Why I'm Done Being Ashamed Of My Messy House

Why I’m Done Being Ashamed Of My Messy House

Messy house

Thanasis Zovoilis via Getty

Cleaning was never my thing. As an adolescent, I was always in trouble for not cleaning my room. In university, my roommates and I would fight over the mess on my side. My husband even has a video where he jokingly documents my messy apartment.

The first year of our marriage included some challenges largely due to our differences in cleaning styles (namely, he cleaned and I didn’t). For the first time, I felt real shame around having a messy house. But two children later, neither of us have time to focus on the clutter and mess anymore. We both suck at cleaning now.

Don’t get me wrong, I love clean homes. But through the years it’s become increasingly clear that I am NOT the one to do it.

I’m a portrait of your textbook creative person, and I maintain comfort despite the chaos. Sure, my story ideas, books, and clothes might be all over the floor. But guarantee I know where everything is!

However, the truth is, I can’t blame my lack of tidiness solely on my creative tendencies. The biggest reason my house is a mess is that I just don’t care.

Cleaning reminds me of the lectures and punishments I experiences as I child. Besides, who has time to pick up a broom with a toddler and a newborn?

Of course, that doesn’t mean I never clean things — I’d just prefer not to. Believe it or not, right before giving birth, I maintained a pretty regular schedule (and stress to go with it) trying to keep a clean house. I thought I wanted to change things for my daughter. It didn’t take long to see it just made me place more restrictions on my son. I wanted to be “more domestic” for my family — but it shouldn’t come at the cost of my sanity.

Three weeks post-birth, a friend came for a visit and I hadn’t had time to pick up anything. The trash pickup hadn’t run for weeks thanks to back-to-back holidays and the house was a literal pigsty. The timing of my friend’s visit changed suddenly, and I didn’t have enough time to mask the chaos. I was extremely embarrassed.

But my friend just laughed and said, “Don’t apologize. You just look like you live in a home that has a newborn and a toddler.”

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And she was right. With newborn nights and toddler days, I was running on four hours of sleep on my best day. But I’d gotten so concerned with a clean house that I didn’t realize how unrealistic it could be through this period of transition.

Hell, most days I hardly have enough time to brush my teeth or shower. The last thing I have time for is stressing over a messy house.

Suddenly, it was obvious that no one was judging me near as much as I’d been judging myself — not even my husband. Instead of being criticized when I expressed my new decision to worry less about cleaning the house, I was met with support. We knew we’d need to readjust post-baby, but it was finally clear just how much.

As a mother of two, I’ve learned it’s unrealistic to use the sprinkle of free time I have on cleaning.

I’m not domestic; I’m a provider. I’m a mom and a wife. And it’s more important to me that we have fun and make memories than ensuring those memories are made in a pristine house.