Sorry for the mess … we live here: Why We Should Stop Cleaning So Well For Playdates

Are you afraid to invite your friends over for a playdate? This might explain why and what we can do do about it!

We’ve probably all heard someone say, “You’re home all day, your house should be spotless” or something similar? Ever heard a young SAHM mom say anything remotely close to that? … I didn’t think so. The fact that we are home all day with tiny tornadoes is exactly why our homes will NEVER be spotless. My house is the cleanest on days when we spend most of it out of the house at the zoo!

Last night I got a text from a dear friend who recently became a Stay At Home Mom. She wrote to me because she felt like she was failing. Most days she feels like she can barely keep it together, and wonders why she can’t be like all the other SAHMs whose homes are always spotless and make up is always fresh.

My heart just broke for her.

Are there moms, with children under 5 at home, who have perfect homes and perfect make-up? I don’t know, do unicorns exist? Maybe. But I’ve never met one.

Most of us do a mad dash the night before a playdate, try to get all of the main areas as clean as possible, throw everything else in a spare bedroom, wake up before dawn to get a shower, and pray that the kids don’t destroy the house before our mom friends arrive.

When our friends arrive, we immediately apologize for the mess. (Just in case one of them wanders into the guest room, or the back bathroom, or sees the 2 inches of dust somewhere that we overlooked.)

Ok, our bases are covered. Our house is pretty clean, but just in case we missed something, hopefully our friends won’t judge us too harshly because we’ve acknowledged we’re a total pig and apologized ahead of time.

Meanwhile, our friend is thinking: “This is a mess? Remind me NEVER to offer to host a playdate at my house. There’s no way my house will ever look this good.”

But somehow, she ends up feeling obligated at some point to host, so she stays up all night the night before trying to make her house as clean as ours . . . and the vicious cycle continues.

Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with wanting to be a good hostess, and making your home neat and enjoyable to be in when you have company. I have found that letting go and having less stuff has helped me keep my house in some semblance of order, and I’d like it to be that way more often.

But, I wonder what kind of freedom we could give each other if we left just a little bit of that mess before our friends came over?

Like maybe the toys. We’re having little kids over, right? We all know that play area is going to be a wreak 5 minutes after they show up. Why not leave the current toy mess so you’re friends know your house isn’t perfect either?

Or, if we’re going to stay up and clean, maybe we could work it into the conversation that our house was usually a train wreak and hubby helped us do a mad dash the night before?

Here’s the deal, I usually have piles of laundry and toys everywhere. I don’t remember the last time I mopped the kitchen floor, and sometimes I can’t remember the last time I had a shower.

In the words of Allyson from Mom’s Night Out, “This mom thing is crazy hard.” Give yourself, and others, lots and lots of grace!

Are you afraid to invite your friends over for a playdate? This might explain why and what we can do do about it: Why We Should Stop Cleaning So Well For Playdates

(What my kitchen often looks like)

Are you afraid to invite your friends over for a playdate? This might explain why and what we can do do about it: Why We Should Stop Cleaning So Well For Playdates

(What my kitchen looked the night before I hosted my first playdate, after hubby helped me whip things into shape)

So dear sweet moms who feel like you’re failing because your house is never as clean as your friend’s. Take heart. Their house probably isn’t usually that clean either.

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