Dealing with Life's Messes


Last month a friend’s Facebook status read: If I had a blog or website about being a working mom, I’d call it, “You can’t eat off my floors.”

I laughed really hard, because it’s completely true and it captured one of those areas where I often feel inadequate.

My mother kept a cross-stitch sampler on the wall in my childhood home that read, “Dull women have immaculate houses.” So I can’t really credit her with raising us to be a “traditional housewife” or any other specific female stereotype. Still, I must have learned from somewhere that “as a Mom,” I’m supposed to keep a clean house and provide my family with healthy meals.


I need a maid.

Heck, I need a Mom.

Doesn’t everyone have a floor, especially in the kitchen, that makes you just cringe? How does it get so dirty? I’m never home! That goes double for the carpet. If we’re only home for a few hours every evening, why do I have to vacuum it more than once a month?

The other adult women in my life have “perfect” homes. They can go from “Oh it’s crazy around here” to picked up for company in about an hour.

I need at least two weeks.

If our families were going to come our house for a holiday or other event, I’d actually need to request an entire day off from work to clean the house.

My sister and sister-in-law love figuring out what color to paint something or how to decorate the walls. Everything matches. No really, it’s darn impressive. My other sister-in-law just moved into a new house and she’s an artist. Enough said? Definitely.

I have a house filled with hand-me-downs, hand-me-overs; there are exactly three pieces of furniture that I bought. (The roll-top desk, my daughter’s dresser, and the entertainment center that the tv doesn’t fit anymore. Wait.. four! We bought an Ikea bookcase for the bedroom.)

Thanks to Lisa and my sister-in-law, with many other family members willing to help paint, my house was slowly developing the potential to look -maybe- decorated. They shared some of their vision, selecting paint colors for the inside of my house. They’ve brought me curtains that look beautiful (how do they know?) and even rearranged furniture. Of course now, we’re spending weekends purging closets and considering how to move our daughters from separate bedrooms to a shared one, in anticipation of our new arrival due this October.

Lately I’ve found myself wondering how do other working moms deal with the constant mess. And with her one simple FB status, my friend reminded me – sometimes we don’t.

Copyright 2011 Shelly Kelly


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  1. And, for another perspective…since I homeschool, there are five of us in the house most of the time. Bet my floors aren’t winning any eating-off-of contests either. 🙂 I relate to just about every sentence of your post. My MIL bought most of my furniture and did most of my decorating. The only painted walls (three of them in the whole house) were done by the builders before we moved in. God bless you and your sweeties.

  2. Shelly, I had to keep myself from yelling “Amen, Sister” out loud when I read this post. Housekeeping and being organized around home are not my strong suit – and I married a bit of a neat freak! We’ve both compromised a bit on our standards, but I know that a clean house is one of my DH’s “love languages”, so sometimes cleaning up is something I actually try to do as a sacrifice. I’m not saying that to try to sound holy – I’m just saying that I’m that bad. Thanks for writing on this topic – it really resonates with me!

  3. Thank you. I feel a lot more normal now and I’m a SAHM! I don’t know how working moms have time to keep their homes oganized and clean because I know how much I struggle with it.
    With three kids and two inside dogs I can bet my floors are probably clean for only ten minutes AFTER I mop.
    I saw this quote by Phyllis Diller recently that made me laugh: “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

  4. Christine Freiberg on

    Shelly, I could not agree with you more!

    Melissa, I went back to work for the tax season and I had a harder time keeping up with the housecleaning. I mean it was embarrassing! I have found in my circle of SAHM and working moms that they do hire someone to come by either once a week, bi weekly or monthly to do the major cleaning. But with messy blessings such as mine, the clean would only last about 2 hours LOL!!!

    I am curious to see what others have to say 🙂

  5. Thank you all for your kind comments! I love how just knowing there are others out there in the same situation no matter what our circumstances.

    @Melissa B. I think the Phyllis Diller quote is worth of a new cross-stitch sampler!

    Dare I write a post about laundry evening? LOL!!

  6. Love this post! Ever since I started working more hours my house is a disaster-my husband calls it a blender with the lid off. But when I get home from work I want to play with my kids and enjoy them…I guess I am still working on the balancing act.

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