I have a secret, a clean little secret. My house is always picked up. Before I hosted all my May06 Babycenter friends in February, I had serious anxiety because my house always looks like this in all the rooms, NEAT:
Afterward as I talked to Jon about it, we both realized it is incredibly stupid to feel like we are going to be judged for keeping a neat house. But we do often feel like this. When people visit, they will say something about it being too neat and looking like kids don't live there. Then there are TONS of posts on the internet where people show their messy houses and then say something like, "I think it is more important to spend time with my family than worry about a clean house." And that's where I get super pissed off.
I don't keep my house neat at the sake of time with my children. I don't run around picking up instead of sitting down with my kids - we either involve them, one spouse does it while the other puts the kids to bed, or we do it after they go to bed. My children are involved in picking up their possessions every day, cleaning up the kitchen, taking out recycling, and putting away their laundry because they are old enough for these responsibilities.
Before anyone says it - yes we have a house cleaner come every other week. That is for our marriage. Jon had back surgery at an early age (so he can't bend to clean toilets and showers) and he travels. I'm not supermom so we make budget decisions to make sure we can pay someone to clean the house.
However we still have to maintain and it's really not that hard. We clean up the kitchen every day or else we would run out of dishes since Jon and I both work from home. We do laundry frequently because we don't buy a ton of clothing. We also have organization systems in every room so that every item in our house has a place it lives. That coffee table? The drawer is full of the boys' toys as is the shelf under it. They play with it then put it away before bed.
I honestly don't care how other people keep their homes. Being neat is not for everyone. But please, don't say anything negative about my neat house or judge me for it. To me, it is my HOME that I care deeply about, and it is where our happy family memories are made.