Caution, Clean Freaks!

Are you a clean freak? A neatnik? Do you like your things arranged just so and spotless right down to the last nook and cranny? Then I have some advice for you.


*Unless you are financially equipped to hire a full-time maid and/or ship the child off to boarding school so that he or she can mess up someone else's stuff.

Like, seriously. Rethink the whole "becoming a parent" thing. Because if you're a person who likes everything tidy and sparkling, all the time, you will live for the rest of your life (or, you know, the next eighteen years or so) in constant psychological torture at the state of your carpet, your mini-blinds, your ... everything.

I keep this photo of my laundry room floor in my phone to prove that it was actually clean once.

It's bad enough that you can literally never have all your rooms clean at one time. You're cleaning one room while the kids are trashing another in that special, destructive way that only kids can. You finish vacuuming and when you come back two minutes later it's like the Goldfish Cracker Fairy has deposited a magic sprinkling of crumbs. It's a miracle! (Either that or a mental breakdown waiting to happen.) While it is a necessary evil, cleaning the house while there are children in it is like building a sandcastle and letting the waves wash it away ... every day.*

*Or if you're me, then a couple of times a week, maybe.

But what's worse is that in addition to the things everybody has to clean - floors, counters, toilets, etc. - there are things you have to clean when you have kids that you rarely - or never - had to clean before. Things that would never have been touched except during an annual deep-cleaning or something. For example:

Your chairs. Eating is not a difficult activity: utensil to food, utensil to mouth, repeat. But when you throw in talking with your mouth full, gesturing so wildly that you spill your drink or tip your bowl, picking out the "squishy" mushrooms or the "gross" peas, and grabbing everything within a two-foot radius with sticky/greasy/saucy fingers, it's a recipe for a mess. Most people can just wipe down the table after dinner and be fine - but when you've got kids, you've got to wipe down the chairs, too. And not just the seats: I don't know how many times I've scrubbed dried milk-splatters off the chair legs.

Also, if your kids run around naked, this goes for every other chair in the house too. Because little naked butts may be cute but have you ever seen how well kids wipe? Ick.

Your computer. I don't even let my kids eat or drink near the computer, but for whatever reason, my laptop's keyboard is perpetually crusty. Or I'll be scrolling through Facebook and freak out that a girl I went to school with has a mustache ... and then realize it's just some dried-up gunk on the screen. I'm not sure what gets all over the laptop, but I've seen where my kids' fingers end up sometimes, so I keep a lot of Clorox wipes on hand.

Your trash can lid. Throwing crap away: again, not a difficult process. Unless you're a kid. Because then it's like, "Let's not throw this half-eaten container of yogurt away without dribbling it all over the lid first and then walking away to let it dry."

Your appliances. When there's nobody touching, say, the front of your dishwasher, it remains pretty pristine. But when children are around, appliances - all of them, even ones you have no idea why your kids are touching - gather smudges, smears, and spots faster than you can say, "How is there a footprint on the refrigerator door?" And speaking of ...

Your doors. Kids don't just grab the knobs. They somehow dirty up the area around the knob, too. Oh, and the side of the door. Oh, and the bottom, because apparently once they've wiped both their grimy hands on the knob and surrounding areas, they use their feet to push the door open or closed. Or something.

Your light switches. This is the orange pseudo-cheese from either Cheetos or Doritos ... who knows which, but it's crusted all over the bathroom switch. Of all places.

Your walls. Prior to having children, I never would have thought about cleaning my walls. But now I have to clean them on a regular basis. And I don't mean a couple of times a year: I mean, like, weekly. I almost never see anything being actively smeared onto my walls (except for boogers, occasionally, because I have boys and boys like to do that), yet it looks like ground zero of an epic food fight in here. (Or toothpaste, depending on the room.) Add in the random handprints and the scribbles courtesy of toddlers with ill-gotten crayons, and your walls are like a big blank canvas to paint with kid-yuck. Sometimes it's mysterious drips of an unknown substance in an area that's taller than any of your children ...

... and sometimes it's far more sinister.

Yes. That's exactly what you think it is. How it got there - or how it adhered so remarkably - is anybody's guess.

So you see? If you value a clean house, and have obligations outside of scrubbing and wiping and sweeping and sanitizing for approximately twenty hours per day, you may want to put serious thought into becoming a parent. Because under the clutter will be dirt - and not just standard dirt, but dirt in places you never thought would be dirty. And you will look at your carpet and you will cry.

Trust me.

(PS - Don't forget to click on the "Giveaways & Reviews" tab at the top of the page - I've got a giveaway going on!)


  1. Yes, but your boys are SO worth the mess! You can have a clean house in 20 years or so........

  2. I love reading your posts! I can so relate with this one! With 3 kids and 2 dogs in my house, cleaning is a waste of time. In fact my 6 yr old told me that grandmas house was fancier than ours. I told her no it's not fancier, it's just cleaner!

  3. I read a funny on Facebook that described 'cleaning a house with children at home is like brushing your teeth with an Oreo in your mouth', I feel your pain.......and chuckle.

  4. Your boys would love my house, I encourage writing on the refrigerator....with dry erase markers. Oh, & on the front windows too. We used to leave PB& J stickiness behind wherever we went. My mom tells me that I used to have little pieces of paper trailing after me like pigpen from the Peanuts has dust/dirt.

  5. Ha, yes, our light fixtures are pretty gross. And there are also weird stains on our walls. I get it!

  6. so very true... I just spent the weekend cleaning our carpets with a professional carpet cleaner. They were just cleaned two months ago! Most people clean their carpets maybe twice a year but TRUST me, ours needed it again!

  7. After reading your post, I said to myself , "hmmm, haven't yet experienced the mysterious poop." That's a shocker for me as I have twin 16 month old boys and a 6 year old girl. I thought maybe I have been divinely spared.


    Today as I was lifting out the inflatable tub, there it was- a squished turd on the bottom of the (porcelain) bath tub!


    I cleaned out the tub yesterday and the boys can't climb in yet, so there was no stealth pooping. Each boy stayed in the inflatable, never unattended, so no pop there. I considered my daughter the culprit, but she showered last night in the stall shower.

    So how in the HELL did the poop end up in there? Merely the first in what I am sure will be numerous poop mysteries...

  8. LOL - I love this so much. I was just telling my realtor today that we seriously HAVE TO SELL THIS HOUSE BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO KEEP IT CLEAN WITH A TODDLER BOY. And then the large adult toddler who lives with us, too.


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