Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Trying To Keep A Perfect House

I few days ago, I posted this picture on facebook.  It's a picture of my pantry which looks like the debris field from a nuclear test site.  I posted it because just moments before I had opened my pantry and had the following conversation with myself:

"Look at this, Licha.  This pantry is a mess! You're home all day long and you can't manage to keep a pantry clean? Your refrigerator is dirty too.  Don't even get me started on your oven.  Clearly you are lazy.  You're not a good housewife.  You're not pulling your weight by staying home.  I wonder if your husband thinks these things about you but is too nice to say anything.  Maybe everyone else thinks them when they come to your house too!  Everyone else has a nice house.  Remember that time you went to your friend Leigh's house and her pantry was organized  alphabetically and by height! And she works full time! It's such a shame that you can't seem to keep up. What's wrong with you..."

All of those things ran through my mind in the span of like 2 seconds!  But then I stopped myself, threw the throttle into reverse and said this:

"This pantry does not define you, Licha.  Neither does your house or anything outside of you.  If your house burned down you would still be the same person.  What you wear today or do or do not get accomplished today is not a reflection of your worth. If you stayed up all night and cleaned that pantry until every last crumb was swept and every inch was scrubbed and labeled accordingly, it wouldn't make you a better person.  You are taking too much time placing your worth in things that are outside of you.   A perfectly mowed lawn, clean floors, a spotless kitchen, none of those things make you a better person, a better wife or a better mom. And you need to be honest with yourself!"

That too, was said in a matter of two seconds.  I decided to post it on facebook with the following caption:

"Because someone out there is at this moment feeling guilty that their house is a mess and imagines everyone else's house is perfectly clean and tidy and they are the only one whose life seems to be disorganized. This is for you. You aren't the only one in fact, you are downright surrounded by good company. This is my pantry right now and eventually I'll get to it but it doesn't define me as a person."

I did that because I knew I could not be the only one who felt that way and that if I said it out loud, so many people would feel better.  I was right.  I got a dramatic response through comments and emails.  The most common response? "You have no idea how much I needed to see and hear that today."

I try so hard to hide my flaws from the world but I'm learning that the dishonesty hurts me and it places un-real expectations on others. I'm like a magazine editor, air brushing my life so that it looks better on the newsstand.  I'm don't want to do that anymore.  I'm too exhausted to be dishonest.  It's so much easier to be real, to put it all out there.  This way people know exactly who I am and I don't have to juggle the lies.  If they think worse of me because I have a dirty pantry at the moment, well then...that says more about them than it does about me.  I plan on posting more and more pictures like this.  Some of them will be shocking but I bet they'll strike a nerve.

If you're brave enough, send me your own picture (americasnexttopmommy@gmail.com).  I won't post your name if you don't want me to.  But I bet that seeing the reality of each other's lives will make us realize that we are all normal and that we're not alone!

Do you try hard to keep up with appearances when it comes to your house?


  1. Like the FB folks said, I needed to hear this too! My house is always a mess and I always feel useless because of it. It doesn't help tat my mother and a few close friends have floors you can eat from and not a speck of dust anywhere. Makes me feel like a complete slob in comparison. I will send you a picture of my livingroom at the end of a day...as soon as I find the camera, which is lost in the mess of my house!!! Ahhhhh!

  2. I went to someone's house a while back and just happened to look down at the floor. Her baseboards were gleaming...as in they were SHINY...HER BASEBOARDS WERE SHINY! I instantly felt like crap. My baseboards have a fine layer of dust that gathers every week. Every week I sweep, every week they form. It's futile!

  3. I believe the dust bunnies have actually come to life here, as they multiply quite rapidly.


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