I shared a TikTok recently about a tidbit I remembered after reading The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines. It was a story where Jo shared how she used to fret so much about the tidiness of her beautiful, white couch. She found herself always getting worked up if the kids would get fingerprints on it, and she never wanted the couch to get dirty. Then she realized she was getting herself so worked up over this couch that it was distracting her from…well, life. First of all, I really needed to hear someone as seemingly perfect as Joanna Gaines say this to me via a book because it made me feel more normal. Mostly, this was something I needed to hear, something I think we all need to hear, because the truth is, a lot of us spend our days fretting about the white couch. No, not a real white couch. Let me explain…
Aesthetics with a dose of reality
First of all, let me start off by saying, I love an aesthetically pleasing house as much as the next HGTV obsessed guy. There is something so calming and tranquil about a clean, crisp, ehem minimalist home.
What isn’t very calming and peaceful is the pure blind rage that can be experienced when someone messes with that perfectly placed decor.
Were my emotions so fragile that they could be bonked outta whack by, quite literally spilled milk? I hate to admit that, yeah, sometimes it was.
Trust me, I get the exhaustion that comes with being a parent. Always cleaning, always picking up and always, always, having our hard worked be ruined.
The other day Tom brought me home flowers as a surprise and then jokingly said, “I almost returned them after I got your text about not wearing shoes into the house.” — I sent a group text to all my live-in family members to leave their shoes in the garage. I had just done a deep clean of the entire house, floors included and the large rug for our entryway was still drying. So sue me, I wanted to attempt to keep the floors smudge free a little longer.
I get it, the frustration of always having our hard work undone, it’s exhausting, but…if you’re a parent, it kinda just comes with the territory and I realized I had 2 choices:
- Spend my waking moments obsessively working to keep the house clean
- Accept that messes are a part of living in a house that is lived in and calm the F down
Ok, I guess there is a secret option number 3, which I highly encourage everyone to consider, and that is living with less stuff to begin with. Less stuff = less stuff to mess up.
Is the battle worth it?
I know it’s such a cliche thing to say, but at the end of the day I think we need to ask ourselves if what we are fighting for is really worth the battle.
Do I need to have a meltdown and go into a mini depression when something inevitably spills on the stovetop? Would wiping it down be easier if I just shut out any thoughts that made me feel some deep injustice had been done? Probably.
Like Joanna Gaines, I had to come to the realization that fighting a battle for a white couch simply wasn’t worth it.
Do what you can. Then move on.
I’m a sucker for the serenity prayer that reminds us to let go of the things we cannot control and merely control what we can. This is something I have to actively practice in every area of my life, including when it comes to housework.
Here are some things I’ve decided I can control:
- Own less stuff so there is less to clean
- Scotch guard furniture that is most likely to see spills
- Pay kids for chores so it’s not just parents who are doing housework
- Tidy before the mess becomes overwhelming
At the end of the day, there are some things we can control. Choose what works for you and work to let go of the things you cannot control. And remember…wisdom to know the difference! That’s kind of important.
More Reads for You
- 20 Ways to Simplify Your Cleaning Routine
- How to Run Fewer Errands and Get More Time in Your Day
- 10 Ways to Cut the Time You Spend Cleaning in Half
Someday, the house will be clean
The way I look at it, there is a good chance for most of us that at some point the kids will have have flown the coop, the house will easily remain clean and we just might miss the noise.
This is why I try, try, to embrace the noise when I can.
During life’s little moments, I try to pause, take it all in and I swear time slows down for just a split second so that I can savor these little times that are oh, so fleeting. — I also do this same method after I’ve cleaned the house because, let’s face it, those moments where everything’s perfectly untouched, those are few and far between.