I know I’ve brought up this subject several times before, but I’m amazed at how many times the state of a woman’s home occurs in conversation.

“Sorry, we can’t have company because the house is a mess.”

“I’d love to have you over, but maybe another time when the house isn’t such a mess.”

How about those of us who don’t answer the door when someone knocks because the house is too messy? Or maybe you can’t even get to the door without endangering your health?

Magazines, television, and the occasional energetic-housekeeper friends make it seem as if everyone else has a perfect dwelling, but it’s really not true. So why do so many of us live in fear someone will see our big, dirty secret … the house?

In my article Messy House Ministry, I encouraged moms to not let the things they cannot control keep them from loving and connecting to others. Since then, I’ve been more attuned to this topic in my daily interactions. Keeping a perfect house, especially when there is a special needs child involved, can be overwhelming and often impossible. While I believe less stuff means less mess, I’m amazed at how big of a mess my young child can make with just the contents of her dresser. Or the bed linens. Or with a single roll of toilet paper. Don’t forget baby wipes, a bottle of shower gel and the living room carpet, and big sister’s note cards from school. Oh, and one of my recent favorites: spitting her juice onto the floor. The other day I stepped in what I thought was water on the kitchen floor and mopped it up. Later—when I walked into the kitchen and stuck to the floor—I realized I’d mopped with lemonade. I heard the ants almost sent me flowers.

So, I’d like to share one of my favorite housekeeping comments I’ve heard recently. Steve, a fellow parent of an autistic child, said this about his garage: “It looks about like Sanford and Son’s … no, wait. That’s an insult to Sanford and Son.”

See? you’re not alone!

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  1. So true! Since having my son 2 1/2 years ago, I have had to change my idea of what a "perfect house" looks like. My new motto is "good enough", and sometimes I struggle to live up to that motto, but I'm trying. The friend that needs to talk isn't going to care if my house is a mess…
    My new "perfect house" is when my son and I are playing, when I'm talking with a friend and ministering to her, or hosting a small group where the kids tear up the house. Everything WILL be there tomorrow. And this is a reminder for me, too.

  2. Julia DesC says:

    Amen! I have found that if I "throw my hat over the fence," (just make plans to have someone over) I am much more motivated to keep up with my stuff (can't help the kid stuff). When I don't have a picture-perfect house, my friends have commented how they feel more comfortable visiting. Great friends!

  3. Jennifer Dyer says:

    I'm glad to hear more moms leaning toward grace-based housekeeping! I have to say that my two favorite friends to visit have houses that resemble mine. They are some of the most hospitable people I've ever met, and they always welcome both my girls. And that's the kind of hospitality magazines should write about.

  4. Great! I have a "Sanford and Son" garage as well and I tell folks it's the price I pay for having three kids on the spectrum and being able to keep up with them.