messy

To The Moms With A Clean House

I find myself looking around my house on any given day and all I see is a mess.  I mean, usually I’m able to keep the carpet vacuumed and there’s no dust building up on the TV (just don’t look BEHIND it.) But I’m sitting right now on my couch and the coffee table has multiple empty plastic cups, a couple books, handful of bobby pins, a camp photo, three packets of garden seeds, some scented markers, stack of twenty five unredeemed token cards for Space Aliens, a terminator movie model head, a bag of colorful popcorn, an empty juice box, and a box of US History flashcards. And that’s just one table. And only whats on TOP of it.  Not on the shelf under it. Or on the floor under that. Seriously, it feels like my house is ALWAYS like this.  But not on purpose that’s for sure.

My messy house if you come in unannounced.
Note the folded laundry, my hubby folded it all, he was in the midst of putting it away when I snapped the picture, you know, to really emphasize the mess that I see (and to add irony to my statement about laundry in the living room.)

Throughout the day both myself and the kids (and hubby when he gets off work) go through and straighten up. In the mornings we always do a run through the house before we can go anywhere. When we leave, the house is usually very clean and fit for visitors (perhaps not clean enough for if my parents visit, but pretty much anyone else.) I hate leaving the house messy. It makes my husband crazy when he offers to take us out for dinner but I have to clean up for 15 minutes first.

When I was 12 we had a house fire that destroyed our home and all my mom could talk about was how embarrassed she was that the firefighters saw a basket of unfolded clean laundry in the living room, because she also NEVER left the house messy (except that one day, apparently, as the fire started when we weren’t home, thank goodness.) So to this day, before I can leave my house to go anywhere, I straighten up the living room, foyer, and make sure dishes are done. Heaven forbid if a firefighter has to see dishes in my sink!

With my work as a doula & a photographer, I do a lot of home visits. Most of these families have several children, often the same age range as mine. And it blows my freaking mind. I walk in and they always, always have a spotless home.  For those that are not completely spotless, the couple things out are clearly incidental to me stopping by (like the kids were in the middle of a snack just before I arrived so there’s a single peanut butter smeared knife in the sink.) My question is, how the hell do you do it?

clean house
Living room of Amie, Area Coach for MOPS International, during an unannounced visit to her home in St. Cloud, MN.

Seriously, I maintain my home intentionally several times per day bellowing at my children to straighten the shoes or fix the pillows on the couch. Yet somehow at the end of the day I still have granola bar wrappers not in the garbage and tennis shoes in the living room. I only have one other mom friend that I know who has the same problem as me (perhaps my other friends just hide it better.) But that friend has five kids (four under 9) and a sixth baby on the way so I feel like she has a better excuse than I do for a less-than-perfectly-cleaned home.

clean house
Living room of Jill (FargoDoula.com) after an unannounced visit to her home in Fargo, ND.

Initially I thought the reason my house looks so insanely manic is because I am a super busy mom. I mean, I run a business, volunteer, and have two kids that are very active in competitive sports.  Clearly, moms with clean houses must not have any hobbies. However, I’m not sure I can claim that either.

Examples from the pictures above.  Amie has multiple MOPS activities that she leads each week in addition to her administrative tasks, her kids are in activities too (albeit not quite as much as mine), and she is extremely active in her church.  But, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have all the hobbies I have, and her kids do go to school during the day, so clearly its a homeschool mom problem, right?  Nope.  Enter Jill, also home educates like me, but instead to FOUR children versus just my two. She also owns a busy business, leads La Leche League meetings, and also very active in church. She, however, is self-admittedly not as crafty as me, perhaps that’s my issue? I’m just too crafty.

Obviously I am clueless as to why my home is always a shambles or I’d fix the problem.  I don’t think its a matter of organizing things because everything does have a place to be if it could just get there and stay there. I also am not sure that its entirely a problem with too much “stuff” (although I reserve the right to exclude my craft room from that statement.)

So tell me, for you moms with a perfectly cleaned house, how do you do it?!  Does everyone call MS.Simplicity to come over and help them organize and declutter then invest in Clever Container products so that nothing is ever out of place? I did have her help me organize my car a couple years ago.  Pathetic, right?  But I use my car for business visits and clients can see inside it when I go to their house, so in reality, its like my office.

WAIT! Its suddenly clear to me now.  My problem is I don’t have a big picture window in my living room.  See?  Both of my examples above have big windows and I don’t.  Thats GOT to be why I can’t keep my house clean.

Brandi is a childbirth educator and birth doula living in West Fargo, ND. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, knitting and filling up her craft room with new projects when she isn’t helping families create their birth experience. You can find her actively posting on Facebook & Instagram. #dayspringdoula