Mom Lesson: The Gift of a Messy House


Before having my son, I enjoyed inviting people over. This usually meant that my house would be neat and clean with everything in its place. I’d make sure the bathrooms were freshly cleaned, everything was vacuumed and picked up, beds were made, candles were burning and cookies were baking in the oven. Before kids I enjoyed doing this (well, maybe enjoyed all of it except the cleaning part-just being real!) and felt like I had time to do it.

And then I had a child.

I don’t know about your house, but I feel like my house often looks like a “kid tornado” blew through…outfit changes left on the floor, little shoes in every room, blocks, push toys, puzzle pieces, books, balls, and trucks every where you turn, and heaven forbid my son get a hold of the wipes container (he can empty it of wipes in under 5 seconds stringing them throughout the house!).

So while I still enjoy inviting people over, it became a little more overwhelming. The thought of getting the house “ready” to have people over was just too much.

Invite people over to witness that our house isn’t picture perfect all the time?!?! Am I crazy?

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I just needed to do it. Why was I so concerned what other moms would think? I mean, these women are friends – people that are in the same boat as me. They have kids and know what it’s like to spend 20 minutes picking up every last toy and putting it away, only to turn around to watch (almost in slow motion) your son dump an entire container of blocks or goldfish or dried pasta (yes, these have all 3 happened) all.over.the.floor. Surely they won’t judge my mothering based on my house!

So I decided to go for it. Invite friends over for play dates.

Sure I tried to straighten up a little, but I wasn’t worried if Tanner pulled every book off the shelf 2 minutes before they walked in the door or if the bathtub still had last night’s bath toys laying in the bottom. I just reminded myself, it’s just the stage of life we’re in – we’re going to have blocks on the floor for a while.

And it worked…and was great! The kids could play, I could get in a little adult conversation, everyone had fun, and I didn’t have to spend hours making my house look like all those beautiful pins on Pinterest (I mean do people really live in houses that look like that?!).

Once I started, I realized even impromptu play dates were ok. We’d be at the pool with friends and decide last minute to invite them over for lunch. Nothing fancy – I hadn’t even picked up before friends walked in the door and I served frozen, store-bought fish sticks. Gasp! But it was ok!

Really, I would much rather have a home that is lived in and enjoyed by others than a house that is so perfectly decorated that people are afraid to touch anything or get anything out of place.

I want our playroom to look like it has actually been played in, instead of it looking like it belongs in a model home.

I want my friends and their children to feel welcome in my home and feel like it’s ok to make messes. Sometimes those are the best memories!

After having my son, I have really come to love the saying – Please excuse the mess. The children are making memories.

 Please excuse the mess, the children are making memories - distressed wood sign


So I encourage you to try it!

It’ll be a gift to you and a gift to those you invite over. Maybe they’ll even be encouraged to invite people over to their house knowing it doesn’t have to always be perfect.

Give you friends and your child the gift of a messy house. Give it a try…you might be surprised!



  1. We always love coming to your home & speaking as someone on the “other” side as the person being invited over, I NEVER notice messes at someone else’s home…just my own! I gasp sometimes when I look at my baseboards but it’s so funny, I never check out a friend’s baseboards or notice their dust levels…I’m generally too busy having fun & enjoying being out of the house! Great post Kali, thanks!

  2. totally needed this! this is the #1 reason i never have people over. and i feel stressed on a DAILY basis about how messy my house has become. thanks 🙂

  3. I love this post, Kali! And I totally agree. Honestly, when there are toys on the floor or dishes in the sink at someone else’s, I feel RELIEVED that I’m not the only one that doesn’t have a “perfect” house! (Whatever that is?)

  4. Good job Kali – I love it! I don’t know – maybe it’s because I’m a mom of “advanced maternal age”, but I find a lot of comfort in the friendships of other moms — I don’t usually feel judged by them. But then again, maybe I’m just too busy (or frazzled) to care what they think! 🙂 It’s ALWAYS fun for the kids and a breath of fresh air for Mom to talk with a friend while the kids make memories!

  5. Like you, I don’t like having people at my home because it’s messy. But having 4 kids, it’s sometimes a matter of making friends and so just lately, I’ve decided to go ahead and go for it. I still crisis clean, but at least I’ve let go of the minor messes. And it’s actually been fun. 🙂

  6. I so appreciate this post! I can’t even count how many times we’ve had time to do a playdate, but didn’t invite anyone because it would take me too long to clean the house. It’s freeing to think that it doesn’t have to look perfect for friends to come over!


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