Before I got pregnant cleaning was pretty easy. I usually kept a clean house and enjoyed having it that way. During my fourth through nine months, I had PGP (you can read about it here) and cleaning became very difficult. Yet, I still managed it for the most part. Then came the newborn stage and, minus the piles of laundry that sometimes accumulated, the house was still pretty tidy.
Then my son started walking… and I’ll be honest…I’m not sure my house will ever be clean for more than a few minutes again. He is a Curious George, Dennis the Mennis, and a Tasmanian Devil wrapped into one adorably cute 14 months old.
So here are 5 reasons you can be proud of a messy house.
1. You cooked dinner for the family.
Family dinners are SOOOO important. In fact, studies show that having at least four dinners a week together significantly helps your children avoid a slew of undesirable actions. They are so important that having a messy kitchen and table, as a result, is something you can look at and put your head up and say to yourself -or aloud-, “I’m pretty proud of my efforts to feed my family and spend quality time with them. If that mess is the result of such an important accomplishment, I am definitely proud of it.”
2. Instead of spending all day or even 3 full hours cleaning and scrubbing, you spent them playing with your kids.
I’ll probably never forget a blog post I read about how to clean up quickly before the company comes over. In the comments, one lady wrote, “It’s easy, I have kids and my house is always clean. Five words: Just KEEP your house clean!” Another lady replied, “Do you not ever take time to play with your kids? If so, how do you manage both?” And I truly wonder that too.
Unless you have a cleaning lady (which I’m not opposed to) or kids who are old enough and DO clean up after themselves, it’s pretty much impossible to be both parent and house cleaner 100% of the time. So next time you have finger paints smeared all over your table, or books all over the floor, look at the mess and be proud that you are a hands-on parent; you take time to make memories and even messes with your kids and they love you for it.
3. Family Vacations.
Yikes. On one hand, they are sooo fun but on the other hand, they are tons and tons of work. Not to mention the aftermath of catching up, getting back into the routine, unpacking, and cleaning up the car and house. Despite all of that, I can say without hesitation that as a kid I LOVED our family vacations! We all got to know each other better, experienced new things, got out of the monotony of daily life, and had a blast. If a mess is the result of bonding, having fun, and spending quality time together, you should surely be proud of it.
4. Company came to stay.
I just had visitors come from New Zealand. They are some of the most wonderful people I’ve met. It had been 10 years and we still were just so happy to see each other and visit. I didn’t have a huge mess as a result of their coming, I just didn’t have those days to do the day-to-day cleaning, laundry, etc. Well, the next few days while catching up I was happy because I got to spend such a wonderful couple of days with people I just adore. If you invite company over or take time off to make memories with friends, that’s a great reason to be proud of a messy home.
5. You’re Burnt Out.
Yes, you can even be proud of not cleaning simply because you are burnt out. What did you do to get burnt out? Was it learning, serving, helping, teaching, parenting, exercising, providing, etc.? Or perhaps you are just doing good to get through the day because you are sick, in pain, or have a chronic illness. Maybe it’s just that you’ve cleaned up the same area multiple times that day and can’t bring yourself to do it again.
My friend told me that, “Cleaning a house with little kids is like trying to shovel a sidewalk while it’s snowing.” If you are too tired to clean, take a rest, recharge your batteries, and don’t beat yourself up about it. Life is tough and beating yourself up for a messy house just makes it tougher.
While I prefer a clean house and enjoy living in one, when I realized that the mess we make while LIVING our lives was making my attitude worse, I thought up these 5 reasons.
Whenever you are tempted to look at a messy house in guilt or disgust, lift your head up high and be proud of the good you are doing rather than counting the messes that need cleaning.