Friday, May 04, 2012

The first in a series: Getting It Off My Chest

One of the other things I've been wanting to do with my blog is to put some honest opinions out there without worrying that people are going to flame me or be pissed off. So here is my first rant in a series called Getting It Off My Chest.

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:



House01

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.

28 comments:

Beth said...

Oh my goodness--you are singing Ed's song!!! I'm terribly, horribly messy. And it leads to a LOT of friction in my marriage. Ed is our cleaner-upper. Our put-awayer. And the kids absolutely MUST pick up their toys when they're done playing (usually at the end of the day). We also make them put dirty laundry in the laundry baskets and they now bring their dishes to the kitchen when they're done eating. I LOVE that Ed is so neat because he is teaching the boys how to pick up after themselves. At night, Seth often plays with toys in William's room while William reads to me. William insists that these toys be put away before he goes to bed. It's pretty funny. Anyway, I try very hard to meet Ed in the middle, and thanks to him, I now really dislike clutter. I let things sit longer than he is often comfortable with, but sooner, rather than later (to me, anyway), I sort through and organize and discard. So keep singing it, Sister! Be anal-rententive--I mean NEAT!--and be proud! (And feel really, really good that you are raising boys who will not piss off their wives and expect to be cleaned up after!)

Michelle B said...

It's funny... I did just write a post this week about not cleaning... not because I'd rather be playing with my kids or find that more important but simply because it isn't on my list of priorities. Makes me realize I also should have said I don't judge people on the cleanliness of their house - rather, I just hope they are doing what makes them happy - which clearly you are :) Thanks for sharing your clean house with us - just as fun as seeing a messy one ;)

Irene said...

I have to have the house cleaned up in the morning after the kids leave for daycare and at night after they go to bed. Matt thinks I'm nuts but a clean house helps clear my mind, and conversely, cluttered house makes it hard for me to focus. I think it sets a good example for the kids too.

Joanna said...

My house is always messy and it drives me crazy. We just have too much stuff that doesn't have a place. We really need a bigger house with more storage space. Of course, it would also help if I wasn't lazy.

I think Irene hit upon something that is really import to me and explains why I always have a neat desk. I cannot work in clutter. It's distracting.

Jodi said...

This.Is.Why.We.Are.Friends.

We are picked up and presentable and I am proud of it. Sure some thing it's crazy - I don't give a rats ass either - for me, it's calming and I feel responsible to keep it nice! After all we've worked our ASSES off to have a nice home with (some) nice things - I ain't afraid to say that or be happy and pleased to show it off!

I LIKE THIS SERIES! :)

The Anonymous Platypus said...

anyone who judges your neat house is clearly jealous. as i am. but I am not judging you, just me and my laziness, which is what it is in my case. and my small old house. but mostly laziness :)

babywithatwist said...

Note to self: never tell Laura her house is neat though if I did say it, it would be with admiration and envy. Our house is so messy right now, and it's driving us crazy. I have friends who always commented on how neat our house was when they came over, and I thought that was odd b/c wouldn't I clean up for guests?

Janna said...

OMG Laura! Love it!

Your house is gorgeous! Also, it looks like you switched from red pillows to blue on your couch which is BLOWING MY MIND because I switched from red to blue in the living room about 6 months ago! :)

I get comments every time someone comes to my house and at first it bothered me so much that I considered leaving out some mail or something to make the house look less clean. Then I realized that was silly and I love my house just how it is and I'm not ashamed of it. That stupid sign on pinterest that says something like, "Good moms have sticky floors, dirty ovens and happy children." can bite me.

Cheers!

Kim said...

Amen!

Janna said...

Oh, also, do we get to see more pics of your house? I love seeing people's houses!

Libby said...

Love it! I wish we could keep our house like that.

Beth said...

I love your new series. And I think it's great that you keep your house neat and involve the boys.

I just feel better when I have less clutter around, so I do try to stay on top of picking up. We definitely have piles here and there that need more attention, but after a couple of days, they have to go too!

And don't ever feel you have to explain or apologize, esp. about a house cleaner. It's really no one else's business.

And I'm sorry to hear about Jon's back; that must be very hard for him.

Lesley Barr Photography said...

Girl, I don't want to judge your nice, clean house, I just want to live in it. =)

thellfamily said...

This is so interesting Laura! Because I do NOT have a neat home, but I would LOVE to have a living room like yours. But my kids are horrendous at picking up after themselves, and I get tired of nagging, and then they go to bed and I have work to do and I want a little bit of me time and neatening up goes to the bottom of the priority list. But if I walked into your house, I very likely would say something like, "wow, your house is SO NEAT" I can't even believe you have kids. But mostly it would be because of my own feelings of inadequacy and jealousy and the fact that every time I walk through my front door I think, bleh! How did we let it get to this? And not that I was actually judging you. But of course, you'd not know that unless I told you...

Marcia (123 blog) said...

I love this post!

I don't know why you feel bad though - I revel in my clean and uncluttered house :)

And like you, I rope the kids into the tidying up.

PS I second Janna - when are we getting the grand tour?

Karen said...

I think that most people who would say something about your neat house probably wish that their house was that neat (myself included). I do think that once you get your house to a certain point and have a system in place, it takes less time to keep it that way because everything has a place to be.

It definitely helps that both you and Jon like for the house to be neat. Todd and I are both people who tend to leave clutter around, which doesn't help matters.

Jamie said...

Agreed. I feel the exact same way! Loved this post!

erinlaughs said...

You know how I feel about this one! I am a more calm person when my house is clean, and no that doesn't mean I'm neglecting my children! In fact my kids prefer it to be clean as well.

DCAngel said...

Do you really think people are judging you negatively for this? Because if I went to your house, I would say, "Holy crap! It doesn't look like kids live here!" And I would be saying that with supreme envy and longing and respect!

Damn woman, I wish my house looked like that all the time. I, too, have bi-weekly cleaners to save my marriage, and while I try to do the upkeep, my husband, the king of clutter, makes it nearly impossible.

At any rate, you've definitely got my respect for getting everyone on the same page!

JenFen said...

I keep my house clean, uncluttered and neat because it makes me happy. Like Irene mentioned, I cannot focus if the house is messy or cluttered. But I don't like it when people make assumptions that I keep my house that way at the expense of quality time with the family, which I don't or that I don't let the kids be kids because I feel I do. They just know to pick after themselves before moving on to another activity or before bed. And having tons of bins and a place for everything is immensely helpful.

GREAT POST!!!!

Angel and Jonathan said...

You should be proud your house is so neat! Kudos to you for teaching your boys to pick up after themselves and setting a good example. Anyone who judges you for having a neat house is just jealous.

Jen W said...

I can't believe anyone would be all judgey about your house being too neat. My house is the exact opposite and it drives me freaking nuts. I wish that I had the skills/genes/sticktoitiveness to keep my house neat and tidy but I just can't seem to get it all figured out. It makes me feel like I am lazy and disorganized and a lousy mom/wife/human being. And yes, I totally put photos of my own family and home out there on the internet and I am *sure* people are being all judgey about my put of despair! :)

Brandy said...

High fuckin fives my friend. When we came by Thursday, really kinda last minute, I knew you were spectacular. It looked like this picture. Gorgeous and out of a catalog.

I wrote about the kid thing before. And ya know what, seeing a living room of plastic toys and blocks on the floor makes my skin crawl. I know it is for some people but I can't imagine. We don't have a playroom so we have to make it all work in one giant open floor plan.

From our recent stint on the market, we realized keepi g things organized and neat didn't take a ton of time. I am reorganizing some things right now and this place is making me bonkers. I want to pick it all up right now but I also know if I don't sit down, my feet will be the size of my head by tonight. Stupid pregnancy.

Anandi Raman Creath said...

Wow, I aspire to that level of unclutteredness, though we are slowly but surely getting rid of a lot of stuff.

For me, I get very twitchy when there's clutter or dirt visible. I couldn't give a rats ass if someone else "judges" the condition of my house - I'm the one who has to live there.

I think that argument about not spending time with kids is the same crappy argument people use against moms (it's never dads, right?) who choose to work outside the home.

I say, f'em. :)

Mel said...

Ditto everything you said. I could have written this post. We also have every other week maid service. I have trained the kids from an early age to keep things picked up. Now they know that they are to put their toys away before playing with something else. People have come over and been impressed that my girls pick up without being told to do so. I just feel much more relaxed in a tidy area than a messy one. Yes, I do have some OCD personality, but my kids do not suffer over it. We have a happy, fun, NEAT home. NEAT FREAKS UNITE!

Miche said...

I have thought of you each morning and night since you wrote this post.

Every morning and every night I tidy up the entire house.

It makes me feel a little OCD but it also makes me feel sane.

Way to go!

Tanika Davis said...

I can't believe people would judge you for that beautiful room. I WANT that beautiful room! My house never looks like that, because my house is way too small for all of us and all our stuff, and I am a horrible housekeeper and a million other reasons. But I never think that people are bad parents because their houses are clean. I actually feel jealous because I think they are BETTER parents. That's why I look to you for tips as to how my house can look like yours one day! So, thanks for posting. We all can learn from one another in different ways. I teach you about Kinky Curly; you teach me how to store toys in coffee tables. Win-Win!
P.S. People who judge parents for (just about) anything can suck it.

Fawnsy said...

I WANT TO BE LIKE YOU!!!!!
I try.. but I give up! I will keep trying!
Sarah