Messy playroom that needs to be cleaned

Stop Cleaning Your House Before Play Dates

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Ok I know what you’re probably thinking. Not another one of those blogs where she tells me to do the opposite of what I really should do- like the one about how to have fun at the playground. Because, why would I tell you to stop cleaning your house? I’m serious this time though. Let me tell you why.

I’m in a local moms club and we have play groups where groups of us with kids who are close in age meet up once a week. A few months ago, I was at playgroup at a friend’s house. One of the other moms commented on how clean the house was. She said, “It looks like no kids live here! I really wish other moms wouldn’t clean up so much before we come over. It just makes me feel worse about how messy my house is!”

This is not the first time I’ve heard a mom say that. In fact I remember hearing people say the same thing when I started doing playgroups almost 5 years ago. As much as I agree, it’s so hard for me to do!

I remember a few years ago when my son had his first play date without me at a friend’s house. It looked like a cheerio bomb had gone off and there were toys everywhere. At first I was a little shocked, but then the mom apologized for the state of her home. In my head I was thinking, “Thank you! Thank you for not cleaning up. Thank you for making me feel better about my own house.”

Yesterday, a mom friend and her two kids were coming over for a playdate. All day I was obsessing about what a mess my house was. I started to notice all the piles of board games and coloring books that I needed to go through and reorganize.

stop cleaning your house before play dates because it will just get messy again

Then I realized I was letting myself get too stressed out about cleaning my house for a play date. I remembered the conversation I had with my friend at playgroup and decided to try to let some of the mess go. Of course I ended up still cleaning up some of it. But I took some of the pressure off myself for my house to be spotless.

The funny thing is, when my friend came over I really don’t think she even noticed the mess. I had planned to apologize to her about how my house was a disaster, but when I looked around it didn’t even look that bad!

The more I think about this, there are so many reasons you shouldn’t clean your house before a play date. Here are just a few:

WHY YOU SHOULD STOP CLEANING YOUR HOUSE BEFORE PLAY DATES

It Makes Others Feel Guilty

If you host a play date at your house and it’s spotless, your friends will probably feel like my mom friend did at play group. They might wonder how you have it all together and question why they can’t seem to ever keep their own house clean. Outside of their being food all over the floor and bugs everywhere, your friends will feel more comfortable if it’s a little messy!

Someone Has To Break The Cycle

It only takes one person in your circle of friends to not clean their house before the play date to give others permission to do the same. But if you do clean up, then the cycle will keep going and everyone else will feel like they have to. So, be the one to break the cycle. As hard as it is sometimes, it actually feels pretty liberating to let some of the mess go. Plus, if your friends are going to judge you for the state of your house cleanliness, are they really true friends anyway?

It Takes Away From Your Kids

Always stressing out about cleaning your house takes away from the time that you could be spending with your kids. No mom has ever looked back on her life and regretted spending too much time with her kids. As hard as it is to let the mess go in the moment, you will miss out on so many experiences with your family if your constantly cleaning.

It’s Just Going To Get Messy Again

Unfortunately, even if you do clean up, your house is just going to get messy again. A fun play date ends with toys everywhere and dress-up clothes off their hangers. It means that the toys were actually played with.

Kids making a mess on a playdate which is why you should stop cleaning your house before playdates

No One Will Notice Your Mess

We always notice the things we don’t like about ourselves more than others do. The same goes for the things we don’t like about our homes. Chances are no one but you will notice the crayon marking on the wall behind your couch or the crumbs of food under your dining room table. Yesterday, my friend never batted an eye about the mess in my house. It really wasn’t as bad as I thought anyway.

Too Clean Is Not Realistic

Do you really want your friends wondering if you actually live there because your house is TOO clean? Kids learn by making messes. They wouldn’t have the experience of making cookies with you if you didn’t let them make a mess in the kitchen with the flour. Kids make a mess when they play too. They have to dump out the whole bin of action figures to find the exact one they are looking for. They need to line up every single hot wheels car to have a car race, or else it just isn’t the same! Let them live!

We might have a slight toy car addiction!

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20 comments

  1. I totally agree. Before I had kids and my friends came over I would always clean and clean. But after having kids I realize the stress wasn’t worth it. Because most of my mom friends, would have the same mess in their homes whenever I went to visit. So I stopped worrying about cleaning before they come over. And just let my true mom life show. I noticed my friends were doing the exact same thing.

  2. Love this!! Freedom from the unrealistic and stress-inducing pressure we place on ourselves as moms. Love that you point out that it has to start somewhere! Breaking the cycle. You are my kind of momma! 🙂

  3. These are great points! Nobody ever notices all the little things we obsess over. And even if they do, they can usually relate 🙂

    1. Great point! One time before we were ha omg friends over I was being so crazy taking my kids they couldn’t play with their toys because I had just cleaned up. In hindsight, it was so ridiculous!

  4. So true. I always stress over people coming to me but I always go to other people to spend time with them not to check on the state of their home.

  5. Yes! I always get so stressed out when people come over, but lately I decided that it was a no win situation when the place was going to get messy again. But these are some great tips and thoughts!

      1. Exactly!! I work full time outside and at home, I am doing as much as I can already….. thankfully my older daughter is doing the cleaning as she wants to invite her friends over… for an 11 year old …this is awesome!!

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