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.
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.
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!