Parenting isn’t easy. First of all, we’re trying to raise tiny people into respectable, healthy human beings. On top of this, we still have to live our own lives, work at our jobs, and contribute to society ourselves. I’m a pretty optimistic person who believes just about anything is possible if you’re determined enough, but if there’s one thing I’ve had to give up on, it’s the idea of a perfect household.
In the days of Pinterest and countless homemaking blogs, I’ve often been left wondering if I’m the only person in the world without a pantry labeled from A to Z, or who doesn’t have several cute and clever time-saving tips for keeping a tidy house.
Luckily, I’ve learned that sometimes I just have to give myself a break. You know, at some point—probably when my kids are much older and don’t find joy in dumping out random drawers of stuff—it may be a little easier to keep my house in order and have a least a room or two that doesn’t look like a tornado just blew through it. For now, I’ve gotta let go of that idea of perfection.
I used to feel so bad when I’d visit a friend’s house and walk into what looked like the perfect household. Now, it doesn’t bother me anymore. In fact, if you have small children and your house is spotless, I’m not going to feel bad about my place; I’m going to wonder what’s wrong with you. I mean, more power to you if that’s your thing, but don’t feel the need to clean for me. Actually, if I ever visit your house, do me a favor: Before I come in, smash an old sandwich into the carpet, fling a basket of dirty laundry across the room, scatter out a box of toys, and make sure the kitchen floor is sticky. I’ll feel right at home.
I once read a poem that has the lines:
“The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep!” – Ruth Hamilton
Time has never seemed to go by as fast as it has since I had my children. When I think back over the last few years and what I have cherished most, or what I’d do more of if I could relive this period, cleaning more is not even a consideration.
So parents, join with me: Promise never to judge another parent’s home that may or may not be as tidy as yours. Let us promise to put down the broom a little more and pick up our babies. No more guilt trips for imperfect homes. After all, we are living there.
Are you with me?