I love my messy house, and you should love yours too

Sometimes when I’m sitting and waiting for one or both of the kids to finish eating lunch (which let’s be honest- takes FOREVER) I think about how things have changed over the past 5 or so years. I think about how much I have learned when it comes to children, raising them, feeding them, generally not fucking them up. I could also think about how much left I have to learn still and how much improvement I could make- but that would just be depressing so instead I think about the positive.

I vividly remember not getting any sleep for MONTHS and beginning to believe that people who said they had “happy” babies were LIARS- and all of the screaming and not sleeping and being home alone with a baby when I had zero experience- but I still had to do it and take care of the household stressing me out to the point of tears by the time Thomas got home from work some days.
Rarely did I ever get anything done around the house; no dishes, no vacuuming or laundry. There were even weeks at a time where I would go without eating a single thing until dinner time because I just couldn’t figure out how to put Holden down without him screaming- and I always felt guilty for that.

There I was, the stay at home mom- the “homemaker”- and I wasn’t making the home. I wasn’t doing any of the things I thought I should be able to get done in a 9 hour span, or that I assumed I should have been doing- and I felt guilty. I don’t want to say I felt like a failure- but I did feel I wasn’t living up to my obligations. My “job,” so to speak.
I carried that around (as well as Holden) for a long time. It’s lucky for Thomas that he’s a wise enough man only to make the “what the hell are you DOING all day?” comment once before realizing the error of his ways. I like to think it’s because he realized just how hard running a household and raising a child was- but it’s likely that I threatened his life and he was afraid to utter any similar phrase ever again.

On any occasion where guests would be entering our home- I felt embarrassed.

No corner of this house or any house I have lived in since children entered it is untouched by children. Everywhere you look, you can tell little kids live here. There is absolutely no hiding it. There are toys and crayons and of course the random deadly Lego. There might be a lonely sock, a misplaced shoe, a piece of plastic food or a magnet in the shape of a letter or number strewn about the floor.
I used to hate it. It used to annoy me SO much that my house was NEVER really “clean” even if I just cleaned it. Every mess I cleaned was immediately followed by another mess being created and I could never just catch up. I could never have a floor free of toys or socks or shoes.

What would people think? Would they think I was lazy? Would they think I never cleaned or that we just live in mess and squalor? Would they think our house should be picked up? Would theirs be?

Over time I learned to love the mess- as much as it still annoys me- I love it. I don’t care if people think I didn’t clean enough, or pick up enough, or get after my kids all the time to clean up every toy or sock that gets tossed about. Why?
This house won’t have little kids making messes in it forever- childhood flashes past us so quickly that sometimes we don’t even notice it’s over until it’s already passed- and when I look back at any place we lived in- I don’t want these homes to have just been LIVED in. I want it to look back at them and say we had LOVE in these houses- these HOMES; and love is more important than always having an empty sink or clean floors.

Posted on February 26, 2013 by Holdin' Holden 9 Comments
Holdin' Holden

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  • You are so right! Im struggling with this too at the moment, I really needed this to realize its ok to not be perfect all the time. Thank you

  • Very beautifully written! I am not a mom, but I am an aunt of 9 plus 5 greats and throw in 2 step grandchildren and I could maybe earn the degree of honorary mother by choice. I love them! Kids make my world go ’round and you have exactly the right sentiment here.

  • I have raised 4 children, and my house was always clean. Not saying it was spotless, but I was never in danger of Child Protective Services being called in, or had cock roaches climbing the walls. When I visited with other families, you could tell at a glance which homes were nothing more than showrooms. The children were scared to be children, they didn’t know how to have fun, and the house just felt cold. However, when you went to my home, the kids had clean clothes on (well-you could at least tell they had been recently washed). The kids ran around, being kids. They spilled their drinks, left crumbs everywhere (thankfully, we had a canine vacuum cleaner). My wife and I shared some of the household duties. No-my house wasn’t always clean as in spotless, but it was always a welcoming invitation for visitors to be comfortable! You are doing it right! Love them kids! They grow up too fast as it is.

  • I too have a baby who refused to be put down and I so struggled with this! I also came to the conclusion that I have to have a clean home to keep my mind straight. Toys don’t bother me, but I don’t feel settled if my house isn’t cleaned regularly. What changed for me, is humbling myself to ask for help. Sometimes I have to clean our bedroom and tell my husband to go hang out with the baby in there while I do the rest or I have to ask my inlaws to come play with him while I clean. This sounds simple enough but it was hard. As a stay at home mom somehow you think you should just be able to do it ALL and you have to let things go or ask for help.

  • Houses are made to be lived in! ..im considering getting one of the ‘it was clean yesterday’ house signs instrad of a number.

  • A messy house shows that someone lives there. My mom always said that is the sign of a happy home.

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  • Maybe it’s because I’m enjoying my last two days of maternity leave before I have to leave my two little ones, but this just made me cry. It’s so true: they aren’t little long, and although its tough to remember at times, one day i’ll look back and smile at the Lego bruises. I love my messy house too!

  • I am a mostly single mother (just me and my daughter) but I also take in kids so I can stay at home with her. I have a roommate… she has three daughters, one who is diabetic (6) full time and the other two (9 and 11) every other week. She actually signed the daycare over to me so she could a job… now I help her with her diabetic girl. Being that SHE started the daycare, and knows that one of my motgjers just
    ot off
    maternity leave and I now have an infant, my 14 month old and two four year olds as well her diabetic girl before and after school and on the many sick days…. you would think she would be more understanding. Bit if she gets home and starts cleaning I just feel GUILTY, even though I will ALWAYS get to my mess. Even with her own chaos with her three girls she tries to make as though kids dont live here but they do! And it is OKAY for there to be a mess occasionally, especially if it means i get to enjoy some down time and a glass or eight of wine.


  • I told this saying to my grandma many years ago and she said no such thing existed. I need to better judge my time.