Thoughts on messy houses and the balancing act of motherhood

I just came across a blog about how to simplify my busy life, get rid of clutter and embrace the minimalist movement.  And I nearly laughed out loud.  I didn’t even read the post.  I knew it wasn’t for me. I’m all for simple. I consider myself a pretty simple person.  I am content to be at home.  I don’t need fancy things.  I am satisfied pretty easily and simply being in the company of those I love.  My favorite things include reading, eating, sleeping and gaming (as in board and tabletop role-playing games).  Pretty simple.  My life is busy, yes, but that’s how life with two small children is.  However, having two small children means that clutter can run rampant in my house.  And boy does it!

This made me laugh out loud. Are your kids euphoric like mine are? 😀

Right now I’m sitting on our dining room couch.  A cushion down from me is a finger puppet, a snack cup, a Mickey RV, a car with a figurine in it and a dishtowel that was used to wrap an ice pack in for a bumped head.  I won’t tell you what I see under and on my kitchen table or under and on the end table beside me or on the bar countertop area or on the kitchen floor.  And that’s just the stuff I can see. Am I a bad housekeeper?  Maybe.  But, the fact of the matter is I am home all day every day with two small children.  Is that an excuse?  Yes.  I completely own up to that.  However, that doesn’t mean I don’t try.  I do.  There are times the house is better than others.  The better I feel, the more I can do.  Things get out of whack when my bladder flares or the kids get sick or I get sick or whatever.  It’s just the phase of life we’re in and it happens.

I see blog post after blog post encouraging moms to have organized homes and clean homes and magazine perfect homes.  I see posts telling me how it’s my job as a housewife and mother to do these things for my family.  I see posts with photos allegedly showcasing messy houses with kids (Puh-lease!  Two toys on the living room floor do not a messy house make!).  I see posts telling me that if I can make my house be clean and clutter-free for a party or when I know company is coming then I can do it all the time if I just put my mind to it and stopped being lazy.

Sometimes I start to feel guilty or ashamed because I ought to be able to do all of those things and still have time to play with my children and make every meal from scratch and attend to my husband and play with the dog and write lengthy blog posts and books and magazine articles and on and on it goes.  All I can do is laugh.  It’s not possible.  It’s just not.  There are times my house is going to be a mess.  There are times I’m going to choose to sit on my hind end and read a book after they go to bed because I am too tired to put away stray toys the toddler has lugged around the place.  Heck, I rolled over in bed last week and landed on top of a toy I had missed clearing out of the way before I climbed under the sheets.  The next night I went to sleep with a Batman figurine watching over me from my nightstand.  These things happen with small kids.  They happen with chronic pain issues.  They happen with life.  And it’s OK.

Should I strive to do better for my family?  Always.  But the definition of better varies.  Better doesn’t always mean a cleaner house or a more organized to-do list or a cute menu planning board.  Better is defined by each mama and what her version of that is.  My goal is to be the best I can be.  You be the best you can be.  Your version of better and my version are going to look different because we are different.  No one blog post can tell us what is the perfect balance for each of our individual lives and journeys.  We each have a story to tell and a journey that we’re on and none of us are identical.  So, we just have to do the best we can and not beat ourselves up for the things that fall through the cracks or aren’t exactly as we’d like them to be.

Could I be decluttering my house a bit right now instead of sitting on the couch writing this blog post?  Sure.  However, I can also tell you that I need to sit on this couch and rest because my bladder is flaring and if I don’t sit and rest while I can then I won’t be able to play with and make dinner for my children later and those things are way more important to me than clearing clutter.  I can also tell you that my son has taken to only sleeping with his bedroom door open so if I work too much around here and make too much noise, I am going to wake him up and all bets are off for getting anything done of any sort.

It’s a balance each and every day.  Heck, it’s a balance that can shift every hour of the day even.  And it’s OK. I have learned my limits.  I know what works and what doesn’t and I’m done beating myself up over it. Just like Elsa, I’m letting it go.  Join me!

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