I May Be A Stay-At-Home Mom, But I'm No Homemaker

by Colleen Dilthey Thomas
Scary Mommy and filadendron/Getty

I have four kids, four bedrooms and four bathrooms. I do not have four hands to clean them, or four shits to give about it. I am not June Cleaver. I have never claimed to be. Her house is immaculate, meals are gourmet, cocktail in hand when Ward gets home from work. Picture freakin’ perfect. Give me Peg Bundy any day of the week. She was perfectly happy being mediocre. I’ve got the red hair and plenty of leopard skin clothing to pull it off, please let me.

I am a stay-at-home mom, but I am not a marvelous homemaker. I do not wake up and make beds. I don’t live for gleaming floors. The smell of Febreze doesn’t get me high. I have plenty of time to do it, I just don’t want to. Now before you start thinking that my house must be a disgusting pit of hell, it’s not. It’s just not always show ready. You’ll probably find a couple of dishes in the sink. Toys strewn across the family room. And without a doubt, there is laundry on the mud room floor. This one, I don’t get. I run that Speed Queen on the daily and yet it never ends. My kids wear uniforms. Where the hell is it coming from? But I digress. There is just a little of this and a little of that sprinkled all over the place.

Tom Werner/Getty

Getty Images

I guess I could get a cleaning lady. You know, to scrub and dust and stuff. But here’s the thing: I’d have to clean for the cleaning lady to come. She’s not vacuuming around boxer briefs and doll clothes. We had a cleaning lady when we were first married, had no kids, and our house was immaculate. That was dumb. I totally should have saved that money for something better. Like some yoga pants that I don’t work out in.

I do cook dinner every night. That one, I’ve got. Mostly because these people I live with really get whiny when they haven’t been fed. That’s not my favorite. Our meals aren’t elaborate, but they are hot and on time and satisfying. Please, someone give me a medal for doing what you’re supposed to for your kids.

Speaking of kids, I have three boys and one girl. The boys are in school full time and my daughter is in Pre-K. I’d just rather spend my days on the floor with American Girl stuff all around me than worry about how organized it all is in her closet. Yeah, we’ve got specific bins for all of it so that she can easily grab what she wants. She’s four; she’d rather dump it all out on the floor and enjoy it. Fine with me, sis. When I was a kid I had a Barbie Dream House that was never cleaned up and I spent my entire childhood playing with it. That’s what I remember. I want my kids to remember that too.

I have a sign in my upstairs hallway that says, “Pardon the Mess, But My Kids are Making Memories.” It’s so cheesy, but it’s true. They don’t need me losing my shit to make sure that their rooms are perfect. When I do get the bug to do a deep clean, that’s exactly what happens. I get pissed, they get pissed, and it’s just a disaster. Totally not worth it.

Here’s the deal. If you drop by unannounced, don’t expect to be impressed. Get ready to be comfortable and to laugh and maybe get sticky from the jelly that’s probably on the couch. So, just grab a Diet Coke and relax. And while you’re up, if you don’t mind, could you switch the laundry?