Do you avoid inviting people over to your home because you’re afraid you can’t get the house clean enough before they come over?
Do you often suggest meeting elsewhere because you’re too exhausted to imagine cleaning before someone comes over? Then too, the idea of getting the kids out and ready to go is too exhausting to follow through?
During the past five years, it feels like I’ve always had a child who doesn’t sleep through the night, so I’ve been battling chronically broken sleep, which in turn affects my housework. The pile of dishes from breakfast isn’t always picked up right away, and the toys strewn around the room are ignored sometimes for days. The idea of having people over, used to lead to a lot of stress.
What will they think if they see the toothpaste splatters on the mirror? What will they think when they see the books stacked on the bookshelf, instead of neatly put away? What will they think about my end table stacked with books and knitting projects?
If someone judges me based on any of these things, they aren’t the type of friends I want in my life anyway. I would want a friend who understands that reading to my kids is more important to me than cleaning up toothpaste splatters from the mirror. Watching my kids dance to their own song is more important that putting each book back in its exact place. And finding the exact right furniture in order to hide my hobbies from everyone’s view is pretty low on our budget list.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have moldy dishes in our bedrooms or poop smears on our bathroom walls. There’s a difference between messy and dirty. I’m not going to hide my daily mess from friends if it stresses me out and causes me to isolate myself. Being part of the ummah is more important. Having support from friends and family is more important. My kids building friendships are more important.
I have not given up on trying to keep my home clean and tidy. I still apologize for the mess when people come over, even if I spent the last day and a half cleaning up. But I’m going to let people come in, rather than shutting them out until I’m in a season in life where it’s easier to stay caught up on dishes, laundry, toys, and random socks thrown around the house.