I have a love-hate relationship with friends dropping by unannounced. As a mother of three young boys, I love having adult conversation. More specifically, I love having any conversation that doesn’t center around bodily functions. However, I live in constant fear that someone’s going to walk in my house, size up the mountain of dirty dishes, scan over the baskets of unfolded laundry, check out my half-dressed toddler, and never speak to me again.
But come on! I’m not the only one with young kids. There is no way I’m the only one living like this. Well it turns out, I’m not.
When Elizabeth Broadbent shared her post What Normal Looks Like on scarymommy.com, it quickly racked up over 334,000 shares on Facebook. Women rejoiced that someone was finally telling the truth about what day-to-day life with littles really looks like. With all the positive feedback, it begs the question, why is our dirt such a dirty little secret? Here are some misconceptions we need to discuss.
1. Having a messy house does not mean you are a mess
I’m a pretty organized person, but my 2-year-old can wreak havoc in an instant. If you have more than one kid, it’s almost impossible to stay on top of everything throughout the day. Most of us salvage what we can during naps and after bed and muddle through the rest of the day best we can. If you drop in for a 10 a.m. visit, you get what you get.
2. Pinterest is not reality
Social media is enough to make even the best mom paranoid. Thank you, Pinterest. Do houses really look like what we see in design blogs? Not without a healthy housekeeper on the payroll. Anyone can stage a house to look fabulous long enough to take pictures, but reality probably looks a little different from that Pin.
3. Wonder Woman does not exist
I spent many years wondering if some mythical mother out there really had it all together — clean house, gourmet meals, well-groomed children. This is not Desperate Housewives, we do not live on Wisteria Lane, and there is no such thing as Wonder Woman. Even if a mom keeps a spotless house, you can guarantee she has others issues to deal with. We all come with our own personal brand of crazy.
4. Bad days happen to the best of us
I can go weeks feeling pretty awesome about my homemaking skills. Then, lest I get too cocky, karma will slap me with the flu or a remodeling project or Christmas and it all comes crashing back down. All of us go through high and low points in our housekeeping, so ride out the lows until life gets calm. Calmer. As calm as it ever gets with kids.
5. You are more than your house
Above all else, if I could only convey one message to the world, I want every woman to know that she is worth infinitely more than her piles of neatly folded laundry. If you keep a spotless house, cool. If you prefer to use the floor as a shelf, cool. As long as the kids are happy, healthy, and fed, you’re doing your job.
Can we agree that it doesn’t matter whose house is cleanest? This isn’t a contest, there are no trophies, and if we’re being honest, I’m much too tired to compete. I won’t judge your mess if you don’t judge mine. In fact, why don’t you stop on by unannounced. Jump over the matchbox cars, veer left at the piles of sorted laundry, ignore the blanket fort over my dining room table, and we’ll head to the backyard for lemonade and girl talk. Just don’t mention any bodily functions and we’re good to go.