I used to have an acquaintance who lived in a perfect house. It was neat. It was clean. It was decorated. It’s the kind of house you see in a magazine. It’s that neat.
Every time I saw this woman, she would tell me something that was wrong with my house. She made sure to tell me over and over that she didn’t think I was a slob or anything. And ya know, I hadn’t thought she did, until she said that over and over for 2 hours.
I slowly felt worse and worse about my house. I had never been a neat person. And I had been ok with that, until I met this woman. I started to let it build up in my head. I started to compare my house to hers. I started to compare my house to those on tv. Those on the pinterest. My house never looked like those houses. And I felt horrible.
I was under the mistaken impression that my house was messy, because I didn’t have time to clean it. I thought, if I didn’t work, I’d have time to clean my house. If I didn’t work, I’d have time to cook all of our meals. If I didn’t work, I’d have time to lead a girl scout troop. If I didn’t have scout outings every weekend, I’d have time to clean. If I didn’t have to travel to see family, I’d have time.
So, I quit my job. I suddenly had 6 hours a day to clean! I had big dreams. Big dreams of the perfect house. It would be neat. It would be beautifully decorated. It would be sparkling clean.
Boy was I in for a rude awakening. After a full year at home, my house was not neat. My house was not perfectly decorated. My house was not sparkling clean. And boy did I feel like a failure. I felt pretty bad about myself, but I said hey, you can’t catch up on 15 years of mess in one year. But after 2 years, my house still did not look like Better Homes and Gardens.
Now, halfway through the 3rd year, I have finally realized that my house will never be neat. There will always be books or crafts that I am working on in the living room. That’s where the comfortable furniture is. There will always be art projects on the dining room table, that’s where the big flat surface is.
My house will never be perfectly decorated and I love that. I love that my kids can tape their artwork to the wall with masking tape in the middle of the living room for everyone to see. It helps them see that I really appreciate their artwork. I like that the kids have chalkboard walls in their bedrooms so they can write on the walls. I think it gives them ownership of their own room. I love that we have a whiteboard in the dining room. Our house is functional, fun, and easy-going.
And yes, it is cleaner. Dishes and laundry get done every day. I can usually find the stove to make dinner. Everyone can usually find clean clothes to wear. Most of the rooms are painted. I’ve got daily and weekly routines in place. We can usually walk through the house, and it’s usually company ready.
But ya know what? We are busy people. I run a Girl Scout Troop. I help out with a Cub Scout Pack. I run a FLLjr team. My husband is heavily involved in Boy Scouts. We camp. We ski. We travel. Sometimes, we get back late at night and suitcases get dumped in the entryway. Sometimes, it takes a week to catch up on laundry or groceries after a 3 week trip. Sometimes, I’m so busy running errands for scouts that I don’t get the house clean.
And what I’ve learned, is that travel is important to us. Adventure is important to us. Fun is important to us. A house that is under control helps me feel less stressed and more productive. So, I just follow my routines and accept where the house is at.