Monday, February 2, 2015

Why a Messy House is NOT a Happy House

This blog post may be one that some will disagree with. I am sure that it will offend some people based on other articles that I have seen circulating of an opposite nature.

But, I feel that it's important to give an alternative opinion.

There are many popular quotes that have to do with having a messy house:
  • "A messy house is a happy house."
  • "Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens & happy kids."
  • "A clean house is a sign of a wasted life."
There was an article that I read recently about what a "normal" house looks like. Now, while I understand that  "normal" house is a lived in house, I felt that it glorified having a messy house as though it was a badge of honor.

I told my 9 year old son about this blog post and read him the quotations. When he heard the quotation, "A messy is a happy house" he said "That should be a fact that a messy house is not a happy house. When you're done cleaning, you can still hang out with your kids. Plus, you don't have to clean every second."

I have had friends in my life make comments similar to these quotations. They have said things like, "I would rather spend time with my kids and have a messy house than spend time cleaning."

I disagree. I would rather be a good Mom and spend time with my kids AND have a clean house.

Now, this is not to say that my house is always clean. In fact, it gets messy every single day and is a constant battle to keep clean. Laundry piles up and floors get sticky.

But, I don't think a messy house is a "happy" house. And, I don't think that having sticky floors, messy kitchens and laundry piles is what makes you have happy kids and makes you a good Mom.

In a way, I think it is insulting to insinuate that spending time cleaning your house takes away from being a good parent.

Before I was a parent, I was quite a slob. Growing up, I lived in a tiny house that was over 100 years old. My Mom was a single parent for several years and myself and my siblings always had friends over filling up the house. My Mom even let those who needed a place to stay live with us, and so we usually had at least one extra person living at our place.

By the time I was in elementary school, we had a house full of teenagers that were dirtying dishes, leaving their clothes and junk everywhere and were too busy having fun to do chores. Along with that, our house was very small.

Growing up, I did have friends over, but I was a bit embarrassed of our house. I went to other friends houses that had stay at home Mom's and clean, orderly newer houses. Those were the kinds of homes where the kids were used to homemade bread when they got home from school and making their bed in the morning.

I had a fantastic childhood and I would not trade my family for the world. But, when I became a parent, it became more important to me to have a nice, clean place for my son to grow up in. I never wanted him to be embarrassed to have friends over.

I'll admit, that when I was in college, I was still a pretty big slob. Messiness didn't really bother me that much and I was too busy with other things to stress about cleaning. I liked the beauty of a clean space, but had not discovered the mental health benefits.

Over time, I have moved to the other side of the spectrum. Though I am still lazy at times, messiness stresses me out. I appreciate the zen, therapeutic feeling of a clean and organized space. I take pride in my home and in having a space that my son can feel comfortable in and enjoy his childhood in.

I also strive to teach him about organizing and cleaning so that he carries on good habits when he grows up and has a place of his own.

I understand that what is important is our children and the relationships that we have with them. My Mother was a fantastic Mother who baked cookies, sang to us and taught us so many great life principles that we have carried on to share with our children.

But, to me, a messy house does not make a happy home. You can have a clean house and have an unhappy home and you can have a clean house and have a happy home. Working towards having a home that I can be proud of and feel relaxed in is part of what I do to be a good parent.

Some parents don't prioritize cleanliness or order as an attribute that makes a happy home and that's okay. To each their own. But, children don't have the option of the house that they grow up in. 

And, I don't agree that a clean house is a sign of a wasted or unhappy life.

1 comment:

  1. I go through phases. Crap piles up and when I can't take it anymore I do a thorough cleaning/organizing/purging. My mom says I was the same as a kid. I have a hard time KEEPING my house neat and tidy because I have a lack of motivation. I can always find something I would rather do than clean. Today, I have hit a breaking point though. When you feel little pieces of stuff through your socks on the floor, it's time to get out the broom and vacuum.

    I don't understand moms who don't make their kids clean. The boys do their own laundry, help with dishes, vacuuming and dusting. They need constant reminders to pick up their stuff, but they are the ones to do it, not me.

    If you have never seen the website you NEED to. It's a great site helping slobs clean up in baby steps. There are daily and weekly challenges like "tackle that junk drawer". And it asks you the question: Why are YOU not important enough to have your house "company ready" for your own enjoyment?