Over the years, I’ve signs posted in homes on social media and IRL. They say things like, “Please Excuse The Mess, We Live Here.” And before I was a mom, I really appreciated it! I thought, wow, what a good reminder. Because little kids are messy and we should embrace the mess by playing with our kids and letting them explore their creativity. We should be down on those dirty floors with every toy out and encourage the destruction. Don’t stop to playing. Don’t leave your kids. Don’t worry about the mess. But is a messy home how we measure good parenting?
I am not a clean freak. I don’t scrub my baseboards every week, I don’t scrub my bathrooms regularly, and I don’t wash, dry, fold and hang the laundry all in one day. But My house isn’t messy. My kids clean up their toys and I leave their sides so I can vacuum and mop my kitchen floor. I send my kids to the yard so that I can scrub, and dust, and tidy up. I feel overwhelmed in a messy house and as a family, we love inviting people into our home, so I prefer to leave my kids in their playroom and get my chores done. Does that make me a bad mom?
I have said in others posts that I don’t live to entertain my children. I let them play in the yard and use their imagination without my help. I was accused of being a lazy parent and a bad mother because of those statements. But I stand by them. My children understand that they aren’t the center of my universe. I let them play alone so that I can maintain my house and take care of myself. I don’t feel happy in a messy home. But we live here. I am a stay at home mom, we homeschool, I have three kids, but my house isn’t always a disaster. My floors aren’t sticky, my windows aren’t smudged, my living room isn’t cluttered with kids toys. I am tired of being called a bad mom because I don’t stare at my kids all day long.
So what I’m saying is, I prefer a clean home. But let me stop you right there. What I am NOT saying is that if your home is messy, you are a bad mom! Every house that contains children will eventually, and probably regularly, become messy. It’s just a fact of life. Dishes get left out, toys don’t get put away, crumbs accumulate, shoes are thrown randomly across the floor. It’s just how kids were designed. I’m cool with that. I don’t expect my kids to be neat freaks. I’m not one, I’d be surprised if they turned into one. But I’m also raising adults. So I want them to see mommy cleaning up. I want them to know that I have other priorities sometimes. My life isn’t about their entertainment all the time, and it’s certainly not about mine. I have lazy days where I let things go for the sake of Lego villages and movie marathons. We eat popcorn on the couch and I occasionally let the dishwasher fill past capacity, and that’s fine. I just need my kids to see that when we make a mess, we have to stop every once in a while and clean it up.
So for those of you who are too busy making memories to worry about a spotless home, I salute you. You are warriors, as are all attentive and loving mothers. You are down in the trenches with your dirt covered noise makers and they love it all, I’m certain. But for those of us who stop a little more often to pick up the pieces and mop up the messes, we’re okay, too. Our kids are also making great memories and enjoying life. We can have clean homes or messy homes and still be amazing moms who love spending time with our kids. Because our little rugrats just want time well spent with us.