In numerous studies, mums list a messy home as their number one cause of stress. To be honest, I find this reassuring because it’s definitely up there with my top concerns. Obviously, your family’s health and happiness are priority number one; but in terms of daily things that irritate the hell out of us, untidiness is numero uno.
For us mums, the thought of an unexpected visitor knocking on the door is the stuff of nightmares. The thing is that during lockdown we knew no one would stop by unannounced, so we relaxed the rules. However, now the nightmares are back and rather than a "Beware of the Dog" sign, a "Beware of the Disaster Zone" would be more appropriate. Here are four ways to switch up our thinking so we don’t get preoccupied with a permanently untidy house.
It’s A Mum Thing…
Can you imagine a dad worrying that he’ll be judged if the house is a tip when his mates come round to watch a match? No doubt there may be some that feel this way, but I guarantee it’s much less common. While most dads pull their weight when it comes to chores, they just don’t fret about an untidy house as much.
Don’t Feel Guilty If You Need Help
Keeping the house spick and span when you have kids is virtually impossible. So, if you can afford to, don’t feel guilty about hiring a cleaner. I consider having a cleaner coming once a fortnight as a luxury and I would happily sacrifice a Saturday night takeaway or a new pair of shoes in order to have my house looking spotless (for a few minutes at least). Anything that helps us mums feel less stressed is worth considering.
You’re Your Own Worst Critic
When you pop around to your mum friend for a cup of tea, do you criticise them if there are toys all over the floor and dirty dishes in the sink? I’m guessing the answer is no. We know how hard parenting is first-hand, so we can sympathise with other people when they say they can’t keep on top of everything. The bigger question is why we can’t be more understanding with ourselves. As the saying goes, "you’re your own worst critic".
One Day We’ll Crave The Chaos Again
While a messy house can seem infuriating in the heat of the moment, in a week, a month or a year’s time are we going to look back and regret not trying harder to keep it clean and tidy? Or are we going to look back and think that we should have worried about it less? Children grow up incredibly fast, and once they’re in their late teens or early twenties they’ll have flown the roost (touch wood). At that point are we going to be grateful that we can go back to having an immaculate house, or are we going to crave the chaos of an untidy house again? I expect it’ll be the latter.
I’m always going to enjoy decluttering as I love the idea of being surrounded by stuff that sparks joy. However, when it comes to trying to keep all the toys tidy or get to the bottom of the laundry basket, I’m going to accept defeat. Life is for living, not tidying.