Hey Mums, we’re all in this together.
“Oh, I can’t have you over,” other mums say. “My house is a mess.” As soon as I arrive for a play date, before hello, they say: “Don’t judge me, the house is a wreck. No, seriously, it’s destroyed. Please don’t look. I’m so embarrassed.”
Lies. Lies, lies, lies.
Because when I go into that house, the house of the mum who is so apologetic about the condition of her kitchen, or the toys in her living room, or the invisible dirt in her bathroom, I can’t decide if I want to laugh in her face or deck her.
Girl, please. Not only is your house not messy, your house is immaculate.
You have guest towels laid out. Your children’s spilled toys remain confined to a rug — which, by the way, is not sprinkled with crumbs. Sippy cups stay in the kitchen. Insisting your house is dirty speaks to clinical delusion, your misunderstanding of small children, your secret desire to make me feel guilty, or maybe your desperate need for reassurance.
Probably all of the above. Seriously, stop it.
You can either have a sense of shame or small children, and I’ve got three boys under 5.
So for all of you mamas insisting your immaculate house is messy, and all of you normal mamas afraid to have anyone come into your house ever, because that level of clean is just not achievable due to kids/time/dogs/life/constant art projects, let’s set some guidelines.
1. Normal: There is a room in your house that always stays cluttered and messy, and much like Lady Macbeth’s hands, will never be clean.
In my house, it’s the dining room, furnished with my great-grandmother’s cherry dining suite, including buffet and china cabinet. I sew on the table, store art supplies in and around and between the hunt board and the wine rack. I stash file cabinets in available floor space, dry glitter art next to the sewing machine, and sometimes train tracks under the table.
None of that gorgeous cherry is currently visible. I neaten this room for birthdays and holidays requiring fine china. Otherwise, you aren’t allowed to see it, Judgy McJudgerson.
2. Normal: Your laundry is everywhere.
Current house tally: five clean baskets in the laundry room (blocking the auxiliary fridge and probably creating a certifiable fire hazard). One clean basket in the master bedroom.
A clean load in the dryer and one in the washer. There is no basket of dirty clothes anywhere. We’re this week’s laundry heroes!
Will those clean baskets make it to folding, or even more daunting, into drawers? Maybe. I’m feeling it lately. But a relative of mine, who shall not be named, once had to hide her kids’ Christmas present — a pet snake — from all the kids and her husband for two weeks. She stashed it under the laundry baskets in her bedroom. The secret kept. She’s the all-time laundry hero, ladies.
3. Normal: Your sink is full of dishes, your dishwasher is full of dishes, your table and counter are full of dishes, and you can’t find a clean spoon.
So you use a teaspoon for your cereal. When you get to the giant soup spoon or worse, start to contemplate that spikey grapefruit spoon at the bottom of the silverware drawer, then you need to do a load. Only so the kids have plates for lunch.