An Un-Apology for My Clean House

I’m just a good housekeeper. Why is it that when someone compliments the cleanliness or décor of my house, my instant reaction is to make excuses that undermine myself as a housekeeper?

I am an amazing housekeeper. And I feel terrible about it. 

The moment people enter my home, I prepare myself with responses to the wide eyes and compliments that will surely come, in my own mind, tinged with judgement and bitterness: “Oh, you should have seen it 20 minutes ago!” or “We have company coming tomorrow; that’s the only reason it looks this good!” Those are lies. My house always looks good when people come over. 

The floors are almost always mopped. I have very minimal—if any—toys out for visiting kids to play with. I love when company walks into my home and I know that what they smell is lemon oil on the furniture and fresh coffee brewing, rather than pee-soaked panties, diaper cream, and this morning’s leftovers soaking in the sink. 

I’m just a good housekeeper. Why is it that when someone compliments the cleanliness or décor of my house, my instant reaction is to make excuses that undermine myself as a housekeeper? There has been a new movement in our culture surfacing that I like to call “The Bad Moms Society,” and it’s actually a pretty cool movement.

Rather than putting on our Stepford aprons and serving our families three-course meals, moms are now allowed to advertise messy houses, processed food lunches, lack of showering, and an every-night staple glass of wine (or three). All of this is amazing. I love that women can be real. I love that there is this huge push to take down the filters of perfection and guilt and instead we can revel in the freedom that is modern parenting. We aren’t perfect, and now we don’t have to be!

As is typical in a pendulum swing, however, I am starting to believe that as a society, we have swung too far the other way. Surely I am not the only one who feels guilty when people compliment my ability to keep one aspect of my life together. I assume that people will immediately think I’m being fake if I don’t put the disclaimer in front of my clean counters and floors, even though it’s not fake! 

My house is almost always clean and tidy. It’s just who I am as a person. It helps me to enjoy my home and focus on enjoying my family, rather than the pile of to-do lists lying around every other aspect of my homemaking, and I assure you, the piles are many. My house is clean, but I am also almost always behind on the laundry. I cook a fully planned meal with entrée, salad, and side probably twice a week (okay, maybe once.) I cannot grow a vegetable to save my life. I rarely cook with fresh herbs unless they come in a pre-packaged meal plan from the store. The fresh flowers that grace my table centerpieces on particularly sunny days were absolutely purchased from the supermarket and not picked from a garden lovingly tend to.

The “Bad Mom Society” glorifies and honors the parts of motherhood that we aren’t great at. It celebrates failures and shortcomings, and while this is good in moderation, perhaps instead we could start praising each other (and ourselves) for the aspects in which we excel. The root of judgement and mom-guilt is simply insecurity. When we can recognize that in ourselves, we will start to see others with the same grace and substance. 

I think we need to remember that it’s okay to be good at things, too. It’s okay to take pride in your home. You don’t have to defend the reasons you homeschool, or why you choose organic food at the Farmers’ Market, or how you have the self-discipline to put make up on every day. 

At the end of it all, we are all just trying to be the best we can be, and just as there is no shame in not meeting the “perfect” standards of mom-ing, there is also no shame in meeting them! Enjoy a clean house. Enjoy a fresh meal, or a good workout. Take pride in the efforts you take to feel your self-worth to the fullest! You are good at what you do. Welcome to the “Good Mom Society!” 

Cheers to my clean house, ladies, and to your warm meals, craft projects, homeschool curriculums, and blow-dried hair. May we always remember that we are enough just by being exactly who we are and by taking pride in the things we love. Here’s to the good moms- all of us!