Being a work-at-home mom of four small kids means that our household’s tidiness typically leaves much to be desired. Meaning, it’s always a mess. Believe it or not, I’m fully aware of this. I know our house looks like a tornado ripped through it — I live here.
So for the love of God, quit telling me I need to hire a housekeeper.
Not only that, but why am I being made to feel like I live in the suburbs in the early ’50s? Why does Mom have to do it all? Because, truthfully, I can’t. The good Lord knows I try, but I am only one person. I fail miserably at all of the housework when I am the only one doing it, while juggling work, childcare, and other household duties.
We live paycheck to paycheck, so unless we want to start scrounging for literal necessities, a housekeeper does not fit anywhere in our budget. And when I’m face to face with someone, my pride doesn’t always set itself aside easily enough for me to say those words, making us both feel a little uncomfortable.
Not only is it unrealistic due to the high expense, but I also just don’t really want one. Sure, it’d be lovely to have a clean home 24/7. But I’m also a little uptight about my belongings and where I’d like for them all to go. (Though you’d probably never guess from the amount of crap residing on our floors.)
That said, we do have standards, folks. Food laying out, crusty dishes, and mountains of trash are definite no-go’s in our household. We wipe counters, scrub toilets, wash dishes, sweep floors, and take out the trash, but just about everything else doesn’t need to be spic and span in my mom-book.
And if I’m being real, who doesn’t love the trickster feeling of finding “new” clothes after they’ve been neglected in the hamper for a week? Or three? Boo-yah!
As it turns out, I’m not the only mom who’s feeling like captain of the struggle bus when it comes to maintaining a clean home.
Some of us have exploding closets.
Others have playrooms that looked like a cyclone ripped through it.
And some of us have low-grade mess all over the house.
Truthfully, I am a real mom. My kids make messes, and I clean them. My kids wear clothes, and I wash them. Tummies get hungry and I feed them. But no matter how hard I try, I cannot do it all.
On the other hand, there are days where I force myself to do it all. On holidays, birthdays, and special occasions, I have the house in tip-top shape. But guess what? It’s tragically demolished before nap time. So, a maid in our household would be a colossal waste of money. (But maybe it’d be fun to watch her try.)
If you step foot into my house, see the mess, and suggest I hire a maid, I’m fixin’ to kick you out the front door. Chances are, I’m already anxious by the state of my house which, I promise, was clean-ish the day before. So why not tell me you are in my house to see my kids, not my mess? Or why not tell me that you understand, because you’ve been there too?
There’s a very real possibility that the weight of motherhood is dragging me down once more, so why not take the kids for awhile so I can finish the jobs so obviously desperate to get done?
Better yet, come on over and lend me a hand. Whether it’s washing a mountain-high pile of dishes, folding laundry, scratching stickers off of hardwood floors or taking a magic eraser to dinosaur drawings on our dining room wall, I can always think of something that needs done and I’m grateful for any help.
And I think every other mom who doesn’t resemble Bree Van de Kamp surely feels the same way.
Instead of pointing out my flaws, how about we look at what I’m doing right? Instead of telling people to shell out money to delegate household tasks, why don’t we take a look at why women are bearing the brunt of these household tasks in the first place? How about we take into consideration that a tidy, well-organized home is a want, not a need?
I’m only four years into mommyhood, and I’ve got 4 kids in tow, and I already realize just how brief this messy stage will be. Instead of groaning about the mess my kids make, shift your unneeded, negative mindset to think, “Wow, she is really lucky to have a house full of kids to clean up after.”
That’s what I’ve had to do.
Because when it comes to my kids’ happiness or a clean home, four, squinty-eyed smiles win me over every single time. After all, our fondest memories stem from the biggest messes.