Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Let's get real.

My niece shared a link to a blog entitled "We can't be friends" the other day. In it, the author posted a picture of her living room generously adorned with kids' toys, puzzles, cards, blankets, boxes, laundry - and two adorably mop-headed children. She writes,
See that picture above?

That's my life. 90% of the time - that beautiful mess is my life. Despite my best efforts, it is crazy, chaotic and absolutely unorganized.

I like you. I think you are sweet, and fun to hang out with. But let me give it to you straight. If I have to clean for three hours before you come over…

We can’t be friends. We just can’t.

Most of the pictures I post on this blog show a clean, tidy home. Let me tell you right now, the vast majority of those pictures have been "staged." That's right. I do a quick little cleaning spree before I get my camera. And I focus in on the parts that look pretty. (A shallow depth of field hides a multitude of woes!)

Not quite finished laying the table for Thanksgiving in 2012
Because, like everyone else, I want my best side to be public.

Here's what my personal space looks like right now.

From left to right:
  • tea mug
  • dog kibble (for training)
  • glass of water
  • sweatshirt from yesterday
  • throw pillow on the wrong chair
  • envelope with $25 iTunes gift card, to be delivered to winner
  • camera (under the tea towel; you can also see the strap)
  • tea towel for wiping Kane's occasional slobber
  • grocery receipt (why?)
  • clipboard with homework for the ON-BPD website (procrastinating)
  • comics from Saturday's paper
In that whole mess, only the first three things should be where they are. Even the tea towel is supposed to be on my lap.

If I looked broader afield, you would see dust bunnies (Thanks, Kane.), dog toys, and slippers. If I took you into the kitchen you would see a room that is used by a family of six -- all of whom know how to work an oven and a stove but very few know how to use a dishcloth.

It would probably take only 15 minutes to scramble to make the place "guest ready," but I want you to know that if you showed up at my door right now, I would be happy to invite you in and offer you a cup of tea.

Because this is a home, not a museum. In my fantasies, I have a full-time maid who cleans the house top to bottom every day and preps the ingredients for a nutritious gourmet dinner.

I do clean my house, because I find a tidy home relaxing. And I hire cleaners to really do a thorough job every two weeks. But life happens.

I'd love you to stop by, but please don't be surprised if I have to move a pile of junk out of the way so you can find a seat. If that bothers you, I'm sorry for you. I don't have a problem.

(Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go tidy that mess on the couch because now that I'm aware of it, it's really bugging me!)


  1. A love a tidy house also but on most days that is not the case. I lived in a very messy home growing up and when things get too far out of order I find myself becoming anxious. Housework was not a priority of my mother's but her sense of adventure was. Thankfully, the older I become, what is important comes into a clearer perspective. P.S. Don't eat the kibble by accident :-)

    1. I grew up in a dreadfully messy house, too, and my mother panicked to clean it whenever we had guests. I think it really is a question of finding balance -- and not feeling apologetic if our house looks "normal."

  2. That is fantastic. Today, I leaned to put the dog's collar on and was so disgusted by the dirt, I had to stop and sweep the floor. I'm glad you came into my house when it was a disaster so you can be SO impressed when you come to the new house and it's spotless. (It will all be hidden in a closet)

  3. Wynn Anne, your house on a bad day is still a rough approximation of mine on a good day... and I don't have the excuse of four kids! I really don't have the discipline to keep the house perfect, there are so many projects that interest me far more-- plus it's just so frustrating to be constantly cleaning up after a husband who's truly happy to live in an absolute pigsty. But yes, I'd rather see a (real) friend with a messy house than never socialize. (If they object, they can come clean it themselves....)

    1. I don't think you've seen my house on a bad day. ;)


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