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the bad and the ugly…


I recently took meals to a friend (working mom) who was not used to being home with her toddler for long stretches at a time.  I arrived around dinner time, and the house looked pretty normal – you know, a day's worth of toys scattered about the livingroom.  She's enduring a difficult pregnancy so it's exactly what I expected.  She welcomed me in and started to apologize: "I'm still trying to figure out how to care for a toddler and keep the house managed at the same time.  Is this kind of mess normal?"

Christy, are you kidding me?  YES!  Of course, I have a couple of friends who manage to keep the clutter to a minimum because, well, frankly, they spend any time not feeding their children tidying up after the children.  Not me.  I'm too busy – doing other stuff.  Emails, phone calls, bills, photography stuff, research stuff, crafting stuff – anything BUT picking up every single minute.  I've tried that.  And it's just futile.

So I decided to take a particularly messy day to post some pictures that I am hoping will make anyone who has asked the question, "Is this normal?" a little better.  Granted, this was a little extreme of a day – I DO normally keep it to a much duller roar.  But my point is, it happens. 

Counterspace?  Looks like a perfect perch for all the stuff we're trying to keep out of the Toddler's and Dog's mouth to me!

Today's groceries left out?  Hey, I've already put my pregnant self through the torture event that is Walmart with two small children. If it doesn't need to be refridgerated, it stays wherever I've dropped it until the Husband comes home (what's that?  there are princess toys mixed in with the groceries?  My girls think the kitchen table is a playroom):


Can you believe this is AFTER I've asked the girls to please pick up?

 You wouldn't know it to look at these pictures but I'm actually a pretty organized person.  And this isn't typical, although it's not too far from our day-to-day.  I'm spending my days finding a place for everything, making our space functional in anticipation of The Boy.  And it's actually going pretty well.  I'll be sharing our ideas over the next few weeks.

But for those of you who find yourself at home, with a toddler, and just can't seem to keep the house "guest ready" – take heart.  It's just a season.

Kiki - Thank you, I needed that :)

Lacey - Whatever, I don’t have kids and I don’t pick up like that. It is true the majority of people including myself live like that. I like to refer to my mess is a house that looks lived in. When Geoff was out of the army and we both worked the house stayed spotless, now that i stay home, it is lived in.

Sarah - I hear ya sister! I have 2 under 3 and another on the way- it’s a never ending battle. Thanks for being transparent with your friend. I actually scolded friends after I had my first for not being honest with me out this whole mother/stay at home mom thing.

Christine - Thanks! After a day of cleaning a week’s worth of mess, I needed a light hearted laugh:) And proof that, yes… it is normal.

Mom - Love it. You girls are gone and my house resembles your photos (with dog toys, of course, but still..)

Allison - People say we’ll look back and miss these days. I bet these pictures will be hilarious to laugh at in twenty years. Lisa Martin got me hooked on your site – love it :>

BreannaS - I don’t know what to say except thanks! You have made my day.

Jenny Gardner - Thanks Crystal. I’ve always said I wished reality TV would do a reality show on a “real” stay-at-home mom, not a “moms of whatever county” that pay for everything to be done for them. I need to do a post like this on my blog just so I can show them to my girls when they’re grown with little ones themselves and struggling with the day to day. My mom just says “I don’t remember it being like that”. Whatever Mom.

Marie - I couldn’t agree more with the previous posters – thanks for the post, life isn’t perfect so why does the house need to be?

Nancy Grant - I did this on Monday and was gonna post what my 3 year old daughter did to her room. I think I took the photo really to vent rather than anything. Guess what? Her room looks the same if not worse because I still haven’t touched it
Thanks for sharing!

Nicole - Ha, I have 3 teenage girls and I’m sorry to tell you …..It only gets worse!! Sports gear, backpacks, shoes, it’s futile moving them into their designated place because once you turn your back they are right back by the front door in a big pile ready for the next day .
I’ve given up trying to keep it perfectly tidy. As long as it is clean enough that’ll do. My mom tells me I’ll miss all their ‘stuff’ when they’ve left home but I’m still pondering that one.

Jana - Just wanted to thank you for your Nana’s apron tutorial! I just finished making 13 of them for the girls in our Church to wear when they cook on Wednesday. Pics at my blog, if you want to look.

Catherine - I love your blog and this post came at the perfect time for me. However, (and please take this as the compliment it is intended to be) I am slightly sickened with envy that you can take such good pictures of such a mundane subject as a messy house!

Kat - Hahaha! I so recognised my own house in your pictures. And still, you were trying (a little teensy bit) to apologise for the mess. We can’t stop doing that can we! As you said, it’s the reality of life with children – one or more. I’m 5 months pregnant with the second bub and my daughter is 3, so our life consists of mess, mess and more mess. Like you I try to keep it to a dull roar but then sometimes you just give up, sit down and watch Ice Age for the umpteenth time because that’s WAY more fun.

Lisa - Yes Thank you, I think as parents we need to learn to be more honest with each other about the reality of having kids! For years we get shows like the Brady bunch (with their perfect houses, and kids that usually get along) jammed down our throats and then we have kids and think, what am I doing wrong? It’s great to see someone being honest about the reality!

Tess - Thanks for keeping it real, but I must say… your house still looks neater than mine! =D
Love your blog! (hugs)