I'm finding it increasingly ironic that my blog is called "Clean". Because it's not exactly squeaky in my world. It never has been.
Some days it's clean over here – everything in its place! It's delightful, but rare.
Most days are messy.
Today there is a pile of paperwork and kid-art on the top of the fridge and there's a good deal of mud by the back door.
There is a basket or two of clean laundry in the living room and the bathroom could definitely stand for a little love.
And we're ripping out some walls in the kitchen, so drywall mud, power tools, and plastic tarps are our new decor.
But you know, that's life.
We live here. It's a mess. Make yourself at home.
Sure, some of us manage to keep it all together and have a tidy house at the end of the day. And while I'm a bit star-struck by that idea I'm not sure how it's done.
As for the rest of us, chaos reigns.
And yet I know how hard is it for most of us to admit that about ourselves. That we're imperfect. Vulnerable. A bit of a disaster.
Whether it's our hearts, our families, our jobs, or our homes.
We're imperfect. Life is messy. This is real.
But that's scary to have seen.
Maybe it's time that we cut through the bullshit and stop pretending.
Stop pretending that the laundry is always folded and the dishes are always done; that the floors are always swept and that we've got this thing together.
Because it's not. We don't. And that's okay.
(Okay, some of us do, but in that case let's use the house is a metaphor. We are all falling apart somewhere I suspect.)
It's a game we all play, bluffing perfection because everyone else is.
I'm not talking about a special holiday or celebration. I'm talking about everyday. The casual visits, the drop-bys, the playdates.
Friends coming by? First we clean. Like maniacs. Maybe we hide the laundry or the paperwork or the toys. If not we'll probably apologize uncomfortably for the mess, as though it snuck up on us and took us by surprise. (Oh! Two weeks of dirty clothes. Where did those come from?)
That is if we have the courage to invite them in at all.
It's time we made a pact.
Let's call it the Sisterhood of the Messy House.
No cleaning. No apologies. No bullshit.
Because if I clean for you and you clean for me and we apologize for the "mess" after we spent the better part of the day cleaning and yelling at other people to clean (yeah, I know the drill) then we all lose.
Because we're making ourselves crazy and to top it all off we're not being honest. And we're setting this ridiculously high bar that even we don't live by.
We're doing a disservice not only to ourselves but also to each other. Our falsely clean houses are whispering, She's got this. Everybody's got this. What about you?
So let's just stop pretending.
It's time for a new game.
One where I'm just glad you showed up, not worried that you will judge my worth by the state of my bathroom.
Where I'm safe to let you see me, piles of paperwork, dirty floors and all.
Because really, isn't that what friendship is about?
And when I walk into your house and it's honest and lived in and messy (and you don't apologize) or authentically tidy (and not because I was coming over) I know I belong. You're real and I'm safe to be real with you, too.
And I mean that in a much deeper way than letting you see my kitchen.
The truth is I'd rather have you show up with your kids and cook a meal with me than stand here alone wondering if my house is clean enough for company. I want connection and conversation – not self-judgement and false pretenses.
Because relationships. Community. Friendship. That's where the depth is. That's what's real.
Yes, I am flawed. And sometimes – usually – I'm a bit of a mess.
And my house is, too.
It's time we stop pretending we're anything other than what who and what we are and seek connection instead of perfection in the messy realness of these lives we share.
Because – as it turns out – there are more important things in life than a clean house.
Oh, yes. Who's in?
Originally posted in 2014.