"I don’t know how you can live like this!"
These are the words that came out of the mouth of a former friend as she walked through my home, to pick up her daughter that I had just looked after.
I still haven’t forgotten the way her words made me feel that day. It was this judgemental attitude from someone I thought was a fellow understanding mum, a neighbour, a so-called friend, that made me realise that other mums can be the most judgemental people of all.
Watch: Things mums never say. Ever. Post continues below.
The amusing thing about the comment was that as a former perfectionist, it’s always been ingrained in me to keep my house as neat as I can. Well, as tidy and clean as a mum of three kids possibly can.
No matter how many times I vacuum and mop, there’ll always be more crumbs and two additional sticky spillages to replace the last ones.
But this former friend of mine wasn’t talking about the mess, she was talking about the state of my 'heaven-forbid-anyone-should-live-like-this', un-renovated house.
I realised in that instant something I had suspected for some time: that to be this person’s friend, my life had to be picture perfect and Instagram-worthy, just like hers was.
Before those words came out of her mouth, apart from my own occasional frustrations at having to share one very old and very pink bathroom between five of us, I’d never had a problem living in a partially renovated house.
I have always been grateful just to have a family and a roof over my head. But my husband and I figured we may as well let our kids be kids and not live in a house where we had to be ‘precious’ about whether they drew on our walls or scratched our flooring.