I’m not a very good housekeeper. I don’t deny it. I don’t excuse it. I do try to do better. I have these horrible nightmares sometimes where someone shows up at my house unexpected, and they see the finger marks down the stairwell. The crumbs in the cracks. They see my laundry mountain, and they turn up their noses at the smell of lived-in. They’re polite enough while they visit, but as soon as they leave they call child protective services. I lose my kids to a mess. It’s extreme I know. Everyone likely doesn’t worry so about such things, but I do.
So, when you invite me into your home or post those pictures with less-than-spotless backgrounds, and I see the same finger smudges, little life messes, and sheer signs of living, it makes me feel so much better, so much more normal. Growing up I never thought I’d want to just feel normal, like I was meeting the average standard. I was always so driven, so focused, so sure that I could do anything, so set above standard.
So, when I had a child, and then another, and then two more, when I found that half-assed housework was not enough to keep the place clean, and real effort wasn’t really either if I really wanted to be there, be involved, to truly experience my children. I was confused. I was faced with the realty that I alone couldn’t do it all no matter how driven, no matter how hard I tried. I wasn’t good enough. There just aren’t enough hours, isn’t enough energy, isn’t enough sanity to do so. I found myself wishing to just meet the standard we see on social media, on Pinterest, in magazines, in our prepared visits to homes of others. I often felt like I was failing as a mother, because a real mother could do it all couldn’t she? It was just me that couldn’t. I was the failure, not even just normal.
So, please don’t excuse your minor mess. Don’t worry what I’ll think, because I can’t thank you enough for adjusting my opinion of what the standard house with kids looks like. You’ve made me feel normal.