Don’t Clean for Me

“We can do my house – but just a heads up, it’s a total mess.”

And then I rush around like a cracked out June Cleaver, throwing things in closets, vacuuming, wiping down cabinets, cleaning toilet bowls, dusting the children – etc.

Inevitably, my friends arrive. They enter my home and I spy an errant collection of cat fur – or is it dog fur? – and I quickly steer them into the kitchen where I will ply them with so much wine that they don’t see the piles of paper shoved behind the coffee maker.

“Please ignore my house – it’s a mess!” I say as the trickle of sweat I worked up in my mad dash of cleaning slides down my back.

They will look around, “Oh it’s not!” they chorus.

And they are right. It isn’t. Because I lost my ever-loving mind rushing around to clean up. BUT I also know that it has been cleaner. And I can do better. And THAT is what I want them to know.

don't cleanYes. This is passable. Yes, I’m ok that you are here and not seeing the real state we live in – with the kids shoes everywhere and underwear on the floor and the giant pile of laundry that takes up permanent residence on our kitchen table.

But. It can be better. And in the off chance that YOU know I should have done better, I need to acknowledge this out the gate to somehow lessen any judgement.

I don’t know why we do this. Most of my friends do this and as the friend in this scenario, it baffles me. I won’t see the pieces of goldfish kicked under the couch. And I don’t notice the laundry detergent bottle sitting on the counter near the laundry. I’m here for good company and good times. And as your friend, I am not judging the state of your home. We have kids – we are lucky the damn thing is still standing.

Does this stop me from doing it? No, don’t be silly.

Once, I thought I would rise above it and be cool and zen. I was having two of my bloggettes over (Amanda and Stephanie) for the first time and I envisioned being entirely blase about the whole thing. Yep – this is my hovel, I’m just really cool and chill about it.

Seriously, I envisioned this.

So much so, that I didn’t clean up. In fact the clock ticked down and with 15 minutes to spare, I became paralyzed by fear. WHAT was I thinking?! This was the first time they were coming over! What if they never came back?

Gone were my thoughts of zen and chill-ness. I recruited my husband and we cleaned as best we could in a short sprint that included shouting, idle threats and possible bribes. I may have been out of breath when they walked in the door.

But the thing is … I really want to not care. Because I know that I don’t care what other people’s houses look like. And I really want my friends to be people who understand and love me anyway.

So, please don’t clean for me. Please let me see the mountain of toys or the unpacked suitcase sitting in the living room from a weekend trip. Let me see your sink full of dishes. Let me walk into your guest bathroom with the toilet paper roll perched precariously on the holder. Oh, please let me see your laundry pile that doesn’t move from the chair or couch.

Please let me know that I’m not the only one. Let me see the real life you live in your house. Let’s stop cleaning up for one another. If we are friends, I promise I’m not passing judgement on the hair spider lurking in the corner – I honestly won’t even notice it.

And failing all that … let’s just keep the wine flowing.

Laurel Hess
Laurel Hess is a mother to 2 young boys, a rescue pup, an off-balance cat and likely a few foster pups. She spends her days as President of a local marketing agency, helping craft integrated digital strategies and leading a team of creative collaborators. Once at home, however, Laurel is just trying to find peace with being the World's Okayest Mom. A Dallas transplant in a Louisiana world, Laurel graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in Broadcast Production. She met her husband while she was evacuated in Lafayette during Hurricane Katrina. They lived 5 wild, kid-free years in New Orleans while Laurel served as the Sales and Marketing Manager for the Superdome, Arena and Champions Square, before finally returning to Lafayette and into the wildest phase of life yet ... Parenthood.


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