Friday, October 1, 2010

Are Neatness and Happiness Related?

So today I have another question for you guys. I guess actually this should start with a confession. My house is generally pretty messy. I used to have a fairly clean house, before I had kids. And these days I guess I have somewhat of a good excuse -- at least for all the toys around the house. But, admittedly, it's not just the toys that make my house a mess. I barely ever have time to mop the floors, and papers tend to pile up on kitchen countertops and end tables. It is a rare day when I actually make my bed. These things, of course, get done before company comes over or family comes to visit. But I don't schedule cleaning into my daily life. When I get some spare time during the day when youngest child is napping, I always choose to write rather than pull out the mop.

I bring this up because yesterday, I was having a conversation with some of the other moms at oldest child's school. Actually, a bunch of them were talking about their cleaning rituals, and how their floors must be spotless and their sinks must be cleaned, etc., and I was kind of standing around trying not to get sucked into the conversation. Until suddenly they all looked at me. "My house is kind of a mess," I admitted, which resulted in some looks of horror. "I mean, I don't have too much time to clean." I think that was even worse, so I quickly changed the subject.

Then I wondered, was it really such a big deal? I could probably back up here, and say that my mom was always a big proponent of a "lived-in" house rather than a house that looked like it should be a model, so perhaps this idea was ingrained in me from birth. But I suppose that some people think neatness and happiness correlate in some way, and I suspect some of those moms at oldest child's school probably thought I was a bad person/woman/mother for admitting that my house was messy (and for not doing anything about it on a daily basis). Believe me, if one of their kids came over for a play date, I'd clean up beforehand. But I thought about it -- if I worried about cleaning my house rather than working on my writing in my free time, I'd be miserable. My floors might be spotless. But aren't there more important things to worry about? On my quest for positivity, am I allowed to simply embrace my messy house and focus on more important things?

What do you think? How are neatness and happiness related? Are they? Do you have a neat house or a messy house?


  1. I'll admit it, my house is always a mess. I could clean all day, but as soon as the kids come home from school, it would be just as bad (if not worse) than before I cleaned. I always do a run-through a few times a day, but I don't think my house will ever get to the point where it is spotless. I think that neatness and happiness are only related in the way that if you have too much clutter, you will get frustrated about having to find things and tripping over things. But then again, who wants to constantly worry about having everything in the right place? I'd rather spend my time enjoying my family than worrying about folding the laundry right away.

  2. There are times too when our living room desk looks like a tornado just went by, and it would stay for days. Then my husband would intervene and arrange things, on the desk, on the drawer, on the cabinet even the dirty laundry, the literal one I mean, he arranges them. He is more neat freak and I'm more of leave-it-there girl my stuff so I could see them right away. If I couldn't see them, I would come to a point that I will yell to my husband to ask where is the stuff am looking for. So don't worry Jillian you are not the only one.