The struggle to keep a clean house when you’ve got kids underfoot is REAL, y’all — and writer Jordan Harrell is reminding us all of that simple-yet-true fact this week. The Texas mom of three took to Facebook February 2 to share a little tale about her day; a tale that pretty much sums up the literal messiness of motherhood, as well as the mind-numbing minutia of it all. Except, instead of being written to other moms like herself, the post was written to her husband. And it won’t take you too long to realize why.
“Dear Husband,” Harrell’s post begins. “I know I said I was going to clean the kitchen today. So you might be surprised when you get home and see the kitchen is in fact, not clean. I’d love to offer an explanation … ”
The “explanation” that ensues involves a myriad of STUFF that literally got in her way as she intended to clean up said kitchen.
“First, I walked in to the kitchen with the sole intention of cleaning it,” she writes. “I picked up the hair brush and rubber bands off the kitchen table and walked to the bathroom to put them in the drawer. While in the bathroom I noticed a pile of towels on the floor that had been laying there, fermenting for several days, so I grabbed the towels and headed to the laundry room. Once there, I decided to go ahead and do a load since both hampers were spilling over and the room smelled like cat pee and B.O. had a baby. I cranked the dials on the washer, shut the lid, and headed back to the original job: the kitchen.”
But on my way to the kitchen I was sighted by Child B. A hangry Child B. The child and her whines followed me into the kitchen, where I promptly handed her a cheese stick and told her to go eat it in the garage (because the kitchen is being cleaned right now, obviously).”
… See where this is going? Yep; thought so.
Harrell’s post continues in a similarly frenetic tone, as the act of doing one task keeps simultaneously reminding her about another pressing, but forgotten task that needs tending to. Like suddenly remembering that she hasn’t emailed her child’s teacher back yet about the Valentine’s Day party, which sends her rushing to the computer only to open it as her third child begins screaming for her to fix his cape.
The rest of the afternoon unfolds with meltdowns, new distractions, and, okay, perhaps a few moments lost to a Facebook click hole — all before the clock strikes 3. And that’s when she realizes it’s time to pick Child A up from school. (BUT OF COURSE.)
“So, no,” she tells her husband. “It’s not clean. Nothing is ever clean. My life is just a constant state of doing and never completing. I just thought I’d let you know the situation, so you won’t ask about the state of the kitchen.
Not that you ever would. 🙂
Love you forever,
P.S. Remind me to email Child B’s teacher.”
Harrell’s post has struck a chord with moms across Facebook since it was first published last week, though she says she’s “absolutely surprised” to see it go viral.
“I write to encourage moms who feel like they’re not doing enough or crafting enough or reading enough or cooking enough or good enough,” she tells Babble. “I want to make sure there isn’t any mom out there believing they are completely alone in all their junk, that everyone else is doing more and doing it better. That’s a lie. We are all just doing the best we can. And we will drive ourselves CRAZY if we live in that space of comparison.”
AMEN to that.
Harrell adds that some of the stress of it all ultimately comes from ourselves — as hard as that is to see in the moment.
“I think we get an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to housekeeping,” she says. “If we can’t get it all done, we throw up our hands in defeat and give up. Let’s be real, though. In the stage we are in, the house is never going to be spotless. But we can still celebrate small victories, like getting the dishes done or the cabinets wiped down. We can pick one or two things to get done that day, and then not feel bad about going to bed with the dishes in the sink.”
And in doing so, we might just save our sanity in more ways than you’d think.
“I guarantee I’ll be a better mom the next day if I get an extra hour of sleep rather than staying up late cleaning the whole house,” she shares. But her ultimate pro-tip? “Hire a cleaning lady if you can. Even just once a month. That’s the key to a happy marriage.”
In the end, Harrell says she just wants moms to know they’re not alone in the chaos. Even though when you’re knee-deep in the craziness of the day, it sure can feel like it.
“It’s not just their kids and their house,” she explains. “And if they feel like they can’t ever get anything done, they’re right. Neither can I.”