Where Do You Draw the Line to Maintain Appearances?

In society it is important to maintain appearances. In my twenties I was so self-conscious about being judged that I would vacuum under the couches each day and wipe the mirror after each person splashed water all over it while washing their hands. I have lived a long life at the age of 42 and let me tell you something; if my kids risk going to foster care because my dust bunnies are the size of raccoons then I suppose that would also alleviate 99% of the messes in my home.

#appearances, #dirty, #house, #clean, #home, the dust bunny is eating the baby

And if someone spreads rumors about my unsanitary living conditions because there is toothpaste splatter in my sink and I haven’t caught it yet, then they can stop using my bathroom like it is a public toilet at the RITZ.

#clean #home #house #standards bathroom

My home collects a fair bit of clutter but nothing obscene. There may be spots on the floor from one of my children spilling some dribbles of milk and tracking in rainwater. But, there is not food left open to spoil or muddy footprints on the floor. I like to live respectably. I do have pride in my home. Yet we all have to decide where we draw “the line”.  For some that line may be drawn at “I will not tolerate spots on my dishes!” While for others it may be “Hey, I draw the line at using anything but paper plates”. Either way the dishes are still clean, right? So How far will you go to maintain appearances?

Never Fear Mommy is Here to #clean #maid

QUIZ Where Do You Draw the Line To Maintain Appearances?

1. You are running late for an important meeting and as you rush for the door you see that your child has smeared Nutella fingerprints on the bathroom door. You:

a. Leave  the fingerprints for later. (If people think there is poo on your door then serves them right for judging.)

b. Leave in a panic.  (Stress all day about the teachers probably judging the Nutella under your child’s fingernails at school.)

c. Drop everything and clean up the “POO” (Late to meeting- fired from job)

#clean #home #house #standards bathroom kids cleaning

2. You open the door to let guests in and see that your child has left the nasty Turkey Wishbone on the rug where you hadn’t noticed it before. You:

a. Close the door on the guests, hide the bone and rattle off a desperate  explanation as you re-open the door. (Better to be a little weird than a lot disgusting).

b. Try to distract guests eyes upward by admiring your squeaky clean ceiling fan and kick the bone under the sofa without incident. (Crisis averted for now but stress that the dog will come in and ravage the sofa.)

c. Pick up the ratty bone and cheerfully dangle it in the air “Who wants to make a Wish?” (People think you are insane)

#appearances, #dirty, #house, #clean, #home, turkey carcass wishbone

I don’t really know what this Quiz proves. But I do know that you have to do your best in every situation to maintain your own acceptable Level of Appearances.

I  am a busy mom with filthy children and I do worry that someone will walk into their messy rooms and decide that I don’t teach my children properly. Yet, after teaching them properly and consistently for their entire lives to maintain a clean and organized room (and fighting with them all the way) I draw the line at doing it for them just to have it clean for me. When I give them all the tools to be successful (hangers, baskets, drawers, shelves, hooks, hampers, the know how and clear expectations) but they still leave things a mess, I have at some time to admit defeat and draw a line.

I draw the line at using my own valuable time to pick up coats and shoes and back packs when I have my own work to be done even when it means other people will see the mess. (My kids need to be reminded and responsible).

#appearances, #dirty, #house, #clean, #home, under the couch cushions

I draw the line at trying to dress my eleven year old when it is clearly too cold for him to wear shorts, just so I can avoid neighbors deciding that I am a neglectful parent. (My child needs to be uncomfortably cold until he decides to wear pants in the snow.)

I won’t lounge around the house like a lazy bum instead of cleaning. I do have self imposed standards of cleanliness that are important to me. But when it comes right down to it, I have to draw the line somewhere that works for me despite what appearances may say about me. What about you?


Leave me your thoughts and stories in the comments below.


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30 thoughts on “Where Do You Draw the Line to Maintain Appearances?

  1. I have been very anal about laundry for many years – I even iron my husband’s T-shirts. I was told a few year ago that I was bad ironing his polo shirts! Today, with a 5-foot pile of laundry to iron, my husband challenged me to NOT iron the T-shirts and only iron the collars and cuffs on his dress shirts (“I’m going to wear sweaters over them anyway!”) And you know what, I am thinking about it right now, but it is not stressing me. But don’t stop me from ironing the sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers. I do like my bed to look like it is from the Ritz (or at least some hotel)!

    • I cant even imagine doing that amount of ironing!!! WOW! I HAVE ironed table clothes but NEVER in my life have I ironed a sheet. (I dont even properly FOLD my sheets – unless rolling them into a squarish ball counts as folding) I agree that you should at least let the T-shirts go, but I really do admire you for getting all the rest of that ironing accomplished!

  2. OMG Jen, this is so me. My husband and child are messy and it used to drive me crazy. I would rush around for over an hour each night after work, picking up messes and cleaning stuff. Recently, I’ve learned to let go. I draw the line with putting away their clothing (I do put the baby’s away), and manly outdoor chores, like stacking fire wood or burning boxes. And guess what….if it doesn’t get done, I’m not doing it. Who cares what the neighbors think about my box porch. lol

    • It is comforting to know that you can let it go to relieve some anxiety on your life!! Maybe put a big sign up on the boxes that says “The inside of the house is clean, the husband is supposed to do the yard” LOL

  3. I swear you get funnier by the day, lol. I loved this post and I completely agree with you! I draw the line at caring what others think, lol. I too have a decent home, but it is full of kids which means it won’t be clutter free or completely clean at all times. Also, this very morning I had my 4yr old daughter pick out her own clothes for school…she picked out a summer tank top and leggings. Although I advised her it was quite cold today (teens), she insisted on wearing it so I let her. I did have her at least put a skirt over the leggings so I didn’t look completely neglectful, lol. Oh, and she grabbed a sweater ‘just in case’. 🙂

    • I think that the best parents are the ones who let their children learn form their own real life consequences (to a degree OF COURSE) like dressing for the weather and such. IT makes them self aware, independent and intelligent!

    • Words of wisdom Kristin. Perhaps I will do a craft tutorial for a wall plaque on my front door that reads “It is what it is”!!

  4. Great post!!! We all have to decide what our boundaries are and where our priorities lie! I hate to dust, fold socks and clean the bathroom, but don’t you even think about putting your stuff on my clean counter! lol And I’ve quit cleaning the kids rooms too. They have the skills, tools and knowledge. This is a great reminder to be realistic and pick our fights(and our cleaning schedules too lol) I loved the ‘hey! I found the remote! image. I can definitely relate!

    • Thank you for sharing my pain with the dirty couch! It is those kind of things that go unnoticed until it is too late and you are EXPOSED!!! LOL TMI: I am very anal about my microwave being clean.

  5. I don’t stress about little messes much at all. My husband on the other had goes crazy over them. Our house is literally the cleanest house out anyone I know because of him. (Not me. I’d leave the Nutella on the door til later. Much later…)

    • Many wives have learned that when they let some things go the husbands will pick up some of the slack! (Better them than us) 🙂

  6. My grandmother always had a spotless home. Always. My mom never did. I’m a healthy mix of the two. 🙂 I do like it clean, but if every single person is not doing their part, the work adds up and it can lack a little. I don’t care. 🙂

  7. That is the same about my grandmother and mom too. AS well, I feel like I am a good mix. Some days I care a little more than others 🙂

  8. LOL I am so OCD. I really need to follow some of this advice. Its so bad that OCD is rubbing off on my child (is that possible?) People come in and ask how the hell I keep a perfect house with a 2 year old. I look and I’m like uhh..this looks like crap! LOL. But to answer your survey- question 1- My easy solution is to yell for the dog an show him the nutella. It will be lean before I get home and I won’t be fired for being late! question 2- pick up the bone and take it to the trash! people are used to seeig me pick up anything i my path as I walk LOL

  9. I did not inherit my mom’s clean freak gene, so while basics like dishes and laundry get done, general tidiness does often slide in my house. Unless someone’s coming over. Then we’re cleaning machines 🙂

  10. LOL! When it comes to cleaning in my house… I WILL ADMIT my hubby is the more OCD one than I am 😉 Don’t get me wrong, I keep it looking clean….. he goes above and beyond LOL!

  11. I have a preschooler and 2 dogs (and a husband…) and our house is always a mess. I try to keep it so the Department of Health doesn’t come knocking at the door (lol!) but mostly I don’t worry about it too much. The time will come when I’ll have a clean, quiet house – and I’ll probably miss the clutter!

  12. There is always a mess in the foyer thanks to my 2 teenage daughters leaving their shoes, coats, bags, etc. on the floor. I refuse to clean their messes at ages 18 and 16, I have a 2 1/2 year old and an 8 month old to clean up after- and a husband! So I take all that crap and throw it on the stairs for them to trip over when they get home. Yes, you see the stairs right when you walk in. I don’t care. I do pick up every morning and do the dishes and sweep and mop when needed. But deep cleaning doesn’t get done as often as it should be now that I have the little ones. The good news- it looks like we’ll be having another couple of snow days this week and I think a really fun project for my teens will be to help me wash the walls. 🙂

  13. Deep cleaning is the hardest to do, most of us in the household aren’t fit to move large furniture. There is also the problem of what precious time is left after working all week.. should it really be spent trying to make the house spotless… when it will look messy in about 1-2 days after even spending the whole day cleaning? That time could be used to have a family outing and spend time together instead.

  14. I hate to say, but I’m really OCD about having my house clean. Even my sons say I’m a bit OCD about having a clean home. My kids rooms is the only areas that I basically let them take care of until those rooms get so out of hand and then we clean the rooms together. Up to that point, I close their doors each day, so no one can see how messy those rooms are and I’m not bothered by the rooms being messy.

  15. LOL. I love the meme. I have a hard time focusing on cleaning too. And when my boyfriend comes home it gets worse.

  16. I used to keep my house absolutely spotless, but it seems the older I get the less important that perfections is. Now, just clean is good enough, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

  17. I’m a good cleaner for my house, but I won’t slam doors in guests face or be late to a meeting, I’ll just clean it later/distract them. I can’t sit and relax until dishes are done, vacuuming, clutter is put away.

  18. Funny and true. You can work constantly and it still isn’t going to be perfect…kids, pets, or husbands…even you. Don’t let the little things become so important. A smudge on my fridge…oh well, if you have a problem eat somewhere else. Bed corners not straight…sleep on the floor. I have cleaning days but I don’t make them every day.

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