My home is clean and I’m a good mom. That might be a shocker.

October 10, 2011

Remember that old poem that says, “Quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep, I’m rocking my babies, and babies don’t keep”?

It’s so sweet. And true. And annoying.

I see little cutesy sayings on FB, Pinterest, and blogs all the time that have to do with a messy house because a good mom lives there. The mom the saying is referring too is much too busy enjoying her children to clean up or do chores – and everyone is all the better for it.


It’s almost insulting to read those. As if you can’t possibly be a great mom and have a tidy home. You know, because women really need to limit themselves to simply playing and rocking the children. Dishes be damned.

I realize the cobwebs saying is for the extreme. Children do grow up awfully fast and there are times that being with them needs to come first. But to use the excuse of, “I have kids” because my home is always a mess doesn’t set well with me. If my home is a mess, it’s because I’m being lazy. Not because I’m such a great mom.

I’m a stay at home mom. I believe that part of my job is to keep a well kept home. Thats just me – certainly there are people out there who don’t feel that way and it’s fine. Now if I worked, that might be another story. I obviously wouldn’t have as much time to devote to cooking and cleaning and I’d want to play with my children in my free time, so I’d probably put it as less of a priority and be ok with it. But I’m home. Making a home is my job.

How very 1950’s of me.

It’s true though. I take pride in the fact that I keep my home picked up, the floors clean, the dishes done, the laundry folded and put away. Sure there are things that slip through the cracks. Days that we let things slide. But for the majority of the time, this home is tidy. I don’t neglect or abandon Bella doing so, it’s just a part of our day together.

I believe teaching Bella how to be a helper with me, for her to watch me cook and clean, to play on her own at times is just as important as the one on one time I spend with her. We have a daily and weekly schedule of things that need to be done, and I do them. It’s not that I’m perfect or better. I’m not trying to be June Cleaver or ultra mom. I only have one child so that helps. But for me, a clean, neat home is important. It’s not over the top, but it’s clean.

It’s simply an insult to read over and over the insinuations that if your home is clean – you must be neglecting your children. Really?

You can be a fantastic mom with a messy home. Absolutely. There is no kind of prize or Mother of the Year award for housekeeping. But you can also be a fantastic mom with a clean home. I don’t see how either one really matters as long as you’re doing what’s comfortable for you and your family – but let’s not throw the other half under the “good mom bus” for a cleaner house.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Monday is a laundry day and Bella needs to be ignored.


  • Shawnna

    October 15, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I don’t think any of you realize how lucky you are to be able to keep your house as clean as you like it and still feel like you’re a good mom.
    As a mom with OCD and PPD, I need the sticky floors sign to help me remember that it is ok to mop the floor later. To help me remember that the entire day won’t spiral downward if the breakfast dishes don’t make it into the dishwasher.
    Was I neglecting my boys before my diagnosis and starting meds? No, but I wasn’t a happy women. My boys were happy but I wasn’t. Because I wasn’t happy, I found myself to be short tempered with my boys. Also, I need the “me time” to recoup so that they can have my full attention when they are awake. At the end of the day, my husband would rather come home to a house full of laughter and smiles and dirty dishes with no plans for dinner, than dinner on the table, the house spotless, the toddler in time out and mom in tears. Kuddos to those of you who can do both and forgo having time for yourself.
    On a side note-how would the house cleaning be done if you both worked??? Taking care of the kids is my “job” as a SAHM, my husband has a full time job outside the home. We both do house work and laundry. If I was working out side the home we would both do the house work. Just because I stay at home, isn’t a free pass for my husband to come home and not help out around the house.

  • Jen

    October 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    FYI – I am currently reading and responding instead of cleaning!

    But seriously, I hate cleaning and I kind of suck at it. I do the bare minimum and then say once a month I deep clean.

    I also have different levels of clean based on who is coming over. IL clean, my family clean, friends clean, BFF clean, PlayBook video chat clean (well just what is behind us) and party clean.

  • Dallas

    October 12, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    I really love this post…even though my home is at most times a disaster. What I love about it, is that either is OK! It’s ok that my home is not sparkling, because I have 3 boys, volunteer like mad, and am about to undertake homeschooling.

    BUT, just because your house is clean, that doesn’t make you a bad mom either. Its those same old mom wars all over again. Just because we don’t do things the same, doesn’t make any of us “bad” moms. As long as our children’s needs are taken care of and they are loved, who the frock cares how we get there? Lets support each other ladies, and not beat each other down.

  • story

    October 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Sweet, Diana. I only just saw this after seeing your follow up post. I want to begin by saying I’m not mad about this and you didn’t do a thing wrong, and you should definitely keep doing what you’re doing.

    But. This did sting a little. My house isn’t clean. I don’t have a job, I only have one child, I have a wonderful husband, and my house isn’t clean. At all. When I have clean clothes and dinner on the table, I consider it a success. It’s hard for me. Really hard. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but it is.

    And I’m so sorry that those sayings made you feel bad. I really never thought about it that way. But the truth is we don’t say things like that because we think we’re better moms than you. We say it because we think you’re a better mom than we are. We say it because we are all deeply afraid that we aren’t good enough moms. And so when you say “If I don’t clean, it’s because I’m lazy,” it makes me feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach. Because it’s what I already say to myself and hearing it from someone I think so well of just makes me feel worse.

    And I KNOW you don’t mean to make anyone feel that way. And I know that isn’t the point of this post. I know. I really do. But sometimes on this crazy Internet, this is what happens. And that’s okay. Love you. Truly.

  • Lauren @ Hobo Mama

    October 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    We’re slobs AND bad parents. Will you come clean my house and take care of my kids?



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  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife

    October 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Looks like you stirred the pot with this post! 🙂

    I work from home and keep the baby at home with me. I make it a point to keep the house tidy but by Friday it needs a good cleaning. You’re right about time management though…it’s all about making the most of what little time you do have.

    I also agree that letting Bella have some independent play while you take care of a chore is just as important as playing with her. It’s also important that she sees the house needs to be taken care of and that there isn’t a magic cleaning fairy that comes in while she’s napping who cooks and cleans.

  • Teresa

    October 11, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I am a sahm mom here, with a 2 and 4 year old. Some days, the house is messy, and most days, it is clean. I think there are two major factors to consider: if you have a lot of clutter or toys, a house can look messy. I need to have my floor clean for my kids to play and I need the sink to be clean, so dishes are done every day. As for laundry… my family has clean clothing to wear. Whether it is folded or wrinkled..that is a different story…

    I can sympathize with woman who have very needy children, i.e. special needs or hyperactive children and I can understand if their houses are messy. However, if your kids can sit still through ONE movie, you should have clean dishes, bathroom, and vacuumed floors for them. The toy clutter can wait though,

    1. Teresa

      October 11, 2011 at 8:42 am

      Also, I would like to add that when I had one child, my house was SPOTLESS. He would sit and play with a toy quietly while I scrubbed away. Now that he is 4 and his firecracker sis is 2, my house is acceptable for company, but certainly not for an inspection!!

  • Denae

    October 10, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I am going to be bluntly honest. My home goes between sparkling clean to tornado hit it. Yes I work full time, BUT I dont think it would stay clean 24/7 even if I was a SAHM. Why? Because I honestly dont care that much about having a clean home. Because I would rather play with my daughter, surf internet, or tweet than clean. I am not a “better mom”. I am a lazy drag my feet, anything else is more important mom. If given the choice of playing with my DD or cleaning, I will pick playing with her hands down. If given the choice between tweeting or cleaning, I will pick tweeting hands down. Do I think my messy house is better for my daughter, my family? NO. But IMO it wont kill them either, so I clean when I get around to it for them and never let anything get to the haz-mat level. It works for us. I dont see why you cant be a good mom and keep a clean house. You may have to enlist help (thats why we had children, right?) but its doable. I actually think its bad for a mom to be with their children 24/7. They need some independent time, why not clean? Unless you hate it like me.

    1. Teresa

      October 11, 2011 at 8:38 am

      I totally agree!! As long as the kids are clean, fed, and happy, then the house can certainly wait. Unless it looks like a house from “Hoarders”, in that case, the kids are probably NOT safe, lol!

  • Tasha

    October 10, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    I once had someone tell me that since my house was always so clean that my kids must be neglected. She said, “Oh I bet your kids would rather you be sitting on the floor playing with them than scrubbing your floors.” Um, no, how about I manage my time well? How about I clean my butt off when the kids are in bed? How about I am a SAHM so my JOB is to clean AND take care of the kids and *gasp* I DO MY JOB WELL. I so get your point and say AMEN.

    1. Rebecca

      October 11, 2011 at 9:59 am


  • Noelle

    October 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I have friends with meticulous homes and those with messy homes. I’ve found it has no bearing on their happiness or their ability to manage time, at all. As long as the kids are well taken care of and happy then its all good. Life is to short to stress about the frequency that I mop my floor, or the frequency that my friends mop their floors.

  • Owlissa

    October 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    I hate to come accross as lazy, but when my 11 month old is napping, often the last thing I want to do is clean! I always have a toy tidy up, usually deal with some laundry, and start prepping lunch/dinner, but I also make a point of having some ‘me’ time. Sometimes that means mucking around on the computer and drinking a cup of tea while it’s stil hot (like today), and sometimes it means reading my book, or, doing some of my own work.

    So, I let the dishes sit during the day and my husband does a kitchen clean up each night. We’ll clean the bathroom and floor properly at the weekend, and just give it the quick once over during the week to keep things acceptable.

    When my son is asleep I want to recoup a bit so that I can be really present with him when he’s awake. And, when he’s awake I want to play with him, talk to him, read to him, and, let’s be honest, make sure he’s not destroying our records or books, or putting anything crazy in his mouth.

    I think it’s great that you keep your house clean and tidy. Really, I do. But, I also think that people don’t post those sayings to try and make you feel bad. They post them to make people like me (who need a little time to themselves to stay sane) feel a little less shit.

    1. Diana

      October 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm

      I think the important thing to remember is that my post was not directed at how you run your home. Which, to me, sounds actually quite lovely and normal. It wasn’t personal, and it shouldn’t be taken as such. Simply my feelings on the phrases I’ve heard for years now.

    2. Teresa

      October 11, 2011 at 8:41 am

      What a wonderful husband you have! I LOVE when mine does the dishes about once a month, it is such a beautiful break.

    3. Rebecca

      October 11, 2011 at 9:58 am

      I’d feel terrible leaving the dishes for my husband to do after he worked all day. This is what I don’t get about SAHM sometimes. I’m sure it’s tough, but like Diana said, it’s a job. Just like the husbands who work all day.

      I’m a full time working mom and my hubby has more time because he’s in school, so we share the housework, but I couldn’t imagine leaving something for him to do at the end of a day he worked all day.

      Part of me thinks society has programmed women to need too much “me” time.

      1. Good Girl Gone Green

        October 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

        I just finished 1yr maternity leave and will only be going back to work in 6 months from now. My husband comes home and helps with the dishes and taking care of my daughter etc. She just turned 12 months. I am not programed to have me time. People have to stop thinking because you are at home you have so much time. I spend my day playing with my daughter, nursing her, trying to write a blog post throughout the day, trying to clean, and yes I workout for 30 minutes etc. I am not leaving stuff for my husband because I wanted to just sit and do nothing all day. They are still there because in my hectic trying to stay sane day I didn’t have time. I never realized until having my daughter how much work it is to stay home with your kids. I look up to women that stay at home.

        Women who stay home work just as hard as men who got to work. So why is it that we don’t stop all day, then we make dinner, do the dishes, get kids to bed, but oh no don’t ask our husband to help he worked all day. What the beep did I just do all day??

  • Leighann

    October 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I like that you spoke out about this. If something grates on your nerves I think you should.
    I work full time so when I get home playing with my daughter is the first thing I do and housework is secondary.
    I really do like the way you wrote this… well done.

  • Jenny Georgio-who

    October 10, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I didn’t read the comments because my god, there are a lot of them, so I’m sure that someone covered what I’m about to say but…

    I believe that our situations are different because you are a stay at home mom. If you are a stay at home mom and your house is a mess because you are sitting on your ass eating bonbons its one thing….but cleaning the house while the kids are home is just counter productive in my eyes (up to a certain age). I don’t know about Bella but Demi likes to undo whatever I just did. She’s 17 months old. I put something somewhere and she moves its. It’s just a way of life….

    I work a full time job and then come home and play super mom. My house can’t possibly be THAT clean 24/7. I have a cleaning lady that comes 2x a week and I just try to do the upkeep in between.

    When I first had Demi my mom used to rag my butt… “Now that she is napping by don’t you clean this or that…why don’t you do that?” Um because I want to enjoy my life as well. My mom had the most spotless house in the world, I’m not lying she can put Better Homes and Gardens to shame…and she worked full-time…and I don’t remember her ever really playing with my sister and I. I vowed to NEVER be that parent. Yes, a clean house is important and great but my time with my kid is a hell of a lot more valuable….and like I said…I pay someone to clean my house. I want to enjoy my life and look back on all the fun I had…I don’t want to look back and be like “Oh remember that time the house was spotless and D was afraid to touch that?”

    1. Owlissa

      October 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      I feel like this too. I wish every day that I was paying somebody to clean my house, but we can’t really afford it.

    2. Diana

      October 10, 2011 at 7:15 pm

      Which is why I put the disclaimer about “If I was a working mom I wouldn’t feel this way” in the post. Because it was about being a SAHM. Not a working mom.

  • Mae

    October 10, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    You just HAD to post this on the day after I did my first handmade market, AND we’re still in the middle of a guest bath renovation, didn’t you? 😉

    Hopefully it’s obvious that this means my house is currently filthier than I can remember it being in… a while. I actually was so excited to GET to clean this morning because it hasn’t been able to be as much of a priority as I would have liked. But then again, we have three cats and a golden retriever, so how clean is it ever, really?

    Seriously though, I’ve never taken those little signs and sayings the way that you have, I guess. To me they’ve always been reminders that at the end of the day IF the house isn’t spotless BUT the child and I had a “good day” that I really shouldn’t give myself a hard time about the stuff that I didn’t get to. After all, it’s not like the dirt is going anywhere, it will still be there tomorrow.

    Waiting. And mocking.

  • Susan

    October 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    WOW, this one got lots of comments. I agree with you. I had 2 kids and always kept my house picked up. I can’t function with a cluttered, messy house, that’s just me.

  • Rachael

    October 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Love this post! And the comments!

    I get my feathers ruffled a bit when moms ask incredulously how I have time to blog, like I’m neglecting my kids.

    I work full-time, and I have five kids.
    Three of them are under 2years.
    I go to bed around 10pm with a clean house.
    No nanny or housekeeper, just a super helpful husband and awesome kids.

    From now on, I’m going to stop apologizing for it!

  • Bethany

    October 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I think those signs and cutsy quotes, along with people who say “oh you just wait until you have ____ kids” or those who say “Well *I* have 16 kids and my house is spotless” are all human attempts at feeling better about whatever is wrong with us by putting someone else down for their particular priorities or practicies. The slovenly SAHM will feel better about herself by reading a sign that says she’s better than her neighbor who actually keeps a clean house. A working mom will feel better because she still manages to keep her house clean and spend time with her kids. Why does it matter what anyone else does? Diana’s point was not to judge all you ladies who don’t have perfect homes!

    Why do we have to judge others by our standards or when someone expresses *their* opinion like Diana did, why do we have to get all defensive as if she were attacking someone personally? Such an interesting study in human nature to read these comments! =)

  • Jenny

    October 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Neither passing judgment nor attempting to validate our own choices is productive. What we should be saying is, “I work to create a safe, loving, happy home.”

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I question my own choices enough without needing to worry about whether the rest of the world agrees with or appreciates what I do.

    Modernize Ghandi and Be The Internet You Wish To Use. If that doesn’t mean much to you, Be The Internet You Wish Your Kids To Use.

    1. Samantha

      October 10, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      I read your blog from time to time Jenny, and I have to remind you that you have been very pointed about telling people off for things in the past. Such as asking about whether or not you conceived naturally.

      Not all of us can write flowery, sweet posts that make people feel good all the time. I don’t think Diana was passing judgement or asking for accolades. She was simply writing how she feels on a subject. The rest of us are free to chime in or pass on.

      1. Jenny

        October 10, 2011 at 7:23 pm

        Not a fan of me, huh? Ah, well. Thanks for reading my blog from time to time.

        Sorry to disappoint, but I was agreeing with Diana’s annoyance at graphics like the ones she shared – graphics that pass judgment and attempt to validate personal choices, which I think are a waste of time. The people who create and/or pass on such nonsense should focus on what we’re all trying to accomplish in our homes rather than what makes their method better/smarter/more loving/cooler/etc.

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    1. Rachael

      October 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm


      Or one of those moms who’s in her kid’s face all day and then wonders they behave horribly at playdates!

    2. Rachael

      October 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm


      Or one of those moms who’s in her kid’s face all day and then wonders they behave horribly at playdates!

  • Amy

    October 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    It all depends by the standard of clean. My house is tidy, bathrooms are clean. Laundry is done and mostly put away. Dishes are done through the day and nightly. Main floors are swept daily. It is still filthy. I live near a freeway and huge tracts of farmland. I could dust hourly and it would still feel dirty. And Martha would be horrified regardless. She vacuums all of the books in all of her bookcases weekly or monthly or something insane. I do not.

    I also believe in independent/alone play. I wish my toddler did.

    1. Samantha

      October 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      I think this would far exceed most people’s definition of clean.

  • Suzanne

    October 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    But on Monday morning after a fun weekend out of the house doing family stuff, doesn’t a reminder that having sticky floors isn’t going to kill anyone make you feel better about it?

    Even among the many commenters who agree with you 100% there’s a lot of hesitant admission that they aren’t doing it all, all the time. Their houses are “clean enough”. Sometimes things get a little messy. Ok, so MAYBE they got dressed out of the clean laundry hamper this morning. Honestly, if ANY mom’s house would pass the white glove military inspection my dad used to do on my room as a teenager (true story) I would suspect they either had all their kids in school, had outside help or never slept. NO ONE’S house looks like a magazine photo shoot all the time. Isn’t that really what those assurances are reminding us of?

    And if someone really told you to your face that having a clean house means you’re not a good mom you should have knocked their teeth right out, then told them to clean up their own blood because you were going to go fold some laundry.

  • HSofia

    October 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I really can’t comment on anyone else’s household, but for myself I can say I have never been much of a housekeeper. Having a child and becoming a SAHM has made me more of one out of necessity. It’s one thing to deal with ones own mess, but add the mess of a spouse and then that of a child and it will get out of hand. I am not trying to live life out of hand. I want to maintain a certain level of neatness so that I can spend most of my time enjoying life and my loved ones.

    For me that means imposing some structure and just not thinking about housework so much as I just do housework. It also means knowing my limits – I live in an 1050 sq ft place, no yard and minimal maintenance. I will NOT move to a larger place any time soon because keeping tabs on this space is enough. I’ve lived in larger places and it’s just more work. I started making decluttering a part of my routine and I try not to think nasty thoughts about “having to clean” anymore. Everyone functions better when we know where stuff is and I’m not snapping at my family because the house is a mess. It’s a good thing. Figure out where your standards are, be realistic, and then do your best. Then don’t feel bad.

  • Sol

    October 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    My house is a mess all the time. Constantly. I take 3 steps forward and fall 10 steps back. What is my problem? CLUTTER. Too much crap. Just too much of everything. I finally started tackling the clutter in my life, everywhere from whats on my phone, to in the fridge, the closets, to my Facebook friend list. Boy it is soooo much easier to clean and find things when STUFF isn’t in the way.

    That being said, yeah those sayings do make me laugh and I even have one sitting on my fridge. Some days I get really down on myself for not having the perfectly spic n span house my mother managed to have while I was growing up and seeing that magnet does make me feel better. Some days leaving the dishes aside to pile a little higher so I can spend time with my three kids? Is the right thing to do.

    But of course that does not make me a better mother or even a good mother. Just the type of mother/wife/housekeeper I need to be at that moment.

  • Veronica

    October 10, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Ive got 2 kids 14 months apart and it is HARD but my house remains clean. Its all about what one values and prefers. I like a clean house some moms like to sew gnome dresses during their free time. Totally cool but ya those sayings always annoy me because all im thinking is “eww i wouldnt visit those bitches” lol

  • Elyssa McDowell

    October 10, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Very thought provoking. As a ‘mom culture’ we went from June Cleaver (you’re abad mom if your house is messy) to now ( you’re a bad mom if your house is clean and tidy.) 2 different extremes. I appreciate what you had to say because I think you offer a balance between the two.

  • Elly

    October 10, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I think there is more (self placed) pressure on moms now to have the magazine ready home…all the time. Whereas you used to get your magazines once a month and oh geeze wouldn’t it be nice if our home looked like a photo shoot, and you knew it was a professional photo shoot, now there are blogs. Some blogs fall under the professional category and you can see how the set ups wouldn’t work in most child inhabited homes. But then there are the non professional ones that can make you feel sorta crappy about the state of your home, your crafting ability, your child’s behavior, activities whatnot (even when you know you aren’t getting the whole story).

    For me there’s a certain week of the month that I just avoid all of those blogs because my hormone surge makes me particularly susceptible to self doubt. Those signs for me are a reassurance that I don’t HAVE to do it all and come in handy when my self doubt is high. I wish I was better at keeping a clean home…it’s a constant work in progress.

  • Kim

    October 10, 2011 at 11:10 am I have three kids and I’m BUSY. AND I do not clean all day. But my house is tidy. Part of what I do, part of my JOB-because I do feel it is my job, is to keep a clean house. And have happy kids. I can have both. My clean might not be somebody else’s clean, though. My kids also help me clean – where else will they learn? I thought this was a great post – you said it was YOUR priority. Not that it had to be mine.

  • Adam @ Hanging with Dad

    October 10, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Want to know the crazy thing? Our house is cleaner now that we have a kid than it was before.

    Neither myself or my wife is a neat freak, so before Isaac we would kind of let the house go until it really bothered us, then we’d clean it, then we’d go another few weeks before it got bad enough that we cleaned it again. Now that we have Isaac (and I stay home), I pick up during the day while he naps, I sweep the dining room floor from all the food he drops and make sure the kitchen is clean. I also move his toys out of harms way so that I can get to his room in the dark and not hurt myself if he wakes up overnight.

    But we also have a housekeeper who comes every two weeks to do the deep cleaning. One thing my wife and I agreed on is that neither of us likes (or wants) to scrub the toilets, the showers or seriously mop the floors. It is worth $100-ish a month to have someone come and clean for 10 hours what just wouldn’t get done if we didn’t have her. AND it gives us a reason to keep the house clean. If we don’t keep it clean between the time she comes it just ends up with us doing a massive pickup the night before, and that’s no fun.

    And believe me, when Isaac gets old enough he’ll be learning how to fold his laundry and will probably help me sort (if not stuff) his diapers. He’ll also be helping to pick up his toys in the front room so that it’s not a danger zone.

    Of course, he really needs to start walking before I can ever hope for that…

    1. Branson

      October 10, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      I am the same way… our house is cleaner now than before we had a baby. At least the parts of the house he can get to 😉

  • Lindsey

    October 10, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I like this post.

    I have a stack o’ kids and one on the way, and my house is pretty clean. When I see the posters that say that stuff I keep wondering if I missed the parenting boat – SHOULD my house be messy??

    When I go to another mom’s house that’s a sty there’s a small part of me that wonders what she does all day. It’s not like I spend the whole day cleaning, or can’t do some of it while they’re awake. Or get them to put away their own toys.

  • TheNextMartha

    October 10, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I look back on the days when my kid was napping and I would happily clean to keep up and laugh. I had no idea how hard it would get. Once I had two kids and two kids who don’t take naps and are home all the time? Forget it. I can be doing laundry but as I’m doing laundry they are destroying the living room. I can have them help with the laundry (which I do) but right after they’re onto the next area to destroy. If we are outside? It’s the front yard and garage. If we are inside? It’s the basement. The only time I can catch up is when their dad takes them both out of the house for an afternoon. Or I can tie them to the couch. Maybe I should try that.

    1. Di Hart

      October 10, 2011 at 10:59 am

      Duct tape works well and now comes in a variety of colors to go with your home decor 🙂

  • Katrina @ Hix in the Stix ~ Army Edition

    October 10, 2011 at 10:12 am

    When I first read this I was a little offended…but then I kind of realized what you were saying. My house is not always perfectly NEAT but it is CLEAN. And I think sometimes that clarification is key. I love these sayings because they make me feel like less of a bad mom for not keeping the house perfect.
    My husband is super OCD (even before he joined the Army) and his idea of a clean house and MY idea of a clean house aren’t always the same thing.
    Then, add two kids under the age of two and there were days that I was in tears because I just couldn’t do it all and I was SO tired – a lot of times when my oldest slept baby and I napped also because I was beyond exhausted. Which meant my house suffered. But my house was never filthy. Sometimes the dishes sat until the end of the day and sometimes my floors only got mopped and vacuumed once a week but it all got done and it was never filthy.
    The very first saying you posted is one that I have always loved but cobwebs and dust don’t last in my house because I wouldn’t let it be that dirty for very long…that’s just icky! In the end, I think it’s all about balance. Knowing when to say “My house doesn’t have to be SO clean that it SPARKLES” and when to say “My children know that I love them and they need to know that I love them enough that I won’t let them live in filth.” Which is, I think, what you were saying 🙂

    1. Diana

      October 10, 2011 at 10:16 am

      It was – and I’m very glad you took it that way and clarified it even further in your comment. I didn’t mean in any way to come off as a snot or on a soapbox, just as someone who gets a little tired of the insinuations that my home comes before my child or something.

      Thanks for reading this all the way through and hearing my heart. I love that about you.

  • Lisa Cook

    October 10, 2011 at 10:03 am

    My house is clean. If it is not, I feel crappy, my kids feel crappy and my husband gets upset. My house is not spotless. It will not be in a magazine. But I am not embarrassed to have people over and the clothes and dishes are clean and put away. My children do help in the house (including the 2.5yo), my husband, generally, does not. I am a homeschooling, SAHM with 3 kids and 1 on the way. My children are 11, 8(public school) and 2.5.

    1. Kate

      October 10, 2011 at 12:01 pm

      That’s basically my litmus test as well; “if I had unexpected visitors would I be embarrassed?”

  • Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy

    October 10, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I agree with you. When I stayed home full time I spent the time keeping the house clean, like dust/cobweb free clean. They were little then and napped so I did most of the real cleaning while they were sleeping and did the picking up etc while I talked to them. And we still got out a ton to do fun stuff. But now that I work full time 1, my husband is home so I feel like it should be his job. 2, I get very little time with so I do not regularly clean if I can be doing something with them. Because my husband really doesn’t do the cleaning (and no cooking/shopping) MUCH is left undone on a regular basis and sometimes we have to take a weekend day to catch stuff up (the kids and I usually). But I think the sayings are a sentiment, more than a literal. I DO know moms that sacrifice family time for an insanely clean house. I’d much rather have a few finger prints on the windows than have a magazine ready house if it means we have skipped an opportunity to spend quality time together. But I would also give my left arm to be able to stay home full time so I could get my house in order AND do all the stuff with them.

  • Maria

    October 10, 2011 at 9:47 am

    My house is very clean and I am a good mom however, it IS like shoveling during a snow storm, LOL. I set very high standards for myself and stress myself over it. I TRY to relax my standards a bit, but my “messy” is cleaner than most people’s clean, LOL.

    1. Maria

      October 10, 2011 at 9:51 am

      Have to add that my son DOES NOT NAP. I have two children and am expecting a third. I rarely go to bed before midnight so I can fit everything in and also keep things clean while not neglecting my children. I do have “work” to do with my blog as well. During the day it’s a constant cycle of food prep/cleanup and toy cleanup, so I have to try to cram deep cleaning, laundry, dishes, bill paying, coupon clipping, grocery shopping & blogging in elsewhere…along with cooking, playing with the kids, homework, not neglecting my hubby etc.

      I was surprised to learn that several SAHMs (even one whose children are in school all day) have cleaning help. More power to them!

      1. Diana

        October 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

        I love you, Please come live at my house forever. That is all.

        1. Maria

          October 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm

          I warn you, when I cleaned the bathroom with my son around (but no hubby) he flushed a plastic wrench and it cost us a $100 plumber visit, LOL. So pat him down for tools before you let us in. 😉

  • Kelli

    October 10, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I think the thing that you and all the commenters agreed with you have on common is that you have 1 child. Try saying this when you have multiple, it is easy to clean when 1 child is content or napping, when you have more than 1 that moment rarely happens

    1. Diana

      October 10, 2011 at 8:52 am

      I know many, many women who have multiple children and keep a clean, tidy home. It’s simply about time management.

      1. Cindy

        October 10, 2011 at 9:41 am

        See Diana, time management, I would not agree. Yes and no. Time management in anything is the key, running a business, etc… But as your plate gets more full the amount of time becomes scarce. I think this is a hard subject to talk about…. I think it is kind of one of those “what works in one house may not in another.” I do not have more than one child, so who is to say… Also, I am not working full time, although 2 days outside the house and a home business…and my daughter. I manage my time VERY efficiently Diana, and I still CAN NOT fit everything in. I sew at night, I clean what I can in the hour I have while she naps. I think what I am trying to say is yes, sure, time management, but I think this subject is more a less a question of circumstances: how many children, do you have a helping husband, how old your children are, do they nap for a substantial time, what time they wake up, working outside the home as well as in the home…etc… I agreed with your point, the signs make people feel like they are not substantial, but everything is like that…breastfeeding vs formula, baby wearing or not, clean house vs not clean. I think that it is not always a time management thing. The bottom line that I know you would agree on, I think society is constantly putting pressure on Moms, to be this or that. We are the only ones that can decide that and letting ourselves feel bad, is self inflicted. I do not understand why we are always judging ourselves and other Moms. Why when someone has a dirty house do we say, they do not manage their time well and the contrary when someone’s home is clean, they are neglecting their child? Seriously, we are putting these judgements on others. Just my opinion of course though. Like I said, everyones circumstances are different, very much so.

        1. Diana

          October 10, 2011 at 9:51 am

          I understand what you’re saying Cindy, but I was mostly referring to Kelli implying that when *I* have more than one child I won’t be writing this. And I will. Because it’s just part of our life and who I am. There isn’t anything better or judgmental about it, it’s just for us how it works.
          My husband does help. My day is organized a certain way for me to be able to keep on top of most things. It is easier with only one. But in saying that the only reason I can do this is because I have one child is what I was arguing with. My mom had 4 of us and her house was almost always clean and neat.
          You work. I don’t. Things are different in our lives. I’m just saying that my job since I don’t work is different.

        2. Maria

          October 10, 2011 at 9:52 am


        3. Diana

          October 10, 2011 at 10:01 am

          And just so everyone who reads knows – I adore Cindy and we are IRL friends who are able to disagree and love each other still. She is an amazing person with more talent than I have cleaning power. 🙂

          1. Cindy

            October 10, 2011 at 10:16 am

            No, no, no 🙂 You have the super cleaning powers… come visit me okay, and we can trade! 🙂 Always love a good discussion, and that you can always come back with something good also, that is what it is all about!

      2. Denise

        October 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm

        I agree on the time management. My mom had my sister and I and was a SAHM. She had more than one and was able to keep things picked up. When we were old enough to help, we were expected to keep things picked up after we were done playing.

        It is always possible whether you have one or 5 (I had a friend who was one of 5 so I know it is possible). Diana was only saying that it is possible. If it isn’t one of your priorities or something you are good at…then it might not happen for you. I know I’m not the best at cleaning so my standards are different than my OCD aunt had with her 2 sons (and the house was always immaculate and her kids very much loved and never neglected). 😉

    2. Nikki @ from MRS to MOMMA

      October 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm

      I have a 23 month old and a 5 month old. My husband is in the military and left on assignment with our baby was 2 weeks old. & although sometimes the laundry and the dishes pile up, my house is tidy. I think time management is a big part of it (choosing to blog, catch up on facebook, send an email to a friend, etc) rather than pick up/organize. Obviously, everyone wants to spend time with their kids and be a good mom, no? I think the key issue here is not that you’re keeping a clean home means you’re ignoring your child. because really, that’s not the case. It’s in the other moments, like during nap time or in the morning when they wake up or at night after they’ve gone to bed that we choose how to spend our time.

  • Cindy @ b.kate designs

    October 10, 2011 at 8:15 am

    I do not know how you do it! I am a part SAHM and part not. I love love a clean house however I feel like things are always messy, and I can not keep up! I would not consider my house messy, but well not perfect either. My daughter only sleeps an hour a day if that, which I think may be a big part of it. I have Bailey help me but you know that only lasts soo long, I refuse to have her be in front of the tv or something to be entertained while I clean, I do not know when to fit it in at times. I think these signs are for fun but totally imply the wrong message, I still am in awe when a mom can have it all together. It is hard the 3 days I am home with Bailey and the sometimes pressure I put on myself to clean, I do it but sometimes I feel like a failure with the clean house thing also, because I say to myself everyone else is doing it…. My long rant- I think it depends on circumstances and maybe some people have super fast cleaning powers. 😉

  • Christi

    October 10, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I had a clean house when I had 2 kids. It was my job & I loved it. I think those sayings are for moms like me now, I have 6, 1 w/special needs, and the cleaner in me feels achingly guilty if things are left undone..but to do everything on my list everyday, would mean no time to enjoy the reason for it all 🙂

    A “good mom” does the best she can with what she has to work with. If you live in filth & ONLY play w/your child all day..well you’re setting her up for being a slob LOL If you find balance & the dusting goes unfinished..well so be it.

  • Law Momma

    October 10, 2011 at 8:09 am

    I understand what you’re saying and yeah, I like a clean house, too. But when it’s Saturday morning and my choice is to park J in front of the tv so I can mop vs. take him to the park? I choose take him to the park. The mopping can wait. 🙂

    1. Diana

      October 10, 2011 at 8:53 am

      Lady – as a newly single mom you get a free pass on everything in my book. I think you’re amazing pulling it off while working and dealing with all the new stress.

      1. Law Momma

        October 10, 2011 at 9:52 am

        LOL. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m not any different than a million other single parents. Though I do feel the need to clarify … we don’t live in filth! 🙂 My floors can’t be eaten off of, but they are tidy…. I just don’t mop quite as often as I’d like to.

  • Blair@HeirtoBlair

    October 10, 2011 at 8:00 am


    I love a clean home. It doesn’t make me a “bad mom.” Actually, when my house is a mess & I have no idea what’s for dinner at 5pm? THAT is when I feel like a “bad mom.”

    & I love having Harrison help. He helps me take his blankets & sheet off his bed every weekend to be changed, & we ask him to clean up his toys at the end of the day.

    1. Shari

      October 11, 2011 at 10:46 am

      a-freaking-men to you, too!

      My house is not perfect by any standards, but I keep it neat. Even with a toddler, a teenager, and constant minor remodeling (and I’m a single Mom and full-time student) there is a certain level of cleanliness I need to be able to relax and do my schoolwork AND enjoy my kids.

      I used to be a terrible housekeeper, and now being on the other side of it, I appreciate neat so much more! Plus, I’m teaching my children how to contribute to the family, and how to maintain their own homes many years from now.

      Yes, there is dust. Yes, there is clutter. But these things are more controlled than they once were, and I like it. It makes me a nicer Mom when I can relax. 🙂

      A good website to help you take care of your house is–the “fly” stands for “Finally Love Yourself” and it is perfect for those of us (like me!) that need help overcoming the (often) overwhelming task of housekeeping. Check it out–you’ll love it!

      1. Blair@HeirtoBlair

        October 12, 2011 at 8:26 am

        “Yes, there is dust. Yes, there is clutter. But these things are more controlled than they once were, and I like it. ”

        YES!! this is exactly my philosophy. Is it perfect? Hell no. But is it manageable so I can focus? yep!

  • Nikki @ from MRS to MOMMA

    October 10, 2011 at 7:57 am

    three words: i love you.
    that is all.

  • Elle

    October 10, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I think it’s fantastic that you’re able to keep your house clean & tidy while being a SAHM, but it just isn’t possible for some of us. I have a very small 1600 square foot house, and I often feel like I’m a bad wife because I can’t keep it all clean and organized at the same time. Those saying make me feel like I’m less of a failure when my house is messy.

    1. Diana

      October 10, 2011 at 8:54 am

      I have a smaller house than you 🙂 and I don’t think there’s any need for either of us to feel like failures. At keeping a home or raising happy kids. That’s what I’m saying – those phrases make me feel like crap as a mother because they imply I’m not doing the “right” job.

      1. Reen

        October 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm

        Giggling. I have a very small 900 square foot house. 🙂

  • Kate

    October 10, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I know exactly what you mean. Is my home as spotless as it was before I had my son? absolutely not (especially now that I’m 37 weeks pregnant) but I do still make that effort. For example yesterday I was downstairs picking up the playroom while my son napped and I asked my husband to help because all the bending over was hard. His response was basically “why are you bothering it’ll just get messed up again” but I insisted because the floor desperately needed to be vacuumed. Sure enough as soon as he woke up and went down into the playroom our son dumped most of his toys out onto the floor but at least it was a clean floor 😉

  • Reen

    October 10, 2011 at 7:51 am

    I love this. I’ve actually pinned the above sign on Pinterest about sticky floors, dirty ovens, etc- because it’s cute. But I could never hang it in my house because I am meticulous about keeping it clean. Also being a stay at home mom, if my house is messy it NAGS at me- because that’s my job! My child is never neglected. Gasp, I’m even teaching him to help pick up (his toys). 🙂 I’m right with you, girl.

  • Amber

    October 10, 2011 at 7:50 am

    I love all those sayings but I think its because no matter how hard I try my house is always a mess. They make me feel like less of a failure.

    1. Diana

      October 10, 2011 at 9:56 am

      And I’m in no way trying to imply my house could be in Better Homes and Gardens. It’s just that I like things clean – maybe it’s an obsession. I just do – and most of the time I don’t even reach my own standards on it. I don’t know if anyone does. Unless you have a housekeeper.

      Oh, to have one…

      1. Erika @NAMAmmaSTE

        October 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm

        Amber, you hit the nail on the head for me.

        I totally get your point, Diana. A messy home does not mean a good mother and vice versa. Wow, is that true. I just never took the sayings to really mean that (except obviously that one about wasted time cleaning with the 50’s housewife – THAT is definitely insulting).

        But most of them, I take to mean: it’s ok if your house doesn’t sparkle. Especially because everywhere I look, both on TV and in magazines, I see constant reminders of how inadequate I am. So, I appreciate the reminders that my best is ok. But, like you also said, most of us probably don’t live up to our own standards. 🙂 I wish for a housekeeper in our future every day!

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