My son is upstairs vacuuming at this very moment. The house is straightened up, the laundry is done, and everything feels right with the world. You see, I consider myself a pretty awesome mom, and yes, my house is usually clean.
For starters, I have three teenage kids. They need shit to do to keep their hands off their devices as well as reminders that life isn’t all about socializing, sports, and watching YouTube videos. There’s nothing like a daily dose of cleaning to show them how things get done — I refuse to have my kids grow up thinking little fairies come and scrub the toilets, scour the showers, and fold their laundry and magically put it away.
Before they were old enough to help out with theses household chores, I had a clean house. And yes, I was still pretty fantastic back then too. But now that I have help, my fun factor has been tuned up a few notches. Because you know what’s not fun? Me, in the middle of my dirty house while my kids are ignoring the chaos and enjoying their life.
I need to have order if I am going to be a fun mom who is in a good mood and doles out jokes, sugar, and the occasional sofa-dance. There’s nothing like being able to find things you are looking for without ripping through the whole house and not having your feet stick to your floors, if you ask me.
Life with kids is hectic, and when my house is a mess, it takes hectic and pumps it full of steroids.
Here’s what I’m saying, folks: You can be an awesome mom and have a messy house. You can be an awesome mom and have a clean house. Your awesomeness is not measured by the dust bunnies you have floating around your floor or how organized your pantry is.
Some of us function better in a mess. Some of us function better when things are lined up in neat, tidy rows. I happen to be one of those people who needs order to feel physically comfortable.
When I’m mopping, I can do it in my underwear while belting out an Adam Levine song, and that’s fucking fun.
And after a good rage clean, when all the WTFs are out of my system, there’s nothing left to do but ride the high I get from looking around and not seeing dust or the pillows thrown on the floor or bugs in my freezer or trash on the floor next to the can.
My family knows me well enough to know if they want something, they had best clean up after their damn selves or negotiations in our house go something like this:
My kids: “Mom, can I…”
Me: “Don’t even come to me about a purchase, ride, or candy request until you clean up your toys so I can think clearly and make a decision that will work for both of us and I feel you deserve.”
Have I left the house and let my kids go on a bender under the care of someone else who doesn’t give a shit? Of course I have, I was married once.
But they knew then and they know now they have a choice: They can be greeted with happy mom who likes to let them have screen time and fruit snacks when she sees the house is mostly picked up.
Or they can be greeted with a broom and a frown when they think it’s okay to dump the entire contents of their art drawer on the floor, reenact a scene from Chopped in the kitchen, and make a fort out of every cushion and blanket in the house and try and leave it there when they are done.
Needing to have things clean doesn’t mean you are any less fun than the parent who doesn’t care about that kind of thing. It also doesn’t mean you bust in on your kids, mid-play, and demand they clean up because you refuse to let anyone smile, laugh, and use their imagination.
My house is clean most of the time. And we make just as many memories as every other family. I still let my kids be assholes sometimes. And I certainly don’t do it to be a martyr. I don’t have time for that what with all the cleaning and being fun and teaching my kids how to load the dishwasher the right way before I tear my damn hair out.