Raise your hand if you are guilty of the following:
Saying “Please excuse my mess!” when someone comes into your home for the first (or 26th) time.
BONUS POINTS IF YOUR HOUSE IS ACTUALLY CLEAN WHEN YOU UTTER THIS PHRASE.
Stop apologizing for being human
For years, I’ve wondered how stay-at-home moms keep their homes clean, only to discover that THEY DON’T (for the most part). And I felt absolutely BETRAYED – not by real and true stay-at-home moms, but by the expectation presented via social media. The local stay-at-home moms I’m friends with have unequivocally told me that a perfectly clean and straightened home is a myth, a pipe dream, for most of us.
From August through May, I am a middle school English teacher. If you know about teacher life, particularly English teacher life, then you very like are familiar with what my everyday home life may look like. If you aren’t, let me give you some insight. Exhibit A:
Piles. All of the piles. Piles of laundry to be hung in closets or put away in drawers. Piles of papers to grade. Piles of second job gear. Piles of random stuff to be put away. Piles of junk mail.
Look, y’all, I try. PINKIE PROMISE. Mostly, I try because I grew up in a home that looked eerily similar to the one I’m living in now – maybe not quite as nice, but still with all the stuff hanging out on the kitchen island. I can say to my mother, with all of the sincerity I can muster, that I am wholeheartedly sorry for judging her mother-of-five kitchen island. Hell, my mother-of-two kitchen island might look worse than hers did back then.
During the summer months, when I am in honest-to-goodness SAHM mode, my house is in marginally better shape. MARGINALLY – and only because I’m able to play the pick-up game on a near-constant loop. Summer mama Julie still needs to contend with the home-all-the-time-during-summer spawn she and her husband decided to create, and that means that those little suckers are running around setting metaphorical fires all over the house. Something always needs straightening.
Knowing I’m not alone still doesn’t stop me from being that mom when guests come over.
The other day, a fellow Red Stick Mom friend came over to pick up some herb cuttings that I’d begged people to come get. And the first freaking words out of my mouth, despite the fact that my home was probably the closest to clean it will ever be, were…
“PLEASE EXCUSE THE MESS.”
Yep. I did it. Guilty as charged, even though I knew full well that my house might be “messy,” but it sure as hell wasn’t anywhere close to being MESSY. Just how much of an a**hole mom I was being didn’t really register until my friend and her kids were walking out of the door. Her sweet girl looked at me and asked, “Mrs. Julie, what mess were you talking about?” Lawd, was I humbled.
After they left, I melted into my sofa and cringed- full-on sweet-baby-Jesus-in-a-Saints-jersey “Why did I even say that?” CRINGED. Because when I say those words, I am not ever trying to make anyone else feel worse about their own home, but that is often the unintended effect.
It’s no secret that I am a champion for social media authenticity. But after all of this, I couldn’t help but wonder why I wasn’t applying that same authenticity mindset to my in-person life.
And I might as well start here.
Sometimes, my house is clean. More often, it is not. Sometimes it is downright MESSY. I can guarantee that it will never be labeled as immaculate. And I’m okay with that, and you should be, too. Because your home is meant to be lived in. It is a monument to the beauty (and mess) of cultivating a life well-lived.
So BLESS THIS MESS.
And if you ever come to my house, and I have the audacity to ask you to excuse my non-existent mess, I give you full and absolute permission to tell me about myself. Then bless my mess, and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, bless your mess, too – and the messy blessings that made it.