I was always a neat-house freak until I had kids. I struggled those first few years as a parent with major anxiety and guilt for feeling I could never keep up. I rarely had everything organized, and made myself—and others—distressed over the state of the house constantly.
Eventually I realized I was never happy, whether I had a messy, chaotic home or a clean and polished one (because it rarely lasted long). Something had to change mentally.
So, I relaxed my standards and looked at reality. I have two toddlers. I’m constantly catering to their needs and trying to work and keeping on top of mental health, along with all the regular day-to-day duties…it’s a lot. And I know it can be tough for those of you whe don’t even have kids.
Let’s be honest—the house is going to get disorganized, and often. It’s going to be lived in. What helped me was learning how to give and take.
I realized that while a clean and organized home is definitely a top priority for me, my happiness, and my family’s happiness, is even more of a priority.
Now I aim for balance. Cleaning when I can. Playing and making memories when the cleaning can wait. And always, always, remembering that this time with my kids is short.
They’ll be in school in no time, and I’ll have hours more each day to clean to my heart’s content. But for right now, I try to ride the chaotic, messy, and disorganized wave of this chapter of life with my kids.
I still make my lengthy to-do lists, and I still furrow my brow at the things speckling our living room—but it’s easier to stay accountable and on top of my emotions. If I want the house clean, I’ll clean. If I want to let the chores pile up while I relax, recharge, and make memories, I’ll let the chores wait.
So here’s to balance—to banishing guilt and accepting responsibility for our needs, whether they’re encouraging us to rest and play, or organize and clean.