Tidy houses are not a thing so stop it

by Janelle Hanchett

I have decided that anyone with kids who says their house is tidy and clean is lying. Their house is not clean. It’s a fucking disaster like mine.

Don’t tell me I’m wrong. I’m not wrong. THEY ARE LYING.

I don’t give a shit if they have photographic evidence on Instagram. You know they pushed all the crap out of the camera frame and stuck their kid against the wall in its slouchy cap and harem pants and posted it like it ain’t nothin.


My light may be dim but it ain’t that dim.

Or, I’m wrong. That happens. Been wrong at least 4 times so far this year.

But I have given this a lot of thought man, and I just don’t understand.

Last Friday morning I looked around and said to myself “What the actual fuck

If we don't do the dishes. AFTER ONE MEAL.

If we don’t do the dishes. AFTER ONE MEAL.

has happened to my kitchen, living room, bathroom, hallways OhFuckItEveryRoomInTheHouse?”

It’s like all 6 inhabitants of this house walk around spewing toys, paper and dust from their fingertips.

And clothes. Oh my god the clothes. I hate clothes.

So anyway, Friday morning: I make a list for the 3 older kids. They each have their jobs, and I have mine. 1.5 hours of cleaning. Rocket, Ava, Georgie and me. Mac is at work.

Whine. Tears. Rage. Whatever offspring.

This ain’t my first rodeo. Do the damn work.

Rocket takes 50 minutes to unload the dishwasher. This baffles me. I tell him “We’re going to the beach once this is done so maybeYouShouldHurryUp. Miraculously, he does his other 5 chores in 12 minutes.

Uncool, Rocket. Uncool.

Arlo's job here is to dump each pile onto the floor. Thank you, Arlo.

Arlo’s job here is to dump each pile onto the floor. Thank you, Arlo.

Georgia is 4 so her jobs require putting things in other things. For example, “Put the shoes in the shoe baskets.” Fortunately this is also a fun pastime for Arlo, though he more enjoys taking things OUT of things.

On Friday I watched Georgia load shoes into a basket while Arlo removed them from the other side of the same basket.

We are an efficient fucking machine.

But we managed to get it done.

The house is clean. Swept, mopped. Shit picked up. Vacuumed.

Full floor visibility. I feel like a domestic goddess. Where’s my motherfucking apron? Somebody bring your father a casserole.

I look around and feel good. I’m so capable. I can move mountains. Let’s move mountains!

Look at me walk on these wood floors without shit sticking to my feet! Oh glorious motherhood!

We go to the beach. We’re gone til 9pm. We wake up. We eat breakfast on Saturday. We leave for the entire day, get home at 8:30pm.


it's pretty much never better than this unless we have people coming over.

it’s pretty much never better than this unless we have people coming over.

It’s been 48 hours and it’s all gone. How is that even possible? We’ve only spent like 4 waking hours in the damn thing.


Then I curl up in the fetal position and weep and cry out unto the lord “No but seriously dude how the hell am I to survive in these conditions?”

In response I hear only the sound of the cat food overturning across the living room floor which Arlo will surely begin eating within 44 seconds. (What is it with babies and pet food?)

Sometimes I feel defeated. Not gonna lie. Like when I open the hall closet and see my husband has decided a good place for cockroach catchers we’ll never use (given to us by the exterminator) is in the basket with the sunscreen and goggles in the linen closet.

Or when I FINALLY remove the 396 garments that no longer fit the baby and organize his dresser drawers FINALLY and one of the older kids “puts away clothes” by shoving random piles diagonally across my beautiful rows until the drawers won’t close. AGAIN.

Sometimes my life feels like one missing shoe and drawers that won’t close.

Ya feel me?


I know. I know it’s not that big of a deal. And I know it’s “nice” that my kids attempt to put clothes away and that we can afford an exterminator who gives complimentary cockroach catchers and that I even have a house and kids and husband at all and yes someday I’m sure I’ll miss the pitter patter of tiny feet dragging my household organization attempts into the fort they just built with clean sheets over a sticky kitchen table.

And newsflash yes I know I’m not “defined” by the condition of my house or car and blah blah fucking blah I’M NOT ASKING FOR MUCH HERE PEOPLE.

After one hour of "playing." REALLY KIDS REALLY?

After one hour of “playing.” REALLY KIDS REALLY?

A visual on the floor of my car, perhaps.

A reduction in strange substances dried onto the floor.

300% fewer toys showing up on my floor even though I take shit to the Goodwill every week it seems.

Maybe a Level 1 instead of Level 4 hurricane in the bedroom after the kids “play.”



People tell me it’s that easy: “Just have the kids pick up after themselves. Before they get out a new activity have them clean up the old one.”

Would somebody kindly explain how the fuck I’m supposed to do that WITHOUT becoming Stalin? 

So maybe that’s it. Maybe I just refuse to become the type of person I would have to become to keep a tidy house all the time.

Or maybe I’m inept.

Let’s go with the former. It makes the circus seem intentional and therefore slightly more palatable.

Or something.

On the plus side, we cleaned the refrigerator, so we can definitely look forward to 4 hours of clean refrigerator.

AT LEAST. Go team.

I am unwavering however in my devotion to making my bed each morning. ha. ha. ha.

I am however unwavering in my devotion to making my bed each morning. ha. ha. ha.



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  • Sherry

    Your pictures of your house bring me much joy. My drawers are pretty much all junk drawers. None of our dresser drawers close all the way. I store empty hangers on the floor of the closets. And I can’t walk two feet across the living room without getting tangled up in a discarded princess dress. I have a friend who always has a super tidy house AND two kids. And I don’t understand it… Then she tells me about vacuuming and cleaning and not playing with her kids and hiding the toys and turning on the TV and I think fuck it. We’re doing GREAT! When I am 70, my house is going to be a sparkling white showhome. For now, it’s a shit pit and it’s FUN! Thanks for the peek into your reality. I love the company!

    • Sam

      Shit pit. YES.

      • Jade

        Not a shit pit. A mother who actually likes to go out and do things with her children rather than stay at home and clean all the time.y house is the same and its only because I actually go out and do things with my son rather than stay in and clean and tidy all the time.
        my house is clean but not tidy. I don’t care. Many people are in a similar position to me. Plus being a single mum is hard work and once I’ve put my hyperactive son to bed, I just want to sit on the sofa and relax, not do fooking housework!

    • charlotte Morris

      Maybe your house, but I know plenty of mothers who have a tidy house, AND have time for their kids. What a negative article!

      • Allie

        Hey! You come to Janelle’s site, you don’t put down Janelle. Just leave quietly. It’s damn hard to keep a house clean, okay? Don’t act all superior. Kids make messes all day long, which is kind of their job, and some of us get overwhelmed by the constant cleaning. I say thanks to Janelle for showing us reality. That is not negative.

      • Ruth

        And apparently you have no sense of humor.

      • Katie

        You missed. The point.

      • sarah

        Yes there are lots of mothers like this. To console myself I like to think that for those mums a clean house and organised kids is what makes them happy. I like to think that the rest of us have lots of other interests and value other things for ourselves and our children these things often being creative and diverse.
        What this lady is saying that the rest of us are often made to feel guilty about our mess through magazines, TV or heaven forbid other people. We are not super.
        We can’t do everything so please let the messies be messy and the neats be neat and accept that we all feel overwhelmed at some time.

        • Leia

          Sarah. You were right in your closing statement only. Let the messies be messy and the nears be neat. But a neat mother can have creative children just as easily as a messy mother. I am neat and it doesn’t distract from mothering or enjoy my children. It definitely doesn’t distract from spending time with them and doing things together. Let me be neat.

      • Collie

        At first I thought she was being sarcastic, but then I realized she was just being a Sanctimommy. You go, Sanctimommy! Hope you feel better about your life now that you’ve put someone else down!

      • Diana

        I wonder if that time with kids is on a schedule instead of a whim?.

      • gretchen

        obviously Charlotte deserves a gold star! for the rest of us I have drinks, clink*

    • Bek

      Beehive of activity

  • Sarah Kidd

    I love you!!!! And now I don’t feel so bad about me, myself as a mother, and the pig pen we call a home.

  • Sherry

    Also, who makes beds every morning??? That’s a thing? Really? I can’t imagine a bigger waste of time. I do it twice a month when I wash the sheets – whether they need it or not. Heh heh.

  • Tiffiny

    I feel like I’m ok now. As usual, thanks Janelle!

  • Shawna

    I love your blog. It makes me feel human.

    2 tips for anyone who wants them: (1) I hired a housekeeper to clean my floors and bathrooms every week; it’s worth the $40. (2) I keep my living room tidy. That way I can always count on one room in my house being a nice stress free zone. It is the only room in the house where I am Stalin, you must put what you are doing away before you bring out the next thing, no one is exempt from this rule, even me.

    The rest of the house is a mess: I don’t do my dishes until I run out of clean ones and the kitchen counter is completely buried, I never ever put clean laundry away and I never make my bed; it is full of hot wheels cars and trains and clean laundry. But the living room is tidy and the toilets are clean. Therefore this single mom is sane.

  • Judy

    My kids are aged 20-36. Three live at home right now (two are students, one is living in the basement with his girlfriend). My house is still a shit show. The clothes. The shoes. The boots. The dogs. THE DISHES!

    My daughter asked me why the kitchen was so messy and I told her that her dad made a sandwich. She told me I should just make it for him; it would be less work in the end.

    • MM

      Oh my gosh! Kick those kids out! Especially the one living with the girlfriend in YOUR basement. For real. They are grown ups now, and it’s your turn to have a clean house. They can all move into an apartment together and be roommates with each other and you and your husband can be just the two of you.

      • Mary

        Really, MM? Let’s assume Judy is NOT an idiot, ok?

        • Judy

          Judy isn’t an idiot. The man-child (27 yrs) and his girlfriend are taking over our business so we can retire.

    • Trisa

      Judy, I have three daughters aged 15-19 living at home (the elder two are at university), plus our new puppy, and am in constant motion still cleaning up after everyone, and yelling about how they’re adults now, and I expect more. Didn’t we think we’d have installed a great routine by now, where everyone cleaned up after him/herself, and we floated around in the domestic bliss we’ve earned?

    • Saundra

      Dad made a sandwich!? Oh my gosh so true!

  • KellyG

    Weepinglaughingraging in empathy. My mother was a nurse. I am nearly OCD about things being clean and organized. All it took was one kid to blow my house and my sanity to kingdom come. I’ve resigned myself to sanity and tidiness being both over-rated and being my grasp. Cheers!

    • KellyG

      Err. Yeah. Spell-correct on mobile phones bites.

      • renegademama

        fixed it for you. 🙂

  • Andra

    I have 4 kids. My house looks just like yours. I actually threw the same tantrum as what you wrote in this post not two days ago. I didn’t write it down, though, because it seems like every time I sit down at the computer somebody climbs in my lap and hijacks the keyboard. I’ve seen people who have kids and clean houses at the same time. My observations match yours. Our kid-friends call this place “the adventure house” and I would not trade that for anything – not even a peek at my floor.

  • itzybellababy

    The struggle is so real. It is compounded when it is 114 out and we go nowhere, and the dog is shedding like water.
    I actually got the vac out last night and FILLED IT with just the hair around the dog’s crate. Then she came out this morning and filled the living room with new hair.

    I want to shave her but they say sunburn is a risk… I even use a deshedding tool.. not enough.. UGH


  • LisaC

    Sooo feeling this.

    I become a whirlwind every few days and threaten and cajole the younger 2 into cleaning up their toys. Their rooms however, can be a disaster. I don’t fucking care. My kitchen? We cook. We eat. We gather there. We spend 75% of our family time in our kitchen. THAT room must be clean. Except for the floors. No one is crawling around down there anymore so who cares.

    And my bed gets made every day. Everything else gets a pass.

  • Lindsey

    I have to clean everyday all day long or my husband thinks I’m lazy on top of the in home daycare and 2 kids of my own and self employment. I’m tired all the time because I’m cleaning all the time. My kids are like yours and every other kid, “let’s get every toy I own out and not play with a single one, we just want it on the floor, and in the bathroom, kitchen, etc.”
    My husband doesn’t know how to clean up after himself either and god forbid I don’t know where something is when I’m asked because its my job to know where everything ends up.
    I fucking hate it.

    One day I will throw my hands up and say I’m done you do it. I don’t think they’d survive though and I know I’ll just have to clean it up anyway.

    • MM

      My mom went on strike for a couple days when I was little. Definitely made an impression on my sweet, oblivious, dad. He helped waaay more after that. You should do it. 😀

    • Caitlyn

      Seriously. That is my life. My husband thinks I just watch TV all day, I swear to god. I’ve given up trying to keep a perfect house for him. Maybe learn to pick your underwear off the damn bathroom floor and we’ll talk.

    • chrissie

      Omg this is me too. If i sit down for 5 mins im lazy. He comes home from work and says why is the house so messy but when i do clean he comes home and dumps his work stuff everywhere and everything else. I have a 3 yo and a 3 month old but i do say you can play with your toys bit before bed we must just tidy up so we can do it all over again tomorrow.

    • nicki

      Wear a go pro camera around for a day:)

    • Wendy

      Two words…
      Tent. Backyard.

      Go on strike. It’s rather relaxing, actually.

    • Heather

      So the other day I made a REAL effort to have the house tidy before my husband got home. It was clean, vacuumed. Surfaces were clear. And he opens up the cupboard by the back door (in which we keep shoes and bags and the kids craft supplies) and says “this could do with a tidy up.” I mean seriously I felt like exploding. It is like you can only ever fail. The house will never be tidy enough. My kids diet will never be good enough. Dinner will always be a bit shit. And on and on. Fail fail fail.

    • christie

      Lindsey & Chrissie & Heather How sad!! Resentment will inevitably build up & one day EXPLODE!

    • melissa

      my husband used to. about 3 years ago he came home, there were breakfast dishes all over the bench, clothes on the floor, toys all over – two sick kids, sick myself. he said ‘what did you do all day?’
      i may or may not have screamed. i may or may not have used every swear word in the english language and then invented some, following up by threatening to peel him if he gave me any more shit (pms loves me) about the dirty fucking dishes. i may have finished the explosion by locking myself in our bedroom and refusing to come out til after he got the kids to bed while he sulked about me being irrational. i may have spent that whole weekend in my room refusing to speak to him or deal with them. i may have walked out sunday evening into the bedlam and asked him what he did all day.
      its been three years since hes been that brave again. i regret NOTHING.

  • Cath

    Haaaa. Try keeping big laundry baskets with lids in all the major areas of your house. Just don’t throw dirty dishes into them and then forget you put them there.

    • Kay

      My Mom used to hide dirty dishes in the oven. Not a good idea, we melted the juicer. =P So I never ever do that!

      • Beth

        Oh my god I thought I was the only one!!

        • Catherine

          Hahaha I do this as well, it’s good to know I’m not alone 😛

          • Steph


            • Steph

              CHEERS! And now I’ve learned something new.

  • Madelief

    Well, my husband (the stay at home dude in our household) is determined to make our family live like monks. I, however, like my stuff and want to keep it. I do have to concede that our house feels better when he’s gone all minimalist on us……
    So yeah, we’re normal. Tidy houses are NOT a thing. Unless maybe your kids go to boarding school………

  • Kristin

    Oh how badly I needed this today…..only after I freaked out on the husband and kids because I am not a f**k*n maid…..Glad to know its not only my house that looks like a hurricane passed thru daily. I think I have too moved mountains, spent 4 hours cleaning it all up and then turn around and you wouldn’t even know. My 3 kiddos are 2, 4 and 7…..trying to let go of control of the house being clean, ever again! LOL

    • Gina

      I like to tell my kids that I am a mom not a maid.

  • Carrie

    Laughed until I cried.SO so so relate!!!

  • Sara

    I’m also suspecting “that anyone with kids who says their house is tidy and clean is lying”… Thank you for the pictures, I feel less alone!

    • Heather

      I saw that first photo and was like “WTF Is that my house?”

  • MadHouseCentral

    Thank you so much! I’m disabled/chronic pain and mobility issues, Mummy to 4 ages 7 to 8 weeks. I’m self employed and just trying to start working again. My house looks like 3 hurricanes passed through. I can barely see the floor and it doesn’t seem to matter how much effort I put in to tidying it up it just always seems to return to this natural state. My 2 year old thinks emptying out his toy boxes is the best game ever and throws proper wobblies when it’s tidied up and promptly turns it over again. I can’t win. Maybe one day it will be tidy and quiet (and very boring).

    • June

      When my kids were little, the only thing that I kept up to date was the washing, ironing & dishes (still don’t have a dishwasher)

      Well the rest, if you vacume the floor every day or once a week, it still looks the same so why bother doing it every day. Dusting, well that was only done when the kids started writing their names in the dust on the sideboard. Windows, well they only got done when I couldn’t see through them anymore.

      Spending time with the kids was more important, and that time is something that you will never get back.

  • linda

    Hahahahahhah I love this!!!
    I have 4 kids & I’m a full time nurse. I would love to send you a pic of my youngest ones bedroom. No one can step a foot in there due to a gigantic lego monster through up legos all over his floor. I am constantly nagging and ordering everyone around and it seems like I have somehow gotten the role of the bad cop whilst the hubby never says a word a tidying up or please don’t let the Ice-cream melt all over our new sofa grrr I really honestly wake up some mornings,look around my house and think “do I really live here? How the bloody. .. f**k did my home end up like this?!” When I have days off from work I spend 99% of them cleaning,organising,ironing and doing laundry. So pphheeww how glad was I when I saw this post lol… you know I think we set our standards too high…. but seriously how would our house look like if I wouldn’t do as much as I do? We would probably all walk around in odd socks and filthy cloths and no one would find their school bag,football stuff or gymnastics gear… 🙂

  • Treena

    I find it ridiculous how the parents with messy homes (live how you want) pass judgment on the parents with a clean home. If you look closely none of us are even commenting on this. Just because we choose to use every free moment to keep our homes clean, tidy and organized doesn’t mean we spend no time with our children. Honestly it is all based on personal choices and time management, so choose what you want and don’t judge others for their wants. FyI I commented while my kids are eating a snack and instead of leaving the mess to pile up I clean in right away with my children. Try it sometime if a clean house is what you desire.

    • renegademama

      Oh, no, you need to look closely, Treena. I see at least 3 comments by humorless (this post is what you call a “joke”) holier-than-thou condescending humans JUST LIKE YOU. Be proud. Your people are well represented.

      • paige

        “Just because we choose to use every free moment to keep our homes clean, tidy and organized doesn’t mean we spend no time with our children.”

        who DOES want to spend EVERY FREE MOMENT cleaning? I’d rather go outside and pick a lemon. maybe read a book. maybe stare at the goddamn ceiling for a minute. I’d rather have a messy joyful life than have a tidy, always-worried-about-cleaning-the-house life

        • K

          It’s really not one or the other though, is it? I agree, no one wants to live as an anxiety ridden clean freak hovering over the kids with a dust buster in case they spill a single crumb, but the alternative isn’t an all day cleaning marathon once a month followed by crashing and resigning yourself to chaos as my mother always did. Frequent, small, relaxed bouts of cleaning including the kids is the way to go. What’s wrong with wanting a functional, stress free home as well as a full joyful life? It is possible.

        • Adeline

          Well, they don’t necessarily want to, but the Ritalin their children ‘take’ is just making it sooo much fun… Lol

    • Natalie

      I’m sorry, but is this a joke or real? I can’t tell.

      • renegademama

        you think this one is a mind fuck. read “A Clean Mother.” THAT ONE REALLY seems like it might be satire except I don’t think it is.


        • Natalie

          Just. Jesus.

    • Shay

      I have to agree with Treena. My house isn’t the cleanest nor is it overly messy. I don’t spend every waking hour cleaning but if I keep my house clean and teach the kids to clean up after themselves than it takes merely minutes out of our day. You can’t say that having a clean house u spend every waking moment cleaning. We have 5 kids and all of them have learned to clean up after themselves so we don’t have to spend hours cleaning when it is time to clean. You don’t need to be messy just because you have kids! It’s your choice if you want to have a clean house but to belittle others because they have a clean one now that’s judging others and that is not what u want other to do to you right?

    • Heather

      Yes because who the hell needs sleep, or a shower, or to use the bathroom? Or, brace yourself, to actually be able to sit down and just have some damn me time once in a while. It is much more important for my house to look like a magazine cover. Eff that noise. If people don’t like the way my house looks they can feel free to let the door hit em where the good lord split em. I am pregnant with three children, one of them being special needs. Trust me the last damn thing I want to do with my every spare moment is clean my damn house for the 20th time that week. Not all of us are stepford wives.

    • True Story

      This is either: A) A sad life. B) Not good satire, because it is hard to tell. However, I LOVE the satire, regardless!

    • Beck

      LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!! You made me laugh so hard Treena! Thanks for that. And for nothing else.

    • JM

      THANK YOU!!!! I’ve been reading this and thinking the same thing! I have 3 kids, 2 dogs, a cat and a husband and my house is NEVER EVER a wreck. My kids have to make their beds. If they play with toys they put them back (only in their room because toys don’t need to be anywhere else), I do dishes after meals, and every morning I wake up and throw the laundry in the washer from the day before and at some point I dry, fold and put away that day. Everything else I do as it needs it. It’s not hard. Stop being lazy and do things as you go. Then your house isn’t messing and it’s not so daunting. I spend more time playing with my kids than cleaning…. so they are not deprived. And i COOK 3 meals a day. I don’t like being judged for being clean and tidy. I do it because my family DESERVES to live in a cl e an and stress free house. They deserve better than chaos.

      • Alex

        Yes….all these people here trying to blame their laziness on their children. It’s nice to see there are still some people who don’t think having kids means they get to say “screw it” to everything else.

        • JM

          Exactly. I spend far more time doing the things that I want to do and hanging out with my family than I do cleaning. People make it seem like it must be one way or the other. It doesnt. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor…. I do…. I just don’t think it’s funny to have my kids live like that…. or my husband. My husband doesn’t want to come home to chaos after a long days work…. nor should he have to. I make it work with all that’s going on, plus my kids activities, plus me going to school (I got three degrees while having small children) and I coach 2 soccer teams and my house is clean. I don’t have a babysitter or use daycare. They are with me. The thing I really don’t get is people that say both them and their husbands have 2 jobs each so there is no time to clean. Answer this, if you work so much and you are never home, why is your house a disaster? Nobody is ever there. Food for thought.

      • amanda_huggenkis

        You shouldn’t let your children have toys or play in the bedroom. It’s bad sleep hygiene. The bedroom should only be for relaxing and sleeping.


        That’s what I’m going to judge you for.

        Also I’m just going to assume you’re either not washing a full load of laundry every day, which is terribly wasteful, or you’re mixing whites and colors, and towels with clothes. Tsk.

        • JM

          My children don’t have issues sleeping at all. They have gone to get between 7:30 and 8 since they were babies. They don’t have issues sleeping at all. I understand if kids play in their room instead of going to sleep, but I really don’t have that issue. My kids are EXHAUSTED at the end of the day. One of my kids (age 9) literally falls asleep as soon as her head hits the pillow because when she is not in school, as she does is run run run with her sisters and her friends playing outside or in the house. Also…. my kids don’t have a whole lot of toys. Almost everything that they own, fits in just a couple of toy boxes. Games, crayons and markers, play dough, etc are in a different room. I know I’m going to hear it about my kids toys so let me explain…. my kids would much rather play outside or make up games in the house. They really have never played with many toys. When they ask for things for their birthday its usually stuff like a new scooter, or bike, or basketball hoop, or pretty much anything that can be played with outside. As far as laundry… most of our stuff is colored and my kids wear 3 outfits a day (uniforms to school, play clothes, pajamas) and my husband is a Marine so his clothes are brown and green. My kids don’t really have many white socks because they love socks that are colorful. So once you have a Marine uniform, my clothes, and all the colorful clothes my kids wear, it equals a full load. If it doesn’t, then I will put it in the wash but wait until the next day with the other clothes to load it. Towels, I do separately. I have a family of 5 so its a full load most every day.Its interesting how some comments on my post on here assume that I am “doing it wrong” if I am able to get it done. As some of you have pointed out, there is no “wrong” way to live. I wasn’t commenting to say people are horrible moms, or even lazy. I was just saying what I do in my house to have optimal time with my kids and their activities, hoping to try to help someone else. My way may not work for everyone, but it may work for some. Understand that my comments on here are not meant to criticize but to help. If a little is done everyday (20 mins), then it doesn’t get out of control and overwhelming.

  • Janine

    Love this, love you, and love that I have girlfriends who get this. (Though oddly, the one with the most kids always has a tidy house.) And THANK you for the pictures. People tell me when I come over, “Oh please excuse the mess.” and they’ve got, like, a coffee table book out of line. (Coffee table books? I can’t have them cause they’d stick to the dried cereal milk on the coffee table that no matter how many times I clean it up seems to reappear EVERY MORNING. Damn cereal eating kids.) I did hire a cleaner for a while and that was awesome, I must say. But then she started breaking shit. CAN WE NEVER WIN?!?!

  • A clean Mother

    I have 4 children, ages 13, 10, 9 and 7. I’m sorry to disappoint all of you messy mother’s, but my home is on point and clean every single day. Laundry is done and put away every week and at least 3 home cooked meals on on my table every day. It’s not impossible to do but very important for every child to live in a happy clutter free, clean and tidy home. Thank you to my mother who showed me how to be a awesome mother/wife!!!

    • renegademama


      • Susan

        yes, yes, I’m here !!!
        Jack Daniels !@!!!! Jack Daniels !!!!!!!!!

      • Rhiannon


        AT LEAST 3

        … do you sometimes eat MORE than three meals a day? I ask you.


      • melissa

        Jackdanielsjackdanielsjackdaniels. Who the f*** ARE these people?????

      • A clean Mother

        Believe it or not. You can drop in on me at any time any given day and you’ll find my house clean. I make it a habit to clean up every morning, throughout the day and at night. Plus my kids and I still enjoy lots of quality time together. My husband and I coach three (3) soccer team’s and we are very involved with our children. Just because we are busy doesn’t mean we have to live like pigs!! Get it together ladies before you end up on an episode of hoarders, cause these pictures have to be a joke to make this story sound good. There is no way anyone with children can live in these conditions and if they did I’d hope for the kids sake social services would step I’m and help those children!!

        • renegademama

          Yes, I can only imagine how much people enjoy spending “quality time” with you. I mean it must be a REAL HOOT!

        • Vagina

          To “A Clean Mother”… Holy shit… Are you for real!! I would love to drop by when karma comes by and kicks your ass for being so judgmental!! And it will happen. Trust that! When you are sitting there one day unable to be so utterly perfect, crying in your soup… you are going to remember that one time you left a nasty rude message to other moms claiming you are so much better than them!! I hope I can drop by on THAT day!!

          Every single person reading your comment knows it is BULLSHIT!!! You are NOT perfect. It does NOT exist!! You can keep telling yourself that if it gets you up in the morning but just know that everyone else KNOWS it’s BULLSHIT!!!

          What do you actually think all that cleaning is going to get you in the end? When you look back on your life, and you realize that more of your minutes were spent scrubbing shitty toilets than actually living…. Seems sad to me…

          • JM

            Vagina…. you’re getting onto clean mother for being “judgmental” when you are judging her for being clean and tidy. To have a clean house, you don’t have to CLEAN CONSTANTLY. You just have to do it as you go. Not difficult. I know because I have a husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a cat and my house is always clean. I do it for them because they deserve way better than shitty toilets. Just sayin.

            • Allie

              Do THEY do any of the cleaning? Really?

              • JM

                Yes they do. My kids are required to clean their room and my oldest two alternate dish nights and take turns vaccuming. Cleaning the house doesn’t take very long at all. Every morning i do the clothes from the day before amd dry fold and put it away at some point before bed. Doesnt take very long that way. The big thing that helps keep it clean is by not allowing toys out of the bedrooms and when you come home from work, the store, school, etc, put everything away rather than dumping it for later.

                • JM

                  And* not amd

                • Allie

                  Well, I’m glad it works for you. Not everyone has the temperament or the kids to do that. Don’t judge chaos and we who live in it won’t judge you.

                  • JM

                    I understand where you are coming from Allie. Im not saying that my life isn’t chaotic. I have highly energetic kids that that are rambunctious. Im not saying that my kids are perfect and do things on their own without being told…. that being said, I am in charge and they are not. They have had to learn that the hard way. If I have to continuously tell them to clean their room or pick up their stuff and they don’t…. I clean it myself…. by throwing their stuff away. They don’t get it back and I don’t replace it. If they don’t want to take care of their stuff, then it is obviously garbage. Even my 4 year old knows that if I say, “pick it up or its trash”, that I mean it. Its just stuff. They will learn to take care of their responsibilities one way or another. Having a chaotic life is one thing, but allowing chaos to dictate quality of life is another.

            • Vagina

              JM….hahahahahahha…these comments where people are going on about how many kids they have and animals and they still have a clean house!! AHHH…good times!! I have 4 kids, a dog, a husband, a mother, a sister,nieces and nephews, and lots of other things…but sometimes my house gets messy!!! It’s called LIFE!!!! A fucking normal life! I did not come on here and tell everyone they are horrible for having a clean house! But “a clean mother” did!!! If cleaning your house is at the top of your list of priorities….good for you! But don’t sit here and tell me how easy something is when you are not living my life or walking in my shoes! Everyone has a different story. A different road. You have no idea what my day to day life is like, so who are you to tell me how easy something is!!

            • Vagina

              oh…just sayin…

              • JM

                You are getting defensive and nasty. Thats fine. You can be that way. Like I said in other comments, my life is crazy too. Just like everyone else’s…. but if you don’t go DAYYYYS or weeks without cleaning then it is not an issue. Also….. it seems to me like you have a hell of a lot of adults in your house to be allowing it to be so messy. Kids are one thing, but grown ups know how to put their stuff away. Cleaning is NOT my priority…. my PRIORITY is having a good life and doing things with my family and taking my kids to do fun things, and making sure that we have a nice stress-free home to come home to at the end of the day. My family DESERVES that. My husband works hard for us and my kids deserve to be able to be kids and play, and be involved in many many many extra curricular activities like they are now. We are all busy going here there or everywhere. Im not trying to say that if you’re house isn’t perfect that you are a bad mom….. Im saying that it doesn’t take a lot of time and its time well spent. It goes back to my comment about quality of life. Thats all.

        • Judy

          I can’t say anything because the comment policy to try not to be a dick. Can’t do it.

        • Beck


        • Lisa

          The quality of your grammar and punctuation tells me exactly what you’re forgoing to keep such a spotless house. Have you ever seen the inside of a book?

        • Angelina

          I feel I don’t have much right to talk because I only have a 10 month old, she’s no trouble now, but to see someone say that a messy house leads to hoarding and a possible social service visit,I need to speak up. Your a mean person,I’m saying yhis as kindly as possible. Just because you somehow have your life all figured out, doesn’t mean that others are doing it wrong,some people got lucky and have kids that like to pick up after themselves, its not the case of raising your kids to be clean and organized,sometimes they wont. My mom tried to raise us in a clean house, and you know what, I don’t remember what it looked like. I remember when she let us pull put all our craft stuff and we made dolls, as well as a huge mess that we helped clean, I remember the pudding fight, and I remember my mom being stressed out all the time about having a clean house, and being yelled at for just trying to be a kid. Also it really didn’t stick,it made me hate cleaning, I don’t live in a huge mess,but if things pile up before they get done, well then that’s just par for the course. Now maybe your superwoman , you musnt ever feel stress over anything since you can be so callous and self ritcheous,and I’m sure your kids love how much effort you put into your household,I’m sure it beats a pudding fight any day.

        • Beth

          Did you seriously just bring up having kids taken away for having a cluttered house?! Why yes, let’s shuffle off all the kids from one cluttered loving house to another cluttered, yet unloving one. Give your fucking head a shake, you reactive cunt. Repeat after me: we do not make idle threats about child custody… We do not make idle (insane and pointless) threats about child custody. For fuck sake.

        • Melissa

          Social services have enough on their plate. They have more important things to do than go around checking out a house that is not tidy. There’s a big difference between a mess and bad hygiene that may actually cause children harm. Having said that, my partner and I work full time, have two children (9 & 11) and we have a tidy-ish house pretty much all the time. But, everyone is different. I have always respected my children’s play…play looks messy to me – but I understand that to my children it is important not to just pack it away until their finished. Even then we sort of just ‘tidy up’ the play area or project work together. My kids help me pack up all the time and they are great cooks. I believe it’s worth investing the time teaching your children independence, rather than and take the easy road and let them trash the joint…making more work for parents.

      • Kerry

        *screech!!!* That’s me racing to your side. I’m here and we will fight this evil together! LOL

    • Caitlyn

      I’m so glad someone rolled through and showed us what an “awesome mother/wife” looks like. I was beginning to think all our children were going to grow up horrible miscreants. Thank you for showing us how it should be done.

      • renegademama


        Yes! What ever would we do without the “Clean Mothers” in the world?! Perfecting humanity one douchebag comment at a time.

    • Attempting to be a clean mother

      My husband and I both work 2 jobs, and we have two little kids. Oh, but if only we just tried a bit harder, we could add hours to the day and be perfect just like you!

    • Mama Cass

      Who are you to judge? I love the fact that Renegade Mama has finally come out and said what 90% of mothers do. My house isn’t tidy, it really does look like a cyclone has hit it several times over (hurricane for you lot north of the equator).

      I have a 4yr old, a 2yr old and I’m pregnant with a third. I hire a house cleaner to come in every week so I can see my floor for a little while, trust me, the money I spend on that is worth it. At the end of the day though, people come here to see myself and my kids, not to see my house and how clean and tidy it isn’t. From the sounds of it though, you could do to spend some more quality time with your kids, rather than coaching three (3) soccer teams.

      • Heather

        I agree. Imagine if Clean Mother was your “friend” and she came OVER! OMG! My favourite people are the ones who you invite around and they say “what time?” and I say “Give me ten minutes.” and then we run around stuffing shit in laundry baskets and my friends KNOW we are doing this and they think “Wow you only need 10 minutes? Superman right there.” Those are the people you want to have around.

        • Heather


    • Meg

      My kids are grown now, but when they were young I ran a day home for 8years and had 6kids underfoot at all times. They all learned how to be responsible for the messes they made and to help clean them up. My motto was clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy. Seemed to work for us.

      • Bek

        Love it Meg 😀

      • Kerry

        I like that motto!

      • Laura

        I love that motto! I’m stealing it! =)

    • crickett_4jc

      The last person I knew who had a mother like you grew up to absolutely despise and resent her judgmental, “oh so perfect” mom. It’s not just that you claim to have everything on point (I have some wonderful friends who DO manage to do all of that), it’s the air of superiority you are spewing. That sort of thing POISONS children. I would rather have my soul in order and be a loving, non judgmental person as an example to my kids than have my home perfect and have a blackened soul full of pride and spite. It WILL bite you in the ass someday, lady. They don’t say pride comes before the fall for nothing!

    • Victoria Graham

      I get the image of that redhead desperate housewife when I read clean mother’s disturbing bullshit opinions! Like.. Fuck… Wow.
      And seriously WTF is with even wanting AT LEAST 3 home cooked meals A DAY? Are you a fucking alien?? Or some closet crack head FemBot ?
      And we are supposed to believe that your batshit crazy arse is the type of Mumma that spends more time making her kids a priority over your own desperate needs of putting your family, home and above all your own dillusional fucked up self on display!?
      I would be confident enough to bet money that all your kids HATE soccer! Are you running one of those freaky as fuck cults or… Wtf…

      • renegademama

        Victoria I’m dying. Your comment is gold. I’m often reminded that the commenters on this blog (except for a few select ones, ahem) ARE FUCKING WONDERFUL.

    • Laura

      Well, my stars in heaven! Thank goodness for this wonderful lady – practically a saint walking among us!! I’ll just gather up my normal-ass human belongings and make a slow schlep to Fuckupsville with the rest of us while you sit in your tower and show us HOW IT’S DONE!!

    • Laura

      If it makes you feel better I have ONE (count it…one) eleven month old and still can’t manage to keep a clean house. Your posts make me feel sane!

    • Alex

      Wow. These people really do throw a fit when you say children aren’t an excuse to have a nasty, filthy house. Washing sheets twice a MONTH? Not doing dishes until you run out, and the kitchen counter is full? God, I’d hate to smell some of these commenters’ houses….

      It’s not impossible to have a tidy house while being busy. I mean, really. Come on, people.

    • Laura

      Also, “A Clean Mother,” who are you sorry to disappoint? I don’t believe you finished your sentence. ” I’m sorry to disappoint you messy mother’s…” Our what? Our children? Our mothers-in-law? Our buttholes?? Learn some grammar. Perfect is as perfect does.

      Oops. The content window says not to be a dick. Sorrynotsorry.

      • Dot

        You forgot the hashtag on sorrynotsorry 😛

    • Jennifer

      Congratulations on immolating such a good role model and on being so super perfect. I’m glad for your kids, truly. I guess all us “messy mothers” could learn a thing or two from your example huh. Or, we could just Laugh at this great post and find comfort in how funny and very accurate her portrayal of what it can be like for the less than perfect “messy mother.” I for one also had a great role model and also clean throughout the day,again after work ,after dinner and after the kids go to bed- guess what ? – you come over to my house at any given time there will probably be a mess here or there. We “live” in our home, it’s not a showroom for the occasional visitor. So again, glad you are perfect. A lot of us are not, but our kids are just as happy and healthy without perfection- SO it is all good.

    • Lisa

      Well, when my kids are older I’d rather them remember me as a fun mom, not an anal retentive OCD clean freak. The kitchen is clean, the living room floor has lego all over it. The bathroom is clean, the basement is a disaster. There’s probably a couple loads of laundry I could round up, but I say eff it. I’d rather have a margarita. I will not ever, not today, not EVER, spend the entire day cleaning. Nope.

  • Troy

    I don’t know, growing up our house was always clean. Dad worked out of town, mom worked part-time, my sister and I were taught to clean up after ourselves from a young age and as far back as I can remember I always kept my room clean – toys in the toy box (or they got throw in the garbage), dirty clothes in the laundry basket, dirty dishes in the sink after each meal. Didn’t seem like that big of a deal.

    • Bec

      Probably because you are a guy and you didn’t do more than 10% of the over all cleaning that a house actually requires… It’s great that you learnt to tidy up, but there’s a lot more to looking after a home than putting your stuff in their respective places. So who washed those dirty dishes after you put them in the sink, who washed those dirty clothes? Who cleaned the floors, windows, furniture, appliances, floors again, folded and put away those clothes, floors AGAIN…. might not have seemed like a big deal because you were the child and your mother did way more than you did, just a thought.

      • Alex

        Wow. Great sexism there, Bec.

    • Marian

      If I worked part time AND my kids were in school, my home would be cleaner while they were gone. However, kids are tornados and I get tired of constantly nagging them to clean. I do but there are times family and play comes first.

  • SakuraMari

    I think you are amazing. This is still my biggest struggle within myself. Part of it is my bad childhood, and part of it is just embarrassment. My house isn’t dirty – neither is yours! – but it’s messy. Mine is cluttered with stuff that I simply don’t have time to go through to get rid of, and when I do have time, I never seem to make a dent. Well I think it’s cluttered anyway.
    My turning point is when a friend of mine came thru town and surprised me at my house. While I was glad to see her, the visit made me nervous. You see, she is a department manager for Child Protective Services. Now I have ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to be nervous… but I was so concerned because of my MESSY house, rambunctious children still in their pajamas, dishes in the sink from yesterday, and bathroom floor that hadn’t been swept/mopped in a week (there was hair on the floor from us girls brushing it, y’all!), and who knows what else… I was sure she was going to open an investigation for neglect. When she got done LITERALLY LAUGHING AT ME, she told me that my children are clean. They are healthy. They are happy. They are well-loved and not in any danger. My house was technically CLEAN. Sure, maybe not as clean THAT week as I’d like. But then she said the game-changer: My house looks like three happy children and two frazzled parents live together in a loving environment. Wow. I was floored.
    Now I still fuss over cleaning, because well kids have chores… and I still get frazzled when someone comes over and it’s not perfect. All moms are like that! But it’s not sooooo bad anymore. I’ll be ok. I’ll keep a clean house when the kids are all moved away. Until then, it is what it is. 🙂

    • mjstaf64


    • Heather


  • never ending

    i totally understand i have given up never was really good at an organized house more like organized chaos when i would clean only to have it torn apart would drive me nuts so i clean to a point then just except that is that i do not fight with my kids to much headache stress and crying because i feel like a failure nope no more i clean just enough and leave the rest

  • Heather

    I read this and had to laugh because it looks just like my house. I’ve even got the same armoir. (Big Lots about 12 yrs old?) I’ve got three kids. I used to have a pristine house. Then I got hobbies. I’ve thought about taking “clean house” back up, but the fact is, I enjoy theater, dance, reading, gaming, hiking, exploring and my part time job too much to spend time scrubbing a floor I’d have to scrub again tomorrow. I get far more enjoyment out of giving it a good clean up every now and then when my handiwork can be seen. Because let’s admit it, the clean house isn’t for our kids, it’s for ourselves.

  • Lisa

    I do the Stalin thing with the toys and my house STILL looks like yours somehow with only 2 kids. No matter how much time I spend picking up other people’s shit or making organizational systems so things get put away or getting rid of things my house somehow looks like an episode of hoarders.

  • Robyn

    Maybe you can send those roach catcher things our way…exterminator NOT in the budget this month and with the torrential rain in Texas, those suckers seem to be winning the war.

    Seeing the pictures from your house was the best I’ve felt all week. Knowing it isn’t just me. It isn’t just my kids. I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to be Stalin and crack the whip over my gang…but I would like to walk across the floor without tripping over a toy, article of clothing, or discarded shoe. I’d also like to not be the only one willing or able to open the dishwasher and even CHECK to see if the dishes are clean or dirty…

    When I’m old and gray(er), I will have that clean house and miss the mess. I wish the same for you! Hugs!!!

    • Kerry

      I liked your comment. I try really hard to remember that one day the little mess monsters will leave me, and I’ll be in my (finally) clean house and wishing like crazy that they would come back and mess up my house again.

      • Boys are messy!

        That’s what grandchildren are for 😉

  • Apple

    OMG!! You are my new favorite person in the world. I was starting to think something was wrong with me… That I’m inadequate, inept, malfunctioned …. SERIOUSLY!!! These are my thoughts on an every day basis but your words.

    That part about endless laundry… CH… 3 boys – 7, 7, and 4. The never ending dish pile… Always something on the effing floor. And don’t let me get on the unnecessary paper pile from the shit the school sends home PER KID! The chores I’m thinking of for them would probably be considered against child labor laws LMAO!

    FINALLY someone says this sh*t out loud… I feel so much better knowing I’m not alone. LOL!

  • KezUnprepared

    Woohoo for being normal and admitting it! I do know some people who are generally neat freaks, even with kids and somehow MOSTLY pull it off.
    I notice a massive difference between a last minute drop in at someone’s place and attending something that’s been planned ahead.
    Which comforts me greatly.
    My husband used to get really distressed because we’d go to friends’ houses and he’d compare their ‘we cleaned up just for guests’ appearance to our every day (note that he’s not an asshole – he does a lot of the housework too). I had to keep explaining – THAT IS NOT THEIR EVERY DAY. I mean, our house looks pretty amazing when we’re expecting guests too.

  • Trish

    I believe that we can all be categorized into one of two groups: good cookers, or good cleaners. (yes, cookers is a word. or not.)

    I am a great cook. My housekeeping skills are below par.

    Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care. You want a good, hot meal? I’m your girl. You want spic and span? Go visit my mother.

    As they say: “If you came to see me, c’mon in, don’t mind the mess. If you came to see my house, make an appointment.”

    • Allie

      Nope. I am an okay cook and a poor cleaner. But my kids like me and are happy, so I’m good. My husband is a great cook, though.

  • Fiona

    I fucking love your work. Every time I read it it makes me feel sane. Once I cleaned out a small cupboard in the bathroom – which bizarrely was equally as full after i had thrown away 2 plastic bags worth of useless shit including a set of false eyelashes WTF- and I spent the next week periodically slipping into said bathroom, opening the cupboard and gazing into it for anything up to a minute. Then I would emerge as if I had seen God or had an aparition or a visitation or something holy! It was like when they open that briefcase in the Quentin Tarrantino movie and the golden light shines out except without all the evil shit attached! Anyway after a week I kind of forgot about it or the novelty wore off or whatever. I never got to anymore cupboards, we moved house. Who knows if I am a better or worse person for that experience!!

  • Amanda

    Omg. This totally spoke to me from the beginning. I laughed until I cried becaause someone finally understands my house. I get it all nice and clean, we leave to go somewhere for the day, and by bedtime it looks like I’ve done nothing!! Hubby only seems to notice the mess, but doesn’t say a word when everything looks like. I’m so over it, but I am sick on walking on train tracks, kitchen play food and LEGOS…OMG the Legos. They freakin hurt!! So, thank for making my life a reality…I knew I wasn’t along 🙂

  • Gab

    I am totally hearing you sister!! We are also a family of 4, Mum, Dad, 12, 8, 6 and 2 and I so desperately want a clean and tidy house… I have been saying that for at least 10 years now. At any given time my house is an eclectic collection of washing baskets… clean in the lounge room and dirty at the top of the stairs and in the bathroom, Toys, shoes, homework, towels and (dare I say it) food… mostly 1/2 decomposed apple cores trying to return to the earth from whence they came. I spend a great portion of the day picking up things that don’t seem to change things or ordering the minions to do the same and it doesn’t seem to make much difference to the house but everyones stress levels go thru the roof! So I have gotten to the point where:

    I get the kids to do a 30 second clean up of the lounge room and hall way… it takes longer than 30 seconds but if 4 children can’t clean that S&*T in 5 minutes there is something seriously wrong…

    When ever they get in to trouble they are sent to their room to clean… Bedrooms done! If they are naughty again they get to tidy Master 2’s room.

    The kitchen bench is usually tidied by Mum as she makes school lunches.

    Bathroom gets done when Mum has a shower and usually consists of picking up clothes and throwing them in the hamper and a surface wipe down with a towel before it gets chucked in there too! When I just can’t stand it anymore the shower and bath gets cleaned while I wait the 3 minutes for my Conditioner to do it’s magic.

    The toilet gets cleaned with some Glen 20 and toilet paper that gets done when mum’s in there taking care of business.

    At least 2 – 3 loads of washing EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT 🙁

    Folding gets done when I just can’t stand it anymore and the kids get called to put it away as they have a pile that is big enough to topple LOL

    Floors, Bedding change, Mopping, Glass doors, Wiping drawings on walls etc all happen when I lose my Shizz and can’t stand the sight of them anymore…

    it’s safe to say that absolutely nothing is all clean at the same time… except for maybe when someones having a birthday or my grandparents are visiting… even then you will find about 5 washing baskets behind the closed door of my bedroom and those suckers are full of junk… pretty much everything from everywhere. 6 months from now we will find master 2’s long lost shoe, the electricity bill and 4000 odd socks…

    There is a very fine line between sanity and sanitary… 😉

  • Gab

    *Family of 6 (Ooop’s)

  • Clare

    Thank Fuck I’m not the only one!!!!
    That’s my house to a tea.

  • Geofredo Santiago

    Looks like prequel of a future episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive

    • Anne

      geofredo, did you miss the instruction to “not be a dick”?

  • Lisa

    Too funny! Our 3 children are grown and somehow developed the tidy house habit. I suspect it won’t last too long once they have kids of their own. Although I have to admit, while they were slobs growing up, the current state of our house can only be blamed on their dad and me…and the pets. Yeah, that’s it…the dogs did it!

  • H.D...

    Holy shit… Are you for real!! I would love to drop by when karma comes by and kicks your ass for being so judgmental!! And it will happen. Trust that! When you are sitting there one day unable to be so utterly perfect crying in your soup… you are going to remember that one time you left a nasty rude message to other moms claiming you are so much better than them!! I hope I can drop by on THAT day!!

    Every single person reading your comment knows it is BULLSHIT!!! You are NOT perfect. It does NOT exist!! You can keep telling yourself that if it gets you up in the morning but just know that everyone else KNOWS it’s BULLSHIT!!!

    What do you actually think all that cleaning is going to get you in the end? When you look back on your life, and you realize that more of your minutes were spent scrubbing shitty toilets than actually living…. Seems sad to me…

    • Rachael

      Love this …. true

  • H.D...

    My comment was for A Clean Mother… I couldn’t reply to her for some reason.

    • renegademama

      you can try again. lots of traffic is apparently breaking the internet. 🙂

  • Samantha Riley

    Thank you for posting this. I constantly feel pressure from others to keep the house in ‘show room’ condition and with 3 under 5 I’m just exhausted keeping them entertained, fed and watered. There are some areas in my house that are neat and tidy – the lounge room and the kids room (strange I know) – but the kitchen always has clean dishes that just need to go away the dining room table is a dumping ground and our bedroom just has an ever growing pile of clean washing waiting to be put away – Let’s not even mention my craft workshop. The only thing I make sure I do everyday is a load of washing and the dishes. Apart from that things get done whenever they can.

  • Rachael

    Wow to you … your refreshing honesty … and to you “a clean mother” wow judgemental much my home is messy …. it’s cluttered …. and yes my children are happy and healthy … well the 5 still living at home are …. one died …. he was 10 …. there were 4 older foster kids too …. and yes child social service people happily left them in my messy cluttered home where they were healthy happy safe and cared for as they never had been before ….. it’s not perfect and its frustrating at times … but hey we are all different …. everyone is …. but I love my children beyond description and more importantly they know it are shown it and feel it in every way ….. what more could you truly need ….. wants like a tidy house aren’t as important to me as they have never happily combined in my life …. if they have for you that is nice … but again your all encompassing judgement of others because their house isn’t spotless is just too close minded to endure without passing comment ….. when you have had to say your final farewell to your child their lifeless body in a coffin …. it is with startling clarity youtruly comprehend the priorities in life …. and cleaning isn’t even in my top 5

  • Tiffany

    OH MY GOSH! I thought the pictures were of my house! LOL! I have six kids two dogs (one of which just had puppies which equals 7 now and she is not really in to nursing) and two gold fish all of my children are under 12 years of age I stress all the time about my house and would love it to stay clean i am hoping for the magic cleaning fairy i think she died under the clothes!

  • mydaughtereatssomuchporridge

    Thanks, I’m sat here feeling really fed up at the amount of cleaning/washing/cooking I have to do whilst I have a few hours to myself. I’m trying to justify going and sewing instead including making a witches cape for my daughter and you know what, she’ll much prefer the witches cape to a clean house! Thing is housework is sooooooo borrrrrrrrring to me!

  • Kim

    Oh my goodness. Thank you for helping me feel less insane clown posse vs. circus. 🙂

  • amie hammond

    A friend posted the link to this on my wall. I am so happy to find you, and wonder where the hell all of you moms were when I was doing this the first time around and was soooooo alone!!
    Seriously, my kids are my world and are each amazing in their own way, but I needed a no-bullshit, sit and tell the truth mom-friend for YEARS, and now I can’t seem to look around without finding another truth-speaking, loving, doing-the-best-she-fucking-can, woman who has the same problems and joys as me.
    I am hoping you have the money to pay someone to clean in the very near future — it is the only hope I have of EVER having a clean house with 7 of us here 🙂
    Thanks for being real and making me laugh

  • Erika

    People before things. The kids won’t remember how clean or messy the house was when they were growing up. They will remember the relationships they had with their family in the home. We have 4 kids ranging from 12-20. I’ve homeschooled for 15 years and had art projects and exploding volcanoes in my kitchen. During the kids’ younger years, the house was really darned messy. I’m not going to lie; the youngest occasionally found a cheerio(or 10) that was several days old to snack on. The kids got older and the house is now cleaner and Cheerios don’t litter the kitchen floor anymore. I valued the relationships with my kids more than I valued having a clean house. People before things. It’s all about priorities.

    • Miki

      Oh, they will remember the clean house. But they might laugh about it later! My SiL keeps an immaculate house (granted, two kids 12 years apart make that a slightly easier prospect). When her oldest graduated from high school she pulled out a time capsule he made in kindergarten. On the page about his mom he had written: “Why does my mom clean the whole house every day?” Everyone laughed, she blushed and blurted out she was better about that kind of thing now! Except we laughed harder as her husband stood behind her shaking his head “no!” ?

      • Musician14

        I have to say (at 36), I DO remember the messy house as a kid. I remember all of us (mom, dad, and 3 kids) rushing around to pick things up and put away as my elderly great aunt (and uncle) who never had kids showed up unannounced at the door. I also remember as an adult visiting their house thinking that it looked like a time capsule. I’m getting better about keeping my own house tidier (keeping up with the dishes, etc.), I do PREFER a calm, restful, uncluttered house. I do wonder how I let it get messy when I do so prefer and enjoy it clean.

    • Alex

      I sure as hell remember my messy house growing up. My mother and grandmother are hoarders. It was embarrassing as hell, and my friends and I NEVER did a single thing at my house if we could avoid it. All of their parents managed to keep their houses clean. Not that hard.

      • Sandra

        There is a big difference between hoarding and messy.

  • Josie

    I only remember one person whose home was immaculate all the time. She was a neighbour whose kids I played with, and this house pretty much looked like a display home. But — and this cannot be ignored — •housework was all she ever did!• Seriously, it didn’t matter what time of day or night it was — unless she was engaged in personal care or sleeping, she was doing housework or related chores. I don’t remember ever seeing her just •relax• or have fun. Sure, her home was impeccable, but at what cost? Her kids were unwilling to play with much of their stuff for fear that she would yell at them, and even as a kid, I used to ask, “What’s the point of having this stuff if you can’t use it?”

    Don’t get me wrong — I do believe she did these things because she cared — but the way we perceived this behaviour as kids was that she was more worried about appearances, or other people’s feelings, than about our own feelings. As an adult, I get it, but as kids, we were scared to have fun, and that was sad.

    • Carly

      Yes. My mother was exactly like this. Our house looked like a showroom all the time, but behind closed doors she was a cruel and abusive narcissist who cares about nothing but appearances. I have NO memories of her ever having fun with her kids.

      Do I think everyone with a spotless home is hiding some dark secrets? No. But sometimes the need to have a perfect image is because there is some crazy shit going on behind the pretence.

  • chantelle mitchell

    Lol omg yes my house to a tee I’m a family off 3 kids 2 off which are teenage boys lol and a 5 yr old girl we are not home most off the weekend and Monday is my cleaning day I have a cleanish house untill school finishes then within 10 mins it’s a mess again. I now don’t care as much I use to but now well so long as it’s not rotting food or anything that would cause health problems then I don’t care I play with my kids I try and talk with my boys (that’s a task in itself) they are happy healthy and warm that’s all that matters to me.

  • Kirst

    Praise the fucking lord!!!!
    I have been sitting here looking at the tip that is my house at the moment, and wondering where the hell do I start. Then I just gave up made a coffee, sat down at the computer and hid myself in Facebook – it’s all just too hard right now. Someone posted a link to your post, and thank God for that!!!

    I’M NORMAL!!!!!
    You gave me the first belly laugh I’ve had in a long time because your story is just so relatable. And it’s helped me put a couple of things in perspective in my head.

    I am a very well organised and generally tidy mum of 2 energietic kids, I coach their sports teams, do the dance mum thing, and yes my house clean and tidy most of the times, but there are times when it just looks like a Cat 4 Cyclone has hit. But lets me real. I have kids. And to be honest, there’s things many I’d rather be doing than cleaning all my spare time away.

    And lay off A Clean Mother. If she thinks that good parenting is making sure that your house is pristine for when a random blog reader comes and drops in, and it makes her feel good about herself that she spends whatever time is left cooking nutirtious home-cooked meals for her kids…..Let her go. She probably still wipes their arses too to make sure that htey are as clean and sparkly as the rest of her house. But if that’s how she chooses to spend her time, then that’s her choice.

    And it’s my choice that I want my kids to remember me as the mum who can be strict and organised, but who can be fun too. The mum who lets them have picnic take away meals on the family room floor while watching trashy TV and having a family game of Monopoly. The mum who encourages them to go outside and jump in puddles and climb trees because the dirt that they track through the house will get cleaned up – later.

    The cleaning and tidying will always be there. Be kind to yourselves mums. Enjoy your time with your kids. The cleaning can come later.

  • Jim

    I respectfully disagree, as our home is nearly always spotless and ready for entertaining, photo shoots, and surprise visits from HGTV. However, I am married to an interior designer, and who as far as I can tell is a direct descendent of Joseph Stalin himself, so our home *must* remain spotless, or else.

  • julie

    Loved this post. The comments were almost as funny. I have pretty much given up the fight for a neat house. It’s not disgusting all the time due to my OCD and my husband’s ability to get the kids to pick up occasionally. But, like you, I do not want to turn into a dictator to get what I want. I am mean enough my kids would tell you. We had a five year old girl over to play once and she looked around and asked, point blank, why my house was so messy. I answered that I have three kids who don’t pick up after themselves. I have obviously done a terrible job training them to do that.

  • April Kramer

    I often dream of enormous vacuums and coming home to a torched house to rid myself of such woes. Go mama!!

  • Bek

    hmmm. I’ve been reading the posts – and I think I’m definitely in the middle, But why do we feel the need to judge others on how they live???
    If you’re messy, well the “Clean Freaks” must neglect their children – or they’re lying??
    and those that maintain a perfectly clean house think kids of Messy houses are also neglected and social services should step in??
    Kids need loving nurturing environments – I think both to extreme are horrible! And have family/friends at both ends of the spectrum…
    An immaculate home that doesn’t feel lived in, that kids are scared to mess up is not welcoming…. Then houses with clothes spread all over the furniture, or you’re searching for a clean glass is also not welcoming for guests to sit, and feel relaxed, and can be a point of embarrassment for your kids as they get older.
    My Lounge room is comfortable – its a welcome place at any time of day, it may not be perfect, but its clean, my kitchen gets messy, surprise I cook and no little fairies clean up as I go… But there is always a clean cup for a coffee, and everyday (even if only for a few minutes) my benches are wiped completely clean with no dishes in site. I’ll admit Bed Rooms can get a bit unruly at times.

    I HATE CLEANING! So we just don’t let it get too messy, then it doesn’t require it! I study full time, from home, and take breaks every hour to do 1 item of cleaning for 10 mins, then After School I am all my daughters.

    (In defending those with Perfect houses, I find my friends with these, do play with their kids and interact just as much – if not more, but they just can not leave the mess – it is cleaned up immediately after, any spills address straight away – and honestly I wish I had some of that motivation and organisation as I think the 2 mins they spend straight away makes the Cleaning job a lot easier).

    • Krystal

      Seriously, I agree. I’m right in the middle, I get having a messy home but don’t judge folks for cleaning their home that they’ve purchased and live in smh. I’ve been reading the comments and DAMN! These women act like the clique girls back in high school! It’s like the preps are hating the goths and vice versa LOL! Folks calling each other cunts?!! Too much! The blog was funny and in many ways I can relate. But damn if I clean my house, my REAL mom card gets revoked here. People shouldn’t hate because they take care of their space a certain way. Whether it be to keep it clean or fuck it all to hell. It’s your life, your money, who cares? Cause at the end of the day, you can have your shit together in your house and still know how to be real and tell someone where to go.

  • Jeanne

    I. Love. You.

  • Mommy of 3 have you seen my brain?!?!?

    WOW…..I love you LOL you are now a new favorite for me to follow, everything above is me to a T. I can not find anything in my home for the life of me no matter how much I clean and organize it. my kids are happy and try to clean but in the process make a bigger mess. I have about 4 loads of laundry waiting to be folded and another 3 or 4 waiting to be washed. I have a load of dishes needing to be put away at all times while they build up again in the sink. I may not be able to clean like I want but man can I cook a good meal and my kids love that about me. we have fun and that is the point of being a parent is having fun and enjoying your kids.

    things are still crazy with all the kids (2 are potty training) and 2 dogs (1 is potty training) and then 7 chickens me my hubbs and my dad all living together trying to make things work. I am so happy to have found you all because now I feel not so alone and some of my anxiety can maybe go down!!! HA one can only hope……..by the way have any of you seen an extra brain lying around I think mine ran away about 7 years ago when i had my first child!

  • Muffy

    Thankyou thankyou you awesome true realistic fucking kick ass woman/mumma.I have these exact same thoughts every damn day..!!
    I prefer to play with my son and have dinner in the slow cooker and I might MIGHT get something fucking cleaned around here. Ive even considereed buying BULK plastic/throw away cutlery plates and cups. I loathe dishes.. detest them.. the thought of doing the bloody things every damn day makes me ill. But then the guilt of adding the shit environment we have created by being such a throw away society eats me up too.. i choose the guilt of playing with my Boys .. and screw the house.. we get to it.. eventually! !!

    P.s to all you peeps that have taken offence..or feel victimized by this post. .. seriously check ya self. NO ONE was having a go at you!!
    Choose love people. Choose to love yourself and every other mumma having a tough day..

  • Doug

    I grew up in an immaculate home. Both parents worked full time and still had time to keep a clean home. Most importantly my brother and I were taught from an early age to clean up the messes we made. Most parents today watch as their kids come home from school throwing their coats, shoes, and backpacks wherever on their way to TV where they stay all night. We were taught to put our things away when we got home, to do the dishes each night after dinner, to help with the trash and laundry etc. Sorry but if your house is in shambles it’s because your doing something wrong. I raised a child as well and never had a problem keeping a clean home, it’s all about priorities. Trust me when I say that kids who are not taught to clean up after themselves are a bear to deal with in the real world because they are used to having someone else take care of their messes. No excuses for messy homes in my book.

    • carmon

      While my home isn’t in shambles it is also not immaculate. I have four children still at home. The are adopted and two of them have special needs including autism. If there was a way to have an immaculate home I’d home I’d pass. Homes are meant to be lived in.

    • katha

      Dear Doug,
      I grew up in a clean house. I wouldn’t exactly call it immaculate. Up to this point I always kind of wondered if there is something with my childhood and now I finally know!
      So glad I read your comment and RIGHT NOW I will fetch my 3kids away from the TV and make them clean up their mess and… Oh, wait. I forgot! They are outside doing this thing, I think they call it playing? Let me try again.
      Dear Doug, I really think it’s great you grew up in an immaculate house and you raised one child. There’s nothing wrong with that and I would not dare assume that there is.
      But it isn’t quite clear to me why that makes you an expert in raising other people’s children?
      Assuming that kids from a messy home will not succeed in life is based solely on your experiences and prejudices. I could just as well assume that you have as much humour as a stockfish – but I don’t because that would be based on my experiences and prejudices.

      • renegademama

        Katha your comment is one of the best things to happen to me this week. POSSIBLY MONTH.

  • KGinMN

    You know the kitchen is a mess when you’re sure you’ve found (and cleaned/removed) the source of “that smell” twice before ACTUALLY finding the real source (a small soft side cooler that I thought was empty and stored, but actually contained a baggie full of broccoli: don’t try this at home unless you are prepared to throw away the entire thing in the garbage). Anyway, I can relate…especially the part about cleaning, leaving the house/not being home and then discovering the house is somehow a disaster again. It’s mystifying!

  • Angie

    oh sweet baby jesus thank you. I thought i was the only one!!

  • Midnight Mums

    OMG hilarious truth, I can relate in every way as I sit surrounded by my own delightful mess. I will happily share your blog on my Midnight Mums page.

  • Midnight Mums

    OMG you are freaking hilarious and I can relate in every way as I sit here surrounded by my own bloody mess created by the two little humans that run my life. I will happily share your blog on my Midnight Mums page. Bridget 🙂

  • Rebecca

    I hear you. I’m naturally untidy.

    The key is having no stuff. Get rid of just about everything and there’s nothing to mess up.

    I’m only half joking. It actually works.

    I’m sure convincing everyone else it’s a good idea is the hardest part for you though 😉

    • Carly

      I believe you’re right Beck (yes it is I!)

      I’ve noticed a significant difference since my kids became teens as opposed to younger children who had stacks of toys. The constant mess of toys did my fucking head in for years. It was a huge source of stress. Now between school, extra curricular activities and homework they don’t have much spare time and when they do it’s inevitably on the iPad or whatever. So there’s just FAR less stuff and it’s all become more manageable.

      Not that I have conquered this issue by any means but it has gotten better!

  • Rebekah

    Can I just say this is the best, most honest, most awesomest (yes I know, not a word;) ) article EVER written? I often despair that I am never ever going to have a tidy house again. My two mini cyclones are constantly at work. It is fantastic to finally see that someone else has the same issue as me. I can finally say, look, see, other people are exactly the same!! Thank you so much for this article. Love it! Had me in giggles a few times…..so much like my house! 🙂

  • Cathryn

    Excuse my language – fuck yeah, I her ya sister!

  • Mez

    This is a pretty interesting take on the whole tidy house thing, by a very smart and savvy Australian journalist. http://www.aww.com.au/latest-news/lets-talk/lesson-to-my-daughter-20482

  • TreenaB

    I absolutely loved this post. It makes me feel semi-normal, which is a hard thing in itself to do. I’ve been labelled and shunned and I know judged because my house isn’t spotless. It hurts. I am not lazy, I am not lacking in organisation or routines. I am simply a single mum to 6 children, 4 who have autism and who’s husband of 17 years (and father to all the children before ay one else judges me again) walked out back in January because it simply got too hard for him.

    I needed this post so much, but in sharing it also became a target so it seems on my own Facebook page. I just don’t get the elitism in parenting and household standards.

    I am exhausted, I am shattered, I am working around the clock for one of my children health needs (almost 4 years of 4 hourly routine 24/7) I am DOING MY BEST!!!! My children are fed, have a roof over their heads, have their daily therapies (yes plural) on top of regular schooling, they may be nudists (autism thing) but they have clothes a-plenty and are always, umm usually… ok mostly clean… When it comes to having spotless house filled with emotional chaos and meltdowns or a house which is untidy, all the children emotional needs are met and they have the ability to self regulate with minimum stress, then I choose the latter. A clean house isn’t everything, nor is a spotless one. The real point of parenting is getting through the day and surviving. If there are smears on the windows and toys strewn everywhere does that really matter if the childs emotional and physical needs are met?

    Talk to a parent who not longer has their child earth-side and you soon learn that a clean house is not a priority, parenting elitism is not a priority… your childs happiness, emotional and physical health and their being able to function to the best of their ability in this world is the most important things we need to be concerned with.

    again, thank you for doing one thing which is rarely done, you have made me feel less isolated and quite normal, and for that, I sincerely thank you xxx

  • Jan

    For real, it’s like you live inside my brain! Everything you write could have come directly from my thoughts. But this one especially gets me. I have a one year old who’s favourite game is taking things out. I also have two golden retrievers who’s favourite game is to follow the baby around and take anything she takes out and bring it to the kitchen. I cleaned my kitchen floor yesterday and I found SIX of my husbands socks, a bottle of shampoo, and a framed photograph from my living room end table. There’s just no winning.

  • helen

    sounds pretty normal to me. i’m impressed your kids put things in draws. my son things that drumping the clean stuff on the floor near the draws is good enough! my house looks like yours and i only have 2 kids so i think your doing pretty well. 🙂

  • Mandy

    I love you and all the mom’s that are real like me! My friends who have instagram and pinterest homes…They are the most stressed mamas I know!

  • Rose

    Amen sister!! Who the hell needs a constantly clean house anyway? Yeah I had to clean so it didn’t turn into a crap ridden nightmare, but that was always far down on my list. And I realized after several years and constantly being told ” my kids have so much fun when they come here to play”. It was because we were not a “showroom” house and they all felt comfortable enough to cut loose and be kids and enjoy them selves – blanket forts and pillow fights and hide-and-seak throughout the house and random art and craft experiments.etc etc

  • Lady Lolita

    Yes! YES YES YES!!!
    I have reposted on THE GLASS HOUSE blogzine because you have made me feel brilliant about the fact that every time I walk along my floor I have to flick shit off the soles of my feet, and I put the washing machine on three times this week with the same load because I kept forgetting about it. Except my girls DO clean up after themselves (4 and 6) because I AM Stalin. They have been screamed up louder than most would scream at any child because of crumbs, I don’t care, I’m breaking them in early so I can be a lazy mother. They made their own dinner the other day…Result! It’s working 😉

  • Rose

    “Gee remember how clean our house always was growing up?” said no one EVER!!!

  • Jess

    This post made my heart sing, because I could have written it myself. Thanks for making me feel less alone (especially as I attempt to tidy up the living room for the 3 millionth time this week).

  • Melissa Reid

    You are fantastic! You have described my life perfectly! Will it ever end? Maybe when they move out and then we will miss the mess LOL! I especially hate the ” Get the kids to do it” They won’t do it because they don’t have the guilt factor that we were brought up with! … because we are trying to bring up well adjusted, happy kids…but I do wish they would feel a little guilty or helpful sometimes!

  • Diana

    Oh my goody good earth, I love you so much! All your posts make me feel less terrible of a mom. I’M NORMAL!! Haha! Sometimes I no longer want to buy my son toys and books just so we won’t be adding up another pile of things on the floor, but holy planet, he loves books and toys.

    I’ve been a reader a of your blog since late 2013, and I can’t leave! I have this subscribe-unsubscribe thing with other blogs but never yours. I love you good mama!

  • Ursula

    Oh man this is exactly how I feel, I also have fibromyalgia so CANT do everything, I no longer bother to fold DH clothes as I know they will just end up on the mountain of clothes between his side of the bed and his dresser (no seriously it is a mountain, it’s higher than my waist, I haven’t seen the floor on his side of the bed in months), I’ll put Miss 3’s clothes away in all the right drawers and put all the toys in her room away in the toy box then the next morning, I won’t be able to see her floor, toy box tipped out & spread over the floor along with all the clothes out of her dressers so she could put her soft toys to bed in the drawers, and gods help me if she managed to find a bottle of lotion and sneak it into her room before bed, it’ll be all over everything & I’ll have another 3 loads of washing to do or even worse if she got hold of any of my makeup, fortunately we own the house so I don’t have to worry about stains and drawing on he walls. Dishes get done when I nag DH enough to do them (the rule in our house is whoever cooks doesn’t do dishes, since I always cook…) and don’t even get me started on dishes in the lounge, (or blankets or pillows or bl**dy tools from DH latest project, aparently to him the lounge floor is the appropriate space to store them.) I don’t think he even knows what a wiping-cloth is for either, he certainly never seems to use one.

    and on top of all that we have child protection services telling us our house is to messy and dirty.

  • Jenny

    thank you – oh and I think I love you!

  • Jamey

    Our puppy piddles when he gets excited. On our carpets. And I care! But I also don’t. How can that be? ?

  • Mary

    Currently “cleaning” the high school art studio I teach in….you know, so I feel like an “organized” teacher. Hardy-fucking-har. I just found a cabinet full of unwashed palettes full of wasted paint. Kind of like when I moved and found my rule for “no food in the bedrooms” was being subverted: under my son’s bed were about 30% of my dishes and utensils. Why we didn’t have critters eating that shit is beyond me. Wait, maybe we did. What the hell, we moved.

  • Agata

    Awesome post! Thank you.

    I was explaining to my 2 yo about our trip to visit my parents next month, and when I asked him if he remembered Grandma’s house, his response was, ‘it all clean.’. Which is very true, and so very sad.

  • Melanie Misuraca

    I love this article. And how raw it is….lol….language. It made me lol…..sounds like me. And yes…..I try to keep home clean. My beautiful 7yr old tries her best. But we lol at her little 1yr old sister. She is our little hurricane. She follows us around the home…..and leaves a hurricane of learning. Inquisitive mess where ever she romes. Also a little vacuum cleaner. Funny story. We woke up to her one morning, playing and chewing. Clean, unused comdom packets. My 7yr old asks “mum what’s she playing with?” Omg did I change situation quickly. Thanku for sharing. I enjoyed laugh very much ♥♥♥♥♥

  • Jbee78

    Love it, love it, love it…thanks for being real!!!

  • Dawn

    Then you’d be wrong. I’m a clean freak. Even when my kids were small Id spend 4 or 5 hours a day cleaning. I’m the only one in the building allowed to have a dog for just that reason.

    • Melissa

      Then here’s your gold star and a cartwheel!

  • Evangeline

    I have 6.5 yrs old twin girls and 4 yrs old boy and homeschooling my twins. I am glad, I’m not alone. My husband always told me, what I am doing all day, crocheting? the house is a mess/tidy house. I always told him. I always clean and few minutes, its a messed again. I only do crocheting, If am stress. Thank you for posting it.

  • Krystal

    My house is actually relatively clean. My husband and I only have one son who has always been a somewhat organized kid (he’s 5). But I do have my weeks where I’m too tired from work to cook or clean. I know moms with spick and span homes. They got problems I don’t have time for LOL! I applaud the honesty of admitting your home is a mess. Being a good person is a better lesson to teach kids than how to clean a baseboard. No family’s perfect and thank God for that!

  • Amy DuBois

    I love you for making me feel like I’m NOT a shitty Mom! I have a messy house. The car title is somewhere in a pile under the kids artwork, stuck to the dried up jelly on the kitchen table. I’m NORMAL! Woooo hoooo! Thank you!

  • Brandi

    This is the story of my life. I did clean out the fridge and the front loading washer (who invested this and why did I think it was a good idea to buy it?), so I think I get the rest of the summer off.

  • Shay

    Love this! And it’s so nice to see another mom owning the mess. I’ve had to let SO many things go- the endless piles of laundry, the sticky fingerprints all over the coffee table, the crumbs and food spilt on the floor. I have had to take on the view that “it is what it is” and those who matter won’t care.

    Thanks again for such an honest, relatable post!

  • Leah

    Mother of three boys here. My home is well lived in and certainly NOT a museum! I have found the perfect solution for feeling bad about a messy house. When I feel overwhelmed, I sit on the couch, turn on an episode of hoarders and watch as much as I can before I have to pull a Lego out of someone’s nose or wipe a poopy butt. Then, when I look around in comparison, my home is not so bad! Problem solved!!!!!

  • Rachel

    I don’t think that its that tough to have a clean home. I have 3 children they all know how to pick up their things and if they don’t they lose the privilege to use that toy. If I walked into your home with it looking like that I would think you jumped off the deep end and needed therapy. My house is clean, my children (2 boys, 1 girl) know better and respect their home. I wasn’t allowed to destroy my bedroom and leave it like that when I was a child. I of my children is Autistic and even he knows better than to leave shit all over the place. Going on some rant and rave about how the rest of us are liars or good at shoving things out of a camera frame is just a really sad excuse. My child will throw a fit destroy his room and come back regroup and we clean it. He does not get to throw a fit and regroup and leave it a mess. Hell Fucking No. I am sure there are other posts of yours about not brushing your hair, or putting on make up, or letting your children not share. This was the first one I read and I just think its sad really. Just clean your house, or parent your children to clean up after themselves. Pretty simple. 🙂

    • katha

      I’m sorry this is the first time you read an article here. If it wasn’t, you’d know that they are meant to be funny.
      It’s great you have a clean house and you taught your children to help you.
      I just wonder if you teach them to be polite and respectful too? Or do they talk degrading about people who are different – like you did in your post?
      Just tell them everyone is different and other opinions should be tolerated. Pretty simple 😉

      • Laura

        Perfect, Katha. =)

      • Anne

        You are rad

      • Janelle

        Katha you nailed it. And how the fuck did hair-brushing get into this?
        She’s unhinged. Straight up ruined in the brains like the others of her kind. If people like you didn’t exist on this thread I’d think humanity should just throw in the towel.

        Okay but can you imagine having these women for MOTHERS? Lord help the children.

        • Janelle

          I’m totally fucked in the head because my mother is a raving holier than thou bitch BUT AT LEAST MY ROOM IS CLEAN.

    • Arin

      we have 5 kids too and I find it helps to go room by room and everyone picks up so many things (usually the living room requires 10 things each person and then it’s done)We work front of the house to back and that this really seems to help out-plus my kids don’t go anywhere unless their rooms are clean and chores are done. Summer time-my life feels crazy with them all home but we try. My house is not organized but my front living spaces that people see upon entering MUST be clean. In my life i see kids rise to the expectation level. If they know what is expected they will do what is asked-especially if it mean they are going to miss out on something if they don’t. I have threatened losing sports practices/games too. Whatever works. My kids also cannot play on electronic devices unless their chores are done too. If they sneak around and do it before chores they lose it-or tv/computer time. It’s definitely an unending battle to keep my house clean and functioning-it’s not, and I repeat-not ever pinterest worthy but it’s clean enough for me. I don’t judge anyone either but I know it’s possible to have a clean home if that is what you want and expect from your kids. I also threated to throw their toys in the trash or give them away and have done both a few times. They learn momma is not kidding 🙂 But we still have alot of fun!! Everyone does things their own way-and it’s totally OK

      • Arin

        I don’t think as women we should compare ourselves to anyone else but our own selves. When you compare you either feel bad about yourself and or see bad in someone else-it’s a no win situation. Lets be kind to eachother and support eachother in raising our kids y’all!!

  • Kate

    [insert random awkward hug from a total stranger here]

  • FratHouse

    Thank you thank you for this post! I always say I live in a frat house (mamma to boys) — glad to see that I have company! On the plus side, kiddos feel free to have a blast when friends come over to play!

  • Kerry

    I get stressed not only over our messy house, but also because of how small our house is. We live on the edge of a very affluent neighborhood, in a section of VERY small, old houses. My kids are in school now and always wanting to bring friends home. My kids have been to their friend’s McMansions a few times, and I always leave the play date feeling like the troll under the bridge. I know it’s not important overall, but it takes work to not feel inadequate. I love reading your blog – it helps me focus on what’s real and what’s just fluff. So then I put on some Pink or some Ani and get over myself.

  • Emily Donahue

    My favorite line from any tv show is from an oldie called 30 Something. The husband walks in to chaos and she says. I have cleaned this up twice today b but not since 5:00.That was my life. Pick it up 5 min later it turns to shit

  • Nicole

    Thank you…just thank you. As I sit on my couch frozen by the enormity of my cleaning task, I needed your honesty. Thank you

  • Shanimama

    Same. Same. Same!!
    I did draw the line when the kids wanted to let the puppy poop get hard before they picked it up tho…. winning.
    please imagine my pure, unadulterated excitement when a local housekeeper offered to clean my house in exchange for Pure Romance products?!! It was like I won the lottery…. legit.
    I’d considered hiring help before but felt guilty… true story…. finally I had an excuse because she approached me!
    Helloooooooooo!!?!?!? Calling all the crazymamas?!!!
    Here’s your written permission slip to hire a mofo to wipe behind your commodes….and pour some clorox down the drains, and to vacuum the hairy stairs, and to wipe down all the sticky, and my bed…the bitch makes my muhfuckin bed…. I actually teared up about that.
    It’s like Christmas comes every Wednesday at 6 pm when she leaves….until 6:07 when the 3 kids, 3 dogs, whichever friend/softball team is staying….come crashing through the door….and it’s ruined in seconds.
    My point is this… be kind, smile at your children, ask for help when you need it, live in your house, don’t expect any awards for any of that crap.
    God Bless America.

  • carmon

    I find it very comically written and find myself in the same boat at times. I would have loved to share it with a friend but the language is…. well.

  • Luna

    I’m such a Clean Mother, I ensure every member of the family bleaches and scrubs their assholes thoroughly before bed, even the dog. I will not tolerate flecks of fecal matter in the air my children breathe every time someone passes gas! How incompetent are you that you can’t even be bothered to take care of basic hygiene?!

    Jesus, lady. -_-

    This post made my day. I’d rather spend my free moments hunting bugs and splashing in creeks with my son. Sure, we make the house even messier when we get home, but we made something beautiful in the process: memories of adventure. 🙂

  • Maria

    This post makes me appreciate what a saint my mother was for not strangling me. She used to have me clean my room. I’d clean it…. show her physical proof of cleanliness……. Then I would shut the door and proceed to take every single item out of every single drawer/container/closet… because I got anxious when I couldn’t “see my things”.
    Needless to say, I look forward to having a house like yours with my impending infant.

  • unknown

    I have 4 kids and of course this is how my house normally looked! Unfortunately my neighbor who got mad over my kids outdoor toys being all over our yard and driveway called cps. They actually took my kids away and gave me a list of everything that had to be fixed before they could move back! It wasn’t even that bad. They said there couldn’t be any laundry piles, no more than 1 dirty laundry bin, all plug ins had to have those little safety things in them. No more than 2 full place settings in the sink, all beds had to be made and the kitchen table had to be clear to show your able to sit down to eat at the table! My floors we’re clean allnthe laundry piles we’re clean, yes the kitchen table had books and kids homework all over it! No their beds we’re not made! My kids are 9, 7, 4 and 1. My 3 girls had Teddy bears all over their beds which i was quickly informed by the case worker that it’s not safe! And yes there are 6 of us so there we’re more dirty dishes than he said was acceptable! The work cleaning took maybe an hour to get straightened up. The big part of our messy house was clean clothes and toys so picking everything up and putting up didn’t take long. That cps worker had my kids back at home the very same night! He got a very long and rude lecture from my husband and as it turned out he didn’t even have children of his own!

  • Dot

    Girl, I feel you. We have six that live at home, and the bonus kids will probably be here sometime this summer (if their mom “allows” them to spend time with their dad, for the third time in the last 5 years). The line about Stalin made me LOL and I came thisclose to copying it to facebook because IT’S TRUE.
    Kudos girlfriend. You’re rockin’ it.
    Even if you don’t think you are.

  • De

    Wow there’s a big difference between a dirty house because you have children and a dirty house because you don’t clean it and haven’t in months or years.(which is unexceptable and straight up nasty) I a mother (considered a clean freak by friends) of three 8,4 and 9 mths plus a dog have worked full time and kept a clean house. Even now as a stay at home mom my house is clean.Maybe 30 mins a day I spend cleaning up around the house. The only thing that I hate is laundry!! Everyday f-ing day there’s laundry!! I admit I wash what’s needed so the hamper isnt over flowing onto the and it doesn’t look as messy lol… There’s those days when feel like doing nothing and I have those and even the rest of the clean freaks out there probably have them to but don’t want to admit to. We are only human and can only do so much. My children won’t hate me because there’s shit all over the floor or there favorite shirt isn’t clean nor will that fact that I am cleaning and they have to help or go outside so they are out of my way. And my husband dare not bitch or he won’t have clean underwear the following week and lunch and supper won’t be on the table when he gets home!

  • Denise B.

    Sorry, but I have to disagree. I have four children (22, 21, 11, and 7), and my house has always been kept clean, neat, and organized; and that’s no lie. I was brought up in a house where my mother kept everything clean, neat, and organized; and I learned from her how to keep house. It doesn’t take that much of an effort to keep the house in such condition if you just pick up and clean as you go along and make sure everything is organized and stored properly and things that aren’t needed or used anymore aren’t just laying around somewhere instead of getting rid of it.

  • Laura

    You totally get me! “Sometimes my life feels like one missing shoe and drawers that won’t close.” This is my life, and I have #4 on the way… you give me hope <3

  • wende

    Wow, I definantly needed this today. I live in a 3 bedroom home with 5 kids and 3 adults including myself. Kids have chores but the 5 &3yo don’t do much. The 9yo takes an hour to empty the dishwasher and whines the entire time he is in there. The 13 yo cleans most of her area area and the 16yo gripes and agitates the others when half – assing his chores. I wash dry, fold and put away all laundry. I hang what needs hung and have everyone put their own hang ups away. So annoying cause I can do this all day plus run kids wherever on a daily bases while one adult plays games and looks for work and the other works 40+ hours a week but if 9yo has kitchen and doesn’t finish it, the working adult will go in and DO IT FOR HIM! Makes me so mad. The other kids see this too. Ahhhh, just wanna scream and I’m always aaking myself why I even bother.

  • destiny

    you seriously made my day renegademama:) obviously you just know the happy homes from the sad miserable ones like a few of these people. im so glad to know that im not the only one that has a hard time managing a clean house with kids.

  • Fussmama

    If it weren’t for the fact that my husband does more than half of the household chores, our home would be a disaster! We each work roughly the same number of hours, with me working from home as well as being a part time student. I firmly believe, especially after having kids; that the total amount of household chores that need be done are way too much for one person to bear. We as moms put too much pressure on ourselves. I do not know how the “clean mothers” of the world do it, but a saying we have in our house is “this ain’t the fucking fifties”. Haha.

  • Amy

    My house goes through cycles. I feel better when it’s clean, I can’t think straight in a big mess. I’ll do some hardcore cleaning and organizing them maintain it nicely…until we get sick or busy and it all implodes for months. Hah!

  • Sharon H

    I agree totally with you but think the language is not necessary. Not a prude …. but do you seriously speak like that around your kids?

    • Dot

      what if she does?

    • Anne

      It’s HER blog. You get to choose the words when it’s YOUR blog.

    • Collie

      Where the fuck do these people come from? And where the fuck do they get off being the word police for someone else’s blog posts?

    • Melissa

      Jack mother fucking Daniels! Seriously?! If you have to say “not a prude” then yes…you are most definitely a fucking prude! Yes I ask my 3 kiddos (12,11,7) “Are you fucking kidding me?!” multiple times a day and guess what….they are great well rounded kids who still don’t pick up after themselves all the time. But again, they aren’t robots and neither am I. Thank you Renegade Mama for your hilarious honesty that us normal folk can relate to!

  • Not A Dick

    Whew. I think I need to bookmark this! I am a single mother of 2 (3 and 11), I work full time (with commute and stops at daycare, my work day is usually 7:15-5:30 or 6:00). I have an older 2 bedroom house that I am renovating/improving on my own. I have moved my bedroom into the living room, and moved the living room into the dining room, just so that my son and daughter can have their own space (for the 3 year old’s safety. If he got into her art supplies one more time I think his sister would have kicked him out!) We have limited storage, so even after multiple purges of STUFF we still are stuck with clutter on top of construction/painting supplies. Between cooking, general housecleaning, laundry, picking up after the dog and cat, tending to our flock of chickens, scrubbing walls and painting, remodeling the kitchen piece by piece on my own, landscaping, gardening, general yard maintenance, and that little thing called spending time with my kids before they go off to college, my house is usually a wreck. I get caught up on dishes about twice a week. Laundry tends to get sorted into individual piles and MAYBE put away once a month. I love that feeling when ALL of the clothes are washed, the bedding is clean, and everything is hung/put in drawers. And then I turn around and find a full load waiting for me. How does that happen?! There just isn’t enough hours in the day to do it all, even with having the kids help. So, I do what is necessary for our health and physical well-being, and divvy up the rest as time allows, which often means the difference between sweeping/mopping/vacuuming or taking the weed whacker to the weeds that have grown a foot in a week. Doing two full time jobs (supporting my family plus raising my family) it’s not possible to have a CLEAN house every day. Unless I don’t sleep. Ever. Not gonna happen!

    • Not A Dick

      I dream of the day I own a dishwasher! I think I will feel that same peace/elation that I felt when I got a dryer to go with the clothes line! Golly I miss the days of being a SAHM who wasn’t frazzled to death by dinner time.

  • Zakadabug

    I had surgery almost a month ago and can not walk without assistance. So my house has been a natural disaster area. My 12 year old daughter’s room could easily be on the next episode of Hoarders. I’ve found myself crying as “perfect moms” talk about how they did it with more kids than I (I have 2 and one is just shy of 17m). Well, I don’t know how. They must not be making memories like we are. But this just made my day. I was saying how I’m failing at homemaking but now I feel like putting my Super Mom cape back on.

    • Dot

      You got this girl. It’s rough now, but remember, there’s going to be a light at the end of the tunnel when you can get it all “back together”. Call a friend and ask for help, or do like me and threaten to toss it all out the window and light it on fire 😉

  • Mandi

    YYYEEEEESSSSSS!!! I’ve been trying to get this across for yrs… Not only to myself but to others who, like you said, are effing liars! We have 5 children, but even back at 2 kids THIS was out house…
    You, Mama, are a valid inspiration to all! Thank you for this post!

  • Amy

    Thanks I really needed to read this today. Really fed up today like throw everything on the lawn with a FREE SH!T sign kind of fed up. Our house is always a disaster no matter what I do. I also have four kids. They are 8, 5, 2 and 1. It’s gonna be a long summer fml

  • Brynn

    This had me rolling! And the comments even more so!! ? I will say, I find my kids only want to play in their room when it’s clean. So when they say, “I’m bored,” I make them clean it. I have to sit in their room and read a book while they clean to ensure its done in 20 min or less. Then I can go back to what I’m doing while they proceed to play in their room. We spend plenty of time doing family activities like swimming, hiking, game night, movies, etc. But mom needs mom time too! And I can clean a little bit while they are playing (usually the kitchen to have room to cook the next meal! Hahaha).

  • Claire

    I tell everyone that every Popsicle stick, pair of underwear, Baggie of old raisins, etc is strategically placed in an art installation meant to represent the modern family. Fighting children? No, that’s interpretive dance. I get strange looks, but at least I feel entertained.

    • Dot

      I like you Claire. 😀

  • Emily

    My mom raised two kids, one with Autism and one with ADD, took us to activities and therapies, had (HAS) a husband and cats, and worked a JOB (nights and weekends, people), ALL on top of having multiple forms of arthritis, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, and constant pain.

    She kept a clean house, unlike this filthy pigsty.

    No excuse.

  • Rachel @ The Mama Files

    I hear you, I hear you, I hear you.

    I spend my life picking up crap and doing laundry and packing the dishwasher which only needs to be packed again the next day, FFS.

    And I only have one kid, so I can’t even complain about any of the above. He’s at the age though where he likes to go to his personal bookcase (yes I made him a library at baby level, I am an idiot) and pull everything out, then step on it and try to balance on piles of books. It invariably ends in tears and me repacking the bookcase about 5678 times a day.

    In between stickytaping the pop-up books back together that he has enthusiastically destroyed.

    Fun and games Janelle 🙂

    • Kelly

      @ Rachel: Fuck it. I leave out the damn books until the end of the day. And everything else. I am only picking that shit up once. 🙂

      I try to keep my place clean, but I have much less problem with a husband I have recently dismissed, and only one kid. But still. As long as my kid doesn’t drink out of the toilet or be mangled in some horrible way, I win at parenting. So there!

  • Julia

    Just found your blog and I LOVED this post! My house is always in some sort of disarray. I hate the nagging feeling that mess gives me. I wish it was clean all the time. You know how some people are jealous of skinny girls in magazines? Well I’m jealous of perfectly appointed, clean and organized rooms pictured in magazines and on blogs. There are several women at my kid’s bus stop and they seem to have perfect homes. I visited two of their homes once and they were unbelievably spottless. I live in fear that one of these women will drop in unexpectably and then I’ll either have to die of embarrassment or move to a different town.

    • Dot

      Naw, offer them a seat as you move the clean laundry and ask if they’d like to help you fold it.
      If they get snippy about it, tell them they can’t leave your living room until it’s all done 😛

  • Jennifer

    Loved this post, It is just wonderful. I truly sometimes feel like my three kids trash the living room in record time after I clean it, just to mess with me. Anyway, it’s very empowering to know other good moms are having the same challenges.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Angelee

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

    Now I don’t feel like the slob from the pig farm. My husband is OCD and everything has a place and it should be in its place, and why can’t you get it there? I have a 15 yr old and a small home daycare with two 1 year olds. They are 15 days apart! If the trays make it from the high chair to the sink… It’s a good day! If they get rinsed… Jesus has come back and rinsed them himself!! (Forgive my blasphemy) When the kids go home… If I can cook dinner and find enough brain cells to help with home work… Then I’m through.

    My husband works overnights… So, it’s keep the kids quiet so as not to wake him, keep the place organized, and be a decent human when he gets up… My house is a pit… until 9pm when I get it ready for the next day… but the upstairs, and the basement… Trashed!!! The daycare do not use those spaces! LOL!

    Oh… Answer me this please!!! How On God’s Green Earth, do the towels from the bathroom used for after baths/showers, end up lying next to the litter box out in the mud room?!?

  • Busy

    There are some moms that are organized and have all their shit together and house cleaned laundry done ect. I am not that mom. I have 3 kids 6,10 and 12. One in tball, one in soccer one in baseball right now. Not to mention fall sports and homework on top of that. Everybody’s different some may have a more supportive or helpfull spouse than others. Usually the more supportive spouse shows support of the “helping with kids” end vs “the helping w cleaning and cooking ” end, but some spouses do not help at all and that makes it hard. I work full time and love spending time with my kids. I cook them home cooked meals and finally find time to do housework on my days off as well as trying to fit other things into our weekend. So basically my house stays a mess untill the weekend and then is clean for one day. there was a mother of one of our local radio hosts on air once and I can’t remember what they were talking about but she said her one regret as a mother was spending too much time keeping her house clean and not spending that precious time with her kids:)

  • Charity R

    I grew up with a SUPER CLEAN FREAK MOM. In all caps, just like that. We actually had white carpet in one house! We literally NEVER did anything like Arts and Crafts. No fingerpainting, no playdough, no markers, no crayons. My mom was always stressed out and cleaning. I remember being screamed at to help clean, then my mom would go after me and re-do my chore while pointing out all the ways my effort had been inadequate. Lol, i QUICKLY came to the conclusion that if i can’t do it right anyway, why bother doing it at all?
    I’m thankful every day that my SO is a clean person who does all of the laundry, picks up the house, and does dishes half the time. But whenever he goes out of town the kitchen gets out of control and the rest of the house soon follows!

  • sharpmama

    Could have put away the three baskets of clean laundry before bed tonight. Spent 1/2 an hour reading this blog and the comments instead. I’m totally ok with that. #laundryfail #mommywin

  • Kay

    There were two time periods when my house was absolutely spotless. Once when I was 8 months pregnant and depressed as hell and once after my third was born, because it turns out my antidepressant makes me totally manic and so I cleaned like a crazy person. Because… I literally was a crazy person. But don’t worry, I went back on my mood stabilizer and Presto! My house is now back to a shit storm. Even my bedroom is trashed, and my kids aren’t allowed in it. Huh. But hey! I am not crazy anymore!

  • Teedotta

    I cannot believe that their are people out there that can clean their house and keep things tidy and organized every.single.day.of.their.lives. How the hell do you not get sick of it?!?! You people are weird and strange and I assume never fucking let loose. Thank you for your post Janelle!! Made me laugh and feel normal yet again!

  • wendy

    swear to god I ask the kids to clean their rooms its like pulling teeth, I get one room done and the next gets hit by a twister, im hard on my teens, and it means shit all I totally feel you, I do see other mothers homes clean and im like how do you do it? so stressful

  • Mama123

    Has anybody here heard of Flylady? Helped me immensely get things into manageable routines. You can google her!

  • Saundra

    Oh my gosh this is me to the T, all the way down to the four kids and the baby and the clothes spewing everywhere, The dishes, the outgrown baby clothes, the laundry, the car floor and the fact that there are about 50 comments above this one tells me that there are millions of us like this out there! Thank you for the reality check!

  • Saundra

    Oh Heather I have one with autism too, I feel you there!

  • Natalie

    What a great blog, thank you. I’m a mummy with 3 kids, dog and husband. I live in a crazy house too. My mums a clean freak and taught us kids to be clean and tidy. She was always cleaning and had the house perfect and we would come home to home cooked biscuits after school. She never played or hung out with us kids and you weren’t allowed to leave the house without putting on clean clothes, doing your hair and putting shoes on. I think I rebelled! Spending all your time ensuring everything’s clean and organised is bullshit. As long as your clean, you’ve got clean clothes to wear, clean dishes to use, a clean space to cook and eat, a clean toilet, a space you can relax and a space where you can play then all is good. I have a hard time just trying to do that! Recently I quit doing dishes and have told my husband and 11 yr old that it is now their responsibility. I said I won’t cook if there isn’t enough clean dishes. There is always a pile of dishes constantly now and I have to get them to do dishes sometimes so we can eat! But now I seem to have time to keep the rest of the house reasonably clean and tidy and have started to get to things that get neglected without a big major effort. Playing with the toys is more important then putting them away, reading the books is better then putting them back on shelf, making mud pies is better then weeding. Having a super clean and organised house is no fun. The struggle to keep a clean and tidy house is full on! Keeping everybody happy including myself is more important. I don’t get those mums that seem to have their shit together, my floors lucky to stay clean after vacuuming for a few hours a day at most and then you can’t see it again. Thank you for making me feel normal ?

    • Natalie

      *oh and no mould helps ?

  • Tracey

    My house is picked up, but far from clean and “organized clutter” is more fitting. I am Bipolar and currently on the worst depression swing in years. My 13 yr old daughter has Aspergers, ADHD, and shares in the Bipolar genetics but is predominantly manic. My 9 yr old son has severe ADHD and is showing signs of also having the mood disorder. My 5 yr old da ugh yet is a diva with out a diagnosis and while the Diva part can go at anytime I hope the lack of a diagnosis stays. My husband has pretty dialing ADD (and trust me, I didn’t know AD(H)D could be “severe or disabling until I met him and had my son. Hyper is only a small part. Things get broken on accident, let behind, missplaced, left ON, forgotten about, stepped over, thrown away, and straight up neglected with out intent. They have the attention span of a gnat and the ability to focus on clean up for even less. Because of our “dynamics”, we clean house once a week. All of us. We have set jobs the we do daily as part of our routine, but the big stuff like vacuuming and laundry,we do once a week. Even then, shit goes to pot. Why? Because the ring leader of this a asylum is Bipolar! If my mood is down, like it is now, everything comes to a grinding stop! And not unless I feel up to screaming orders from bed (or Dad is so freaked out because I am that bad off and he is only thinking about to make me feel better) does shit ever get done. It sucks, but it is my life. I would live to have the ability to keep my place “tidy and spot one,” but unless I get extremely Manic, that will never happen. One can not clean up the mess if 4 makin f the mess of 40.

    In short, do not assume you know all of our lives. Just because you can keep a Martha Stewart home, doesn’t mean everyone can. And I am sorry, but there at lady has OCD issues and just happened to make a “tidy” profit off her disorder.

    You say you have a gorgeous clean home, I say there are deeper issues with you and that makes you no better than me. So kiss it!!!!

  • Rachel

    Thanks. I am glad I am in good company.
    It is a law of physics that two seconds after you clean a kids room it reverts back to its original mess

  • Jamie Leigh

    I used to have this. My biggest problem was just too much stuff. I spent so much time cleaning up the mess that I had trouble living the happy life. Four weeks ago I began clearing out my house using the new method of Konmari. It sounded weird but I needed something. I went from my 6 year old having 3 pairs of shoes to 1 pair and from a dozen pairs of pants to 4. Yes that seems extreme. But I do laundry every other day. He wore the same 3 pairs of pants and they were shot so I tossed them. Now he wears different pants just as much. I did the same to everything in the house. So now I just scoop up 1 pair of shoes and don’t have clothes on the floor when he goes for his comfy pants. Instead of 8 toy bins he has 2 bins. He can find his favorite toys easily. I clean less. Life is much happier. Yes I had a lot to get rid of but it went to a shelter and that is good. I took everything off the counter and put dishes right into the dishwasher immediately. Now when I make dinner it is easy to tidy up. I love it. A tidy home is achievable but it requires you to only live with the things you really do need. Then you have less to clean and move time to live.

  • Better Than You

    I have seven children — one for every day of the week (this makes creating the chore chart FAR easier). Each one of my children has a list of duties they must perform daily and even the nine-month-old can separate laundry into brights, whites, and eight different shades of taupe. You see, it’s really quite simple to keep a tidy house — any idiot with half a brain, 36 hours in a day, and at least seven children can keep their home tongue-licking clean. That’s right, ladies, you can forget that outdated white glove test — that’s what losers use. I check the cleanliness of my home by running my tongue over every surface. And yes, even lazy, disorganized failures can birth the perfect number of chore-chart children if you simply spend a little more time family planning and a little less time sitting on your ass reading Star Gossip magazine. OF course, I’ve come to the logical conclusion that you all read that junk (trashy home/trashy mind), whereas, I can read War and Peace backwards while preparing a HOME-COOKED five-course meal and farting Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring out of my squeaky-clean and perfectly-pitched asshole. And do you know WHY I choose to do this?? Because every one of my children DESERVE it — well, except maybe for that one little bitch who keeps hanging all her beautiful dresses on wire hangers. In any case, it’s clear to me that I love them MORE than any of you irresponsible “mothers” could ever love yours. And you know who else deserves a perfectly kept home? My husband. And you know what else he deserves? A BJ. Yes that’s right, time-wasters, when I am not cooking, cleaning, licking surfaces, or forcing my children to play in a 3 x 3 square-foot area, I’m on my Swiffer-covered, multi-tasking hands and knees attending to my husband’s every whim. I simply don’t understand anyone who can’t manage all this and more and I question your commitment to your family. I truly pity those poor
    unhappy unloved dears considering that many are living in homes which are simply ticking CPS-time bombs. Perhaps you should have thought long and hard before getting married and having children in the first place, hmmmmm? Too late now, I suppose. Fortunately, for you there are moms like me who can point out all your parental and wifely shortcomings. You’re welcome.

    • Heather

      Holy hell this made iced tea come out my nose. Great another mess to clean up. Guess I better wake up one of the kids lmao

    • renegademama

      Fucking GENIUS. I love you people.

  • Debbie

    These “clean” people are so full of it! I have two kids that I have been teaching to pick up after themselves since they were old enough to bend over and pick something up without falling on their faces. Now they are 11 and 15 and I argue with both of them all day, every day about picking up after themselves and cleaning their rooms! This article makes me feel like I wasted so much time that I could have spent loving and playing with them. Give it up folks! There have been a lot of doctors reporting lately that the front part of our brains is what controls our impulse and guilt and ability to look ahead and make better decisions AND… that part of our brains doesn’t fully develop until we’re in our mid 20’s. So spend time with your kids and let them be kids as much as possible. The problem wont go away but the kids will. 🙂 I hope I can get enough control over my OCD and anal bullshit in time to make some better memories with mine.

  • Jo

    My mother in law said one of the most comforting things ever to me along these lines. She now has an insanely gorgeous today house and saw the true state of mine when came round to help while I was sick last week – normally I stash and dash beforehand. She said her house always looked that way with kids in it – you’ve got plenty of time for a clean house when the kids leave. Her friend did have the elusive tidy house and used to get at her about it but didn’t really spend time with her kids. Now as adults she is so close with her boys but friends kids aren’t a v close family or spend much time together. I know I’d rather be messy and close 🙂

  • Danielle

    This is sstupidi have a one year old and a three year old daughter (3) as well as a 30 year old man and my house is clean. I don’t like a messy house. And i work at night and sleep during the day. But my house stays clean and I’m the only one who cleans the house.

  • Jaclyn

    inhs w no issue with anyone’s messy house. I do take issue with bashing others. Calling other mothers liars because there is no way anyone could have kids and keep a clean house! That is totally BS! My house is clean and I teach my kids to clean up after themselves. I don’t go to bed with toys all over, dishes in the sink, dirty cloths on the floor, ect. It’s not that hard if you keep up on it. But honestly I could careless about what you do in your home. But the bashing of each other has to stop!! We should be lifting each other up, the point is to raise happy, heathy, kind and caring children right??!!

  • Carolyn

    husband – two kids -two dogs 40 -60 hour work week – two Girl Scout troops -helped with town recreation( volunteer) crazy lifestyle -always some activity going on – constant people dropping in – to visit or follow up for something! House constantly trashed- bought two huge garbage containers – cranked the stereo loudest -set timer- kids had 1/2 hour to retrieve stuff-whatever they did not pick up ,I did-bag it in black garbage bag and kept for a month -did not matter what it was-took about three months and started to notice less crap left everywhere -granted -kids were 8 and 10 ! I highly recommend the garbage cans (lol) picking up with music blasting -all of us got into – then out of house to do fun stuff ! Life is about fun… No one remember the good times cleaning !

  • Kelly

    I live with my two children, their father and his mother….. I do all the cleaning (so it only gets done when I have time)…I have a sanitary house just not tidy (at all)…I really don’t care clean clothes, food in bellies and smiles on faces that is what is important to me!!

  • Pamela

    Don’treadcommentsdon’treadcommentsdon’treadcomments… Will I never learn?

    To the humorless ladies with neat homes. Why are you reading self-deprecating humor that you can’t relate to? Why is it important not only to comment negatively but to disparage others. I assure you, you too, have faults, weaknesses, and imperfections. Best to laugh at yourself now and then.

    To everyone else, I am crying laughing at this.

  • Christie

    Trying to keep a house clean with kids ( I have four) Is like shovelling during a snow storm 🙂

  • Courtney

    I’m not looking forward to the day I have to deal with all this ! Lol. I only have one child at the moment so it’s fairly easy for me to keep my house the way I like it. Now I can definitely see it being hard if you have more than just one child. I can definitely see it being impossible to keep a tidy house.

  • Sally

    I’m a teacher during the school year, and starting every March the mantra is “that will wait until the school year is over”, whether that is washing all the wool or cleaning the guest room or organizing the 14 junk drawers or taking the outgrown everything to goodwill. Then June comes around and I work like a dog (not any dog of ours, that is) to get it done.

    Like many here, I tend to be Stalin in the living room, and I keep up with the dishes as best I can. But what keeps everything at a level of livable is that guest room–it’s like the Dorian Gray of my house. Everything gets dumped there and the door shuts. We obviously never have guests.

  • Ja Dee

    In all honesty, you probably contributed to the mess in the house after the two days. BUT, I can understand why. Kids are exhausting to take care of, especially when they become unhappy about something.

    Hopefully when they’re a little older it’ll be a little easier to keep things clean! (Although by that point, you may have just given up on that ordeal)

  • Jess

    No kids – I actually let my house get messy just to have something to do later. I would clean it all up & feel amazing. I judged people with messy houses. I ESPECIALLY judged those with kids and messy houses! The HORROR!

    1 kid – the house was pretty damn clean! He was/is a tidy child. He made things easy. I just THOUGHT it was challenging. I continued to judge. You have 5 kids, put them to work and clean that cesspool you call a house!!!!

    2 kids – after new born stage things went back to normal, the house was pretty clean. Then life caught up to me. I had had an easy ride for long enough!!!!!

    I could give examples of what happened when life bitch slapped me, but I won’t cuz there’s gonna be a riot here in my living room in 2.7 seconds. Life kicked me down and did a little victory dance.

    Maybe I can’t keep my house clean cuz my kids are toddlers, cuz I’m lazy, cuz we are at home too much, cuz we have three pets, cuz the husband works too much, cuz I’m not a good wife/mother. Whatever. It isn’t clean. It sucks and I don’t want anyone to see it.

    I seriously just lost my train of thought. Fuck me.

    Well it was an amazing train of thought, it had profound answers. And now it’s gone.

    My life is a mess. I still judge other people. Mostly, I judge myself. My life is a mess and there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I need to do. There isn’t enough of me. Yeah, I’m gonna keep trying to be better at this shit and life is gonna continue to kick my ass. It’s a thing. Tidy houses with people living in them are not a thing. Ask Janelle she knows the truth.

  • Amy

    This article infuriates me. My house has never, nor will ever, look like this. I have four children and a husband. Six people living in my home and it’s not gross like this. My kitchen is clean. If course I am a professional cook. I can’t operate in a mess. My dishes are done every day. I do ONE load of laundry at a time. Sure, I have toys strung about but we pick them up multiple times a day. My kids are very loved. We go to church, the library, they go swimming often. And we do other organized outings one in a while. But I always find time to clean my house. And it’s makes me angry to a point of no return that this woman puts us, clean mothers, down and calls us liars. Maybe you shove your crap aside for pictures. And maybe you live like a slob. But that does not mean everyone does.

    • renegademama

      THIS POST IS SARCASM. Nobody really thinks all people with tidy houses are “liars” or fakes. Jesus Christ didn’t your teachers show you how to read TONE?

  • No traditional mothering

    I’m a mother raising a family, not a drill sergeant housing my troop of military kids.
    I will not hound my kids to clean every single thing they touch every single day. My house is messy and chaotic. How does someone have 3 home cooked meals a day? Do your kids go to school? Or do you hand deliver their home cooked meals to the cafeteria at school? Hmmmm.maybe homeschooling. That would make sense. Is that a cooking class?
    Regardless, everyone will judge everyone. But I KNOW my family is happier not being scared to move something or that the table got sticky because the matriarch of the house doesn’t give a shit!

  • Debbie

    I just realized that I didn’t really explain my frontal brain comment very well. The reason it has to do with this article is because… it affects their ability to CARE about cleaning up their stuff, NOT throw everything in their hands on the floor just because they don’t need it right that minute, worry about what will happen if they DO throw everything on the floor and how anyone else might feel about it. etc 🙂

  • Beth

    ROFLOL!!! I just had to share with you…I re-posted this on my FB page and my mother chastised me for posting my house on there!!! She didn’t realize it was the cover photo for this blog! THAT is how similar my house looks to this. FYI, I have three kids…ages 9, 4, and 1. Maybe that is the reason our houses look so similar!

  • Betsey

    Oh man. Yesterday I cleaned my house (took quite a while). Today I asked my 7-year-old to clean her room and 30 minutes later found her in my (recently cleaned) bathroom, the sink full of bluish, chunky water. She was shoveling the chunk water into a bucket (like a beach pail with shovel) and getting the slop all down the side of the sink and onto the floor.

    Come to discover she decided to paint in her room instead of clean it, got the floor covered in paint, then her hands, then went to wash them in the bathroom with TOILET PAPER (wads and wads of it) and water.


  • Janet R

    This seems to be a HOT topic! Difficult not to be judgmental – from either side – in a hot topic, but I’m going to try.

    Messy vs. Dirty, in MY dictionary (your mileage may vary): When you wade through floating dog hair, that’s messy. When much of that dog hair is stuck to dried apple juice spots on the floor, that’s dirty. When there are (mostly) whole Cheerios scattered on the kitchen floor, that’s messy. When there are Cheerios in all degrees of brokenness and decay scattered throughout the house, that’s dirty and will attract insects which will possibly invade your pantry. When your kids can write their names in dust on any given surface in the house, that’s messy. When mud from last week hasn’t been cleaned from the carpet, that’s dirty and will cost money in the long run. In the bathroom, when there are wet towels on the floor and toothpaste in the sink and hair building up in the corners, that’s messy. When the toilet is shitty and there is urine on the floor next to the toilet, that’s dirty and whoever gets stomach sick next will be extra-grossed out. When clothes both clean and dirty are scattered about the house, that’s messy. When all the clothes are always dirty, that’s dirty and might mean that your kids are not properly clothed for the weather. When Legos have exploded all over the house, that’s messy. When snack wrappers and popsicle sticks and dirty dishes have exploded all over the house, that’s dirty. When last night’s dishes are still stacked on the kitchen counter tonight, that’s messy. (How much of the counter dishes take up depends on how much effort it took to cook the meal, and how long it takes to use all your dishes depends on how many dishes you have and how many friends were over.) When last week’s dishes are in the oven and still sitting on the stove where they were used, that’s dirty.

    Since the youngest person living in our household is 18 and my dog quit shedding due to a medical condition, my house is more likely to get dirty than messy, mostly the toilets and those cooking pots from four days ago. Kids will survive a little bit of dirt (I happen to think it’s good for ‘em), but a perpetually dirty house – whatever that is according to your dictionary – probably means you should keep working toward better habits. And if your kids aren’t allowed to take their toys out of their bedroom, well, my heart is just really sad for your kids and you.


    You save my life with every post. I wished I’d known you years ago. (The Mindful Way Through Depression was a Godsend.)

  • Tiffany

    I was literally crying as I read this! I had just sat down at the computer for a two minute break after 3 hours of cleaning, and came across this. I feel this exact same way every day with a 7 and a 2 year old! I applaud you for writing this. This is the truest post I have ever read in my life! Yes, I would like more than 15 minutes of a clean floor, but then I look at at my boys, see how happy they are making the messes, and just smile; until the next day when I bitch the entire time I’m cleaning up! LOL I am so thankful to know that I am not the only parent out there that feels this way!

  • Tessa

    If assholes could fly this place would be an airport. Anyone offended for being called a liar should seriously GTFOH.

  • S

    Your house is a pig pen! I would be mortified if my home ever looked like this!! Yes I have kids and yes my house is tidy because I am not lazy. I do not let things go for days on end, as you obviously do!

  • Adrianne

    I needed this today! We are nearing the end of a move across town. Everywhere I look is a mess!! As soon as I get one area/room cleared and put away… another load of boxes appears!

  • christie

    I can understand Renegade mom’s rant because I would honestly not want to live that way! I often say that my house looks like a tornado went through it because my little one is constantly getting into everything…but from what I see in the pictures YIKES! So, yes, I judge, and I say, ‘that’s too messy for me & I wouldn’t want to live there’. I visited a friend today, & her house is a MESS. Not just untidy, but dirty. That’s the truth. It’s impossible not to judge. But she is a lovely person, who loves her child, & is a wonderful & fun mother, and that’s what counts! Another woman (can’t really call her a friend) has a disgustingly messy home BUT she is so verbally abusive & mean to her children. Do her children need a clean home? No!! They need a loving mother. A clean home is the least of their needs. My sister-in-law is a lazy immature mom who hates spending time with her kids. Her home is a also a mess. Anyways, I’m looking for a happy-medium, and I’ll see in a couple of years how my home looks as my little one gets older & with hopefully a couple more children!

  • Aimee

    THIS. I am always late to post but I feel inclined. When I was growing up our house was clean but only because us 4 kids would get the living shit beat out of us if it wasn’t. I constantly ask my husband, how do people get their kids to help them clean the house without being mean?? Now I can’t relax in a filthy house like the rest of these animals I live with but I can’t let my short time on this earth be spent cleaning 80% of the day. I have to say, I come to janelle looking to gain back my sanity by relating to another mom who keeps it real. I loathe reading comments from assholes about how their doing it better. Karma bitches.

  • Andrea

    I nearly died laughing while reading this. Every time someone says “just have them put their toys away before they start a new project” I want to punch them in the throat. And my daughter acts like the world has officially ended every time I tell her to pick up her room. Oh the whining and the crying and the tears…you’d think I’m physically forcing her to do it…that a simple “please clean your room” couldn’t possibly reduce someone to this sobbing wreck of undecipherable insanity. And yet….there you have it.
    Thank you. Thank you for this. All of this. It made me laugh and I’m so happy that someone else goes through this too. No offense. But I busted my ass cleaning…had to get the hubs and the kids out of the house to do it but I managed it, damn it!! The dishes were done, almost all of the clothing was put away, the floors were swept and vacuumed. It was…the most glorious thing…ever.
    The next morning I woke up to a half chewed apart couch courtesy of our new puppy which was almost like a “go ahead” to my daughters to destroy every other part of the house, my spotless room included and now I go to sleep with Littlest Petshop creatures from hell poking me in the back.
    If I had a glass of wine, I would salute you. You rock.

  • Rawa

    I read it and I understand fully how it’s so hard to keep a clean house with kids. God knows I try. Sometimes I even get demotivated I’m like why should I vacuum for example it’s just gonna get dirty in less then 30 minutes and I’ll have to do it again, or why bother cleaning the glass doors or mirrors they’ll just get fingrrprints on them in minutes. But like I said I keep at it so it stays tidy sort of. Tidy for me is more important then cleaning so I’ll do a quick counter cleaning I probably won’t put any elbow grease in the everyday areas but at least they’re 80% tidy. Her article however was way too negative I found, her pictures I hope to God she’s exaggerating in them, I mean my kitchen yes, it looks like that every night after cooking and dinner but I clean it before I go to bed and do it all over again the next day…. But the other areas I was shocked, you don’t have to be Stalin to get your kids to pick up after themselves, they do it all day long at school I’m pretty sure they can follow rules at home if they were implied. Anyway I’m not a super mom I’m not a super clean housewife either or suffer from OCD thank God lol I would die with 4 boys and OCD and sometimes when I’m extra cleaning my kids will say mom who’s coming over? Goes to show you that I’m not always on top of things but I try. I felt her article was too negative and calling out all the cleaner moms who try to force some rules on their kids liars and fakers and I think that’s not fair, we’re not all perfect but we’re not all like her.