One of the Instagram trends I’ve liked recently has been the #Realstagram posts—where people post makeupless selfies, not-so-pretty homemade meals, and messy living rooms with toys strewn everywhere in an effort to be transparent. But sometimes these #realstagram messy house posts make me cringe inside. I don’t cringe because I’m horrified at other people’s lived-in, messy homes; I cringe because I’m horrified when I compare the mess in my own home to those images since mine is so much worse. Not that this is the “Messy House Olympics” or anything, but I just genuinely feel that my home is beyond what’s acceptable for a #realstagram pic.
Maybe there are Instagram photos of homes that look like mine, and I’m just missing them. But so far, my house usually just feels too embarrassing to show the world. There is so much stuff all over the living room floor that all four of us are constantly tripping over toys and random objects. The surfaces (kitchen, desk, or dining room table) are typically covered in a bunch of random toys, papers, bottles of hand sanitizer, and Amazon boxes. We have two dogs who always manage to track in mud and leaves—so in the spring and summer there’s constantly mud all over the carpets and rugs, and in the fall there are constantly leaves everywhere. I probably dust twice a year. Dishes are always all over the kitchen, and there is always laundry piled in the hallway waiting to be washed or put away. In short, everything feels like a giant fire hazard, and I kind of want to rip my hair out looking at it.
See, my husband and I were really bad at having our crap together before kids. We have always had a hard time juggling work and life while also keeping up with the regular decluttering and cleaning that every home requires. But after kids? Well…let’s just say it isn’t pretty. Thank God my in-laws come over every so often because it forces us to get rid of all the unnecessary papers that have been piling up, finally recycle those Amazon boxes, and pick up the 500 toys that threaten to break our ankles on a daily basis.
Our kids have (obviously) compounded the issue. Both children are young (3.5 years and 1 year), typically requiring constant supervision and/or attention, so it’s kind of impossible to clean while they’re awake. Unfortunately, neither of them sleep much either (so fun!), so at the end of the day, it’s often all my husband and I can do to do the dishes and go to bed—and I don’t dare run the vacuum then. Nothing (and I mean nothing) is worth waking them up.
But this week, I saw a ray of hope. My kids suddenly became pals, and on multiple occasions, they’ve entertained themselves for 10 minutes at a time without my involvement (!!!). After picking my jaw up off the floor watching them play together, I’ve been able to empty the dishwasher (WHAT), throw in a load of laundry, or even wipe down the counters in peace. I’m so excited for what’s ahead: Will I be able to do small chores while my children are present? Will I be able to make lunch with two hands? Will I be able to pee alone?! (Okay, okay, I won’t set the bar too high…but a girl can dream).
I’m hopeful that the days of having so little control over the state of my house are coming to an end. Maybe by this time next year, those #realstagram photos won’t make me cringe anymore.