Most women I know say they're unable to function when their house is really messy; I think I was born without that chromosome. I would rather do almost anything than clean. "Nesting" is not a pregnancy symptom to which I can relate. I'm always striving to become a better homemaker, and I think I really am getting better (minimizing dramatically at the beginning of 2017 really helped) but the reality is my house is "visitor-ready" only maybe 1.5% of the time. Maybe you can relate. If so, here are some of the upsides to having a messy home:
1) When you tell people "I promise I don't have my act together", they believe you.
When I confess to my friends that I'm really trying to figure out how to be a thriving human, they know I'm not being self-deprecating or facetious. I'm not pretending to be relatable. They've seen my kitchen. They know I've got a long, long way to go. Nobody has to worry about me being the perfect mom who "does it all" because we all know I don't. So, aware of my weakness, they can be a huge support to me!
2) Strong immune systems.
I'm quite serious. My kids very rarely get sick, and when they do it's almost always only a cold. Sure, we can attribute this to a combination of genetics, daily orange juice, and God's mercy, but I think one of the biggest reasons is because our home isn't super sanitized. Those antibodies are always working!
3) Awesome hiding spots for Hide and Seek.
There are all kinds of places to hide when your home isn't tidy. Curling up under rumpled blankets is one of the very best, and that just wouldn't be possible if the beds were always made.
4) You make guests feel better about themselves.
I suppose it's rude to scoff, but I probably do that very thing when my friends tell me their house is messy. I've been to their homes. Most women don't regularly have three days worth of dishes on their counter like I do. So I'm sure that any of my guests who dread their own imperfections can come to my home and see that we are all quite imperfect, some of us more visibly than others.
5) You have to face issues of the heart head-on.
This has happened at least a hundred times: I'm about to have a dozen or more people over, but today was crazy and I really haven't had the chance to clean as much as I hoped. I really love these people and I need to do a better job of preparing my home so they feel welcome. However, all those feelings of insecurity I have need to be dealt with. I can't just not open my home because it's not "ready." Who am I even trying to impress, and why does their approval mean anything to me? I've got to get rid of this "keeping up appearances" idea and try simply to be present for my guests.
6) If you're not keeping up with your housework, it's quite possible that you're focusing on more important work instead.
I'm not talking laziness/idleness here. That's not good, and I'm certainly guilty of both. But it's also quite possible that, at the end of your day, your house is messy yet you still feel spent because you've been loving people all day long. Maybe you chose to read books to your kids instead of doing the dishes. Maybe you have so many dishes to do because you cooked a ton of meals that your family or guests enjoyed. Just because your priorities don't reflect the magazines doesn't mean that your priorities are wrong.
I'll close with one of the scriptures that has encouraged me the most as a wife and mom. You've probably never heard of this verse when people talk about homemaking, but I think it applies perfectly.
Proverbs 14:4 says, "Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox."
Keeping a barn tidy sure would be easy if there weren't any animals in it! But if there aren't any animals in a barn, what's the point? Your farm wouldn't be producing anything.
In the same way, I would rather have a messy house full of living people who are learning and growing and thriving and being sent out into the world than a perfectly beautiful yet lifelessly empty environment. Ideally---and we should always working towards this---we can have a clean and loving home, but if we have to err on one side, I think mess-because-of-investing-in-people is the better side. And, of course, you don't have to be married or have kids to fill your home with people. Hospitality can be practiced by anyone, whether you're a single dude in a tiny apartment or an empty nester with vacant bedrooms. But my point is, a life full of people is a full life. I'd rather have a full life than a perfect life.
So be encouraged, messy friends. Strive for excellence in everything you do, yes, but the condition of your home is not nearly as important as the condition of your heart. Deal with the latter first.
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My name is Hope.
I'm 26, married to a former skater dude, and raising little people ages 6, 4, 3, and squishy-baby. I like lime green and sarsaparilla, and I wear my Crocs until they melt. (Florida problems.)
Quick links to some of my posts:
Articles I've Written on Other Sites:
Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today