The sign in the trinket shop says it all: “A clean house is the sign of a wasted life.” You know exactly what it means, too. You know you should be more concerned living and experiencing and enjoying life with your family instead of scrubbing the tub to hospital sterilization levels. You know that the time you spend with your kids, engaging with their cute faces and thirsty minds, is more important than when the last time the windows were washed.
How often do you joke about that motto — then immediately head for the cleaning cabinet to clean something? But the house looks so good when it’s clean, you say. Yeah, it does, but only you will notice if the rug is slightly askew and the vacuum left a single dog hair on the couch. Cut yourself some slack and practice what you preach. Back away from the spray cleaner, embrace your imperfect house and go play with your kids.
Kill yourself for cleaning?
Yeah, we’d all like perfectly clean houses, but real people live in our houses — people who live real and sometimes messy lives. We’re busy and only getting busier. If you sacrifice sleep for cleaning in an ongoing effort for a perfect looking house, or sacrifice ritual bedtime reading so you can do the scrub the kitchen floor, take a step back. A giant one. Do you really want one of your kids’ primary childhood memories to be one of you cleaning, cleaning, cleaning?
Not the end of the world
A less than pristine house is not the end of the world. Truly, it’s not. Not having dusted in a couple of weeks does not equate living in squalor! You and your family will more than survive minor messes and bits of clutter. You’ll even survive that little bit of toothpaste residue left on the sink drain as you run out the door, late for soccer practice. Having in imperfectly clean house is okay.
Your mother-in-law shouldn’t be looking there
Anyone who comes into your house and criticizes your cleanliness in any way shouldn’t. And if they do, their issue isn’t really about cleanliness at all — that person has some other issue that has nothing to do with you or the last time you wiped down the baseboards. Next time someone makes a comment, go get the spray cleaner and a sponge and say, “If you’re so concerned about it, feel free to do it yourself.” Okay, so maybe that’s not the most constructive way to deal with the issue, but sure would be fun to say it.
Take care of the basics, the rest can wait
As long as you’re not living in filth and there is some basic home maintenance happening, prioritize your family over the mopping. There are plenty of methods and systems out there for getting the basics of house cleaning done amid a busy schedule, if you need them, and you can schedule occasional whole family big cleanings to get the big jobs done. But on a day-to-day basis? Accept your household imperfection. And go play with your kids.