a mum who constantly apologises for the appearance of her house, this is a must […]

  3. What Normal Looks Like | Manic Pixie Dream Mama - November 15, 2014

    […] post originally appeared, in slightly altered form, in Columbia SC City Mom’s […]

  4. Welcome | Farm and Away - February 18, 2015

    […] since we as a culture spend a lot of time judging and criticizing women for being too slovenly, too perfect, working outside the home, not working outside the home, having kids too young, having kids too […]

Leave a Reply

HTML Snippets Powered By :