I Guess We Can’t Be Friends, But That’s Okay Because The Only Friend I Need Is Mrs. Meyer

143919687As a mother, I have dutifully looked to the uninspired memes floating around Facebook in the guise of unfunny ecards to help me parent more effectively. Since more and more of my friends have become parents, they have helpfully given me the tools to correct my horrible parenting habits. Since only shitty moms have friendships, wear pants, or leave the house on Friday to go be a Sluts McGee all around town, I have tried my best to not do any of those things. But this week, someone took it a bridge too far by pointing out that if you’re cleaning your house, you are missing a vital opportunity to cherish the rapidly waning moments of your child’s childhood filled with their childlike laughter or something.

I’ll say this once: If you attempt to take my CFC-infused Sprayway glass cleaner from me, you’d better make sure I’m good and dead first because I will knife you right in your lululemon yoga pants before I give up the goods. You’ve been warned.

I like to clean. I’m sure you could trace it back to some kind of childhood trauma if you had the time and a few pads of graph paper to waste, but the fact remains that I am not comfortable in my home unless my carpet has shark’s teeth and all of the little toothpaste dribbles have been wiped out of the sinks. I take a lot of pride in my gleaming doorknobs, and yes, I make people take off their shoes before they come in to my house. Being able to sit down on the couch without shoving a pile of laundry to the floor so that I can have a glass of wine with my husband and feel like a human adult is one thing that I refuse to give up just because I reproduced.

To be honest, I never understood the concept that children are little tyrants that rob you of your desire/ability to do big girl things. Because my pregnancy was a surprise, we made the inevitable pros and cons list of why we should go through with it and “being the boss of someone littler than me” made it into the pros list no less than 4 times. Of course, I’m a youngest child, so that probably has a lot to do with it.

You can reach this post's author, Theresa Edwards, on twitter.
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    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Cleaning is also my clubbing. I am with ya

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards
      • Rachel Sea

        Cleaning and clubbing are just mirror images. In both the music is a little loud and everyone is sweaty, but on the clean side the space looks less scary at the end of the night when the lights come on – which is also when the booze gets opened.

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        Also, foam.

    • Bethany Ramos

      The post that you linked to made me feel so bitter when I saw it on Facebook. If everything has resorted to clean-shaming, then I have no idea where we go from here.

      I love cleaning! My husband and I share a Google calendar chore chart, which might be what you call marital bliss. PS. Theresa, you are as hilarious as ever. ;)

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        My Love Language is doing the damn chores on the checklist.

    • candyvines

      Does anyone know what happened to the Baby Blossom scent? I haven’t been able to find it for awhile.

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        Is this Mrs. Meyer’s we’re talking about? If it is don’t worry about where it went because lemon verbena > everything ever.

      • candyvines

        Yes, it was the best scent! Sort of sweet and a little floral. Lemon verbena always smells like yellow Pez to me (which is not necessarily a bad thing.) I do love the MM Radish soap.

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        Hmmm…I feel like you’re describing the Germanium scent which is also delishballs smelling. Maybe a good substitute. I’m not a fan of floral except lavender.

    • BexleyS

      My first though was, if these people are so bothered about missing out on valuable kiddy time then why the hell are they pissing about on Facebook!?! Shouldn’t they be weaving hemp baskets with their kids or something? : ) I can’t bear the notion that you can’t have a clean and tidy house and be a good parent. It’s just an excuse to not tidy up. My house is always a mess but not because I’m such a good parent… I just can’t be bothered :D

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      also, the caldrea website is my mommy porn. PS: I hate the term mommy porn

      • Bethany Ramos

        #mommyporn #groupondildo #lordknows

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        please god–#groupondildo? I just found this week’s hashtag for everything I post on facebook, relevant or not.

      • Bethany Ramos

        There are SO many dildos on groupon right now, and I don’t know why!!!! Well, V Day, I suppose…

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        Sweet. #momboner

      • Bethany Ramos

        LOL!

      • Kay_Sue

        *heads over to Groupon*

      • Bethany Ramos

        You’ve been warned!

      • Robotic Arms Dealer

        Update?

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      I think my favorite thing about that FB post is how not horribly messy that living room is?? That’s like 5 minutes of tidying and half a load of laundry at worst – plus, if the kids are actively playing with stuff, why WOULDN’T it be all over the floor till they’re done? Smells like humblebrag to me (and I prefer the scent of Orange Glo to that any day).

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        RIGHT???

      • Lee

        Definitely. My living room usually looks like a couple toy boxes threw up all over it and I don’t consider that messy, just temporary.

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        This is what enormous plastic buckets were made for. Out of sight, out of mind. I used them when the little was incapable of picking up after herself.

      • Kay_Sue

        Exactly. My living room actually currently resembles that photograph. The floor is strewn with blocks. When he’s done playing with those, we’ll scoop them up, put them back in the box (on wheels! I love this thing!) and wheel it back to his room. Ten seconds, maybe thirty if he is feeling stubborn, and it’s done.

        And I have to ask: Does she not have Netflix? I do my best laundry folding while marathoning a show….

      • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

        Netflix is crucial, but my current laundry folding jam is the Olympics. The thighs on those speed skaters, I tell you what.

      • Kay_Sue

        That would do it! ;)

      • noelle 02

        Yeah, my husband isn’t allowed to fold clothes. That’s the kids And my once upon a time episode watching time.

    • elle

      I hate cleaning. I absolutely 100%despise it in a way that is not normal. And I’m 26 and still haven’t mastered the art of sweeping. But I do it anyway because who wants to live in filth? I would cry probably if I came home and there were laundry piles everywhere and a gritty floor and toothpaste stains. I’d rather have my son living in a clean place then spend 20 extra minutes gunning away from “ghosts” (he has a Scooby Doo obsession) also is that pic linked a actually her house? That’s maybe a little disorganized but not messy.

    • pixie

      I started reading the post you linked and then stopped when she described herself as “organized (and a little OCD)”. I know it’s common to say this if you’re super organized, and I know I have said it before, but I’m trying not to say it anymore because I’m meeting (online mostly) more neuroatypical people and although I always knew being organized was not OCD, I’m learning to understand that it can be insulting and does nothing to help discussion of mental health to describe oneself as OCD when one isn’t.

      That being said, I’m not a fan of cleaning. I really am not. But I like living in a clean(ish) environment, so I clean my living space fairly frequently. I’m glad I live in a bachelor/studio apartment, so if I pick up my clothes, do my dishes, and wipe the tiny counter, it looks pretty clean. I only really need to vacuum/sweep twice a month, and I clean my kitchen and bathroom while I’m at it. I learned I liked living in a clean house when I went from my parent’s house to university and a couple years I lived with my best friend (who was of the same thought as me on cleanliness and also, like me, had an active part in keeping her parents’ house clean growing up) and her then-boyfriend (who was never expected to clean his parents house and was a pretty big slob). While my friend and I did clean up after ourselves, her then-boyfriend made enough mess for three additional people. I’d like someone to tell my parents they were neglecting me because they like a clean house.

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        I didn’t even think of that, but yes. No one is “a little OCD”. Ew.

    • Andy

      THANK YOU! As for what my clubbing is, my clubbing is sewing/quilting and baking. I grew up with a mom who sews and quilts and she’s passed it on to me, and I was a pastry chef in my pre-kid life (and am trying to reconcile the fact that, when it comes time for me to return to work, I’m going to have to figure something out because no kitchen is going to hire a 38 year old woman with two kids when they can hire a 20 year old male fresh out of culinary school and work him to death-but I digress). I don’t craft or bake to try to one-up other moms, I do it for me. As for my house, I like it to be reasonably tidy, but a neat freak I am not. I just don’t like to trip over toys, I like the dishes and laundry to be done, and the master bedroom is a toy-free zone (sorry, I need one room I can retreat to and feel like a grown-up for a few hours each day!).

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        Ugh Let’s collude forever about how suck it is to find a job after staying home. I also have a toy-free zone. It’s called “everything that’s not your room or playroom, kid”.

    • Courtney Lynn

      OMG! I could have written this. I have actually been teased and pretty much told I’m too worried about a clean home. Even after I explained it, that I do have ADD and it is a VERY big deal to me to be able to keep my home at the level I do. In my mind, my home is NEVER clean enough. Ever. I don’t expect show-room, unrealistic clean, either. I have a baby and a near-2-year-old. I just don’t want uncontrollable clutter all the time. I can’t live like that. I hate dishes in the sink. I hate dirty countertops. I like to keep my floor vacuumed because we have dogs. These things are not crazy and not unrealistic and I will not be told I’m either of those things.

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        Crazy! I also have ADD, and cleaning is my area of “hyperfocus”–the thing you do to keep from doing the things you’re actually supposed to do. It’s actually kind of an accomplishment for me to clean AND accomplish XYZ. On days I can do both, I throw on the strobes and do a little dance.

    • Kay_Sue

      I love you. I love you so much. I really feel like we are twin spirits in some way, because this is really the millionth post of yours that I agree with on so many levels.

      I love cleaning. I know, it’s crazy. I love organizing. I fiddle with things all the time until they are just perfectly the way that I want them. I can tell you know where 90.9% of stuff in my house is, and the other 9.1% I can’t tell you because my partner or kids put it somewhere it wasn’t supposed to be. I wind up enlisted to help my friends and family reclaim space because I have a knack for it.

      Having a clean house doesn’t mean I am neglecting my kids. In fact, I consider it an opportunity to teach them some pretty cool stuff. I mix my own cleaning shit now, so my seven year old and I practice measuring. My three year old loves to operate our spray mom and wipe counters. He’ll also pretend to vacuum, and he really likes to help me vacuum. They’ll sit at the table while I do dishes and talk. We’ll do play doh while waiting for the floor to dry. There’s a million and one ways that I make this work for us, because I need the order to keep my sanity. That’s the bottom line, and no one, absolutely no one, is allowed to take that from me. Not my husband, not my kids. It’s easier now that I stay home, but even when I worked, this was critical. Walking in after a twelve hour shift to house that was a wreck was a surefire way to end the day in absolute tears. It’s just how I am wired.

      On the flip side, the emphasis is on this is how *I* am wired. I’m not going to walk into someone’s house that’s just normal messy (if it’s Hoarders style or you’re growing penicillin on your cabinets or something, that’s another story) and be like, “OH M GEEEEE, CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS, YOU ARE A PIG!” because that’s not true either. Different folks are wired differently, different folks have different priorities, and neither way is superior. It’s just different. We had a saying when I was on aid trips in Costa Rica–”It’s not wrong, it’s just different.” It probably accounts for a lot of my thought processes today. Not wrong. Just different.

      Also, there’s nothing for me that tops the feeling of a nice fruity adult beverage in my nice clean living room at the end of the night with my feet up in the recliner…it’s just heaven to me.

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        Exactly. It takes all kinds. Different does not equal bad.

    • Robotic Arms Dealer

      http://dugansincahoots.com/2014/02/07/clarifyingwecantbefriends/

      Her response post is even better than the original!

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        #ineedgracedontyou

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        #i’mallsetactually

      • Kay_Sue

        I couldn’t even make it all the way through that. The whole left-aligned/indented/italicized/not italicized style was entirely too grating.

      • pixie

        Yeah, that hurt my head, too. I managed to skim it, but I didn’t really read it in any depth because my brain already hurts from sitting in class for the past three hours.

    • Jessica Johnson

      I’m not much of a cleaner. I’ve gotten better since we moved into a bigger place, as there’s room for everything to have a spot now, but I still skip dusting and vacuuming once in a while, and right this very second I might have watched a dust bunny tumbleweed its way across my floor. I’m a slacker, but I try to keep my place neat. I banished their toys from every room other than theirs once they were old enough not to try to swallow them. You’ve got a bedroom, keep your toys there, I got enough mess everywhere else without your help, thanks. As the kids aren’t really allowed in my bedroom anyway, their toys and clutter weren’t ever an issue there. And I’ve made them help me clean since they started walking on their own. If you make it a game, they don’t even realize they’re doing it.
      I never tried to say “My house can’t be clean because I have kids”. I *am* guilty of saying “I can’t have non-scrubable paint because I have two boys and a mechanic here” though.

      • Karen Milton

        Dust bunnies: not fatal. I’m picky about the kitchen and bathrooms because germs (imaginary or otherwise), but if there’s some clutter on the whatever I don’t have an aneurysm about it. I do aim for ‘clean but cluttered’ rather than flat-out grime, and it’s pretty successful, at least for the most part. I have six cats at present, so I could literally vacuum all day and never be done, which has definitely changed my expectations. There’s no point stressing about it, it won’t make them stop shedding. If cleaning while your child does a puzzle or paints on her easel I can’t see how that could be bad parenting. She doesn’t need me staring at her every waking moment to be fulfilled – in fact, she’ll do better in the long run if I don’t. She’s also a whiz with the Windex, and I’m all for that.

      • Jessica Johnson

        I dunno… Some of these dust bunnies are big enough to obstruct an airway. lmao. Fortunately, they’re also too heavy to just float around up where I’m breathing.
        And exactly with the not staring at the kid all day thing. It’s pretty important for them to lean to play independently, they can play while stuff gets done.

    • Kat

      If I see that stupid e-card that says “my house is like a museum … everything is on display! [subtext: tee hee I'm messy and it's cute!!]” I’m going to lose my shit. First off, museums are *meticulously* organized and second you only see about 1/10 of the stuff they have. The rest? Is *meticulously* organized. In storage. Unlike your slobby-ass abode.

      I think there’s a lot of grey space in between “Danny Tanner Freak Clean” and “As Seen On Hoarders.” Everything doesn’t have to sparkle. But I should be able to see the floor and NOT see the balls of cat hair that roll around on it like tumbleweeds. I too am a better, happier person when things are tidy and organized. I take 10 minutes out of my day to tidy up my work space so that when I come in the next morning it’s ready to go. Same with my house. It’s not “company ready” 90% of the time, but if someone gave me 30 minutes of warning, I could get it pretty close.

      When I go to other people’s houses and there’s crap everywhere (kid crap and adult crap) I judge them. And I judge your nasty facebook photos with your unkempt living room in the background. There, I said it. [For the record, I just angle my shots so that you can't see the clutter. Voila!]

      • MellyG

        Even as a kid people would say my parent’s house looked like a museum. As in spotless and looked like a display, not lived in. I had a good childhood – was not deprived. I also learned how to clean at an OCD level, but i still had a good childhood…….i didn’t feel neglected when my parents cleaned, so the concept that parents can’t clean is just so very odd to me

      • ElleJai

        Probably don’t visit my place then. It’s tidy, but the dog hair tumble weed is beating me. I vacuum and five freaking minutes later it’s bred under all the furniture I just damn well moved and cleaned under!

    • Rachel Sea

      My wife and I made the entire house spotless on Saturday, and when we were done I felt so relaxed an observer might have felt compelled to check for my pulse. There is nothing I like so well as having absolutely nothing that needs doing.

      • ElleJai

        It’s better than a holiday! I love that feeling sooo much.

    • Leash

      I think you’re being pretty mean to her. I agree with her and think many of you have missed the point. I hate cleaning and always have and I hate feeling judged every time someone steps into my house. No where in the post did she judge clean people, she just asked that you don’t make her feel bad for having a messy house.

    • elle.m.jay

      I think Theresa’s article is pretty funny, but I was a little surprised when I clicked over to the blog it discusses. I really didn’t think hers was so bad! Her vibe is a little cutesy for my taste, but I really felt like her message was more like “my house is messy, please don’t judge, and your house is clean, that is (non-sarcastically) awesome for you” than that she was clean-shaming anyone.
      And, after reading the comments, I am so happy to see that most of you cleaners don’t judge those of us who don’t have it quite as together! Your tips are helpful too… maybe there is hope for my house to finally get more clean and organized. : )

    • Brainspace

      The whole concept of the “dirty home-happy kids-ZOMGTHEMEMORIES” humblebrag ignited a mompocalypse on my FB. Clearly I don’t get it because I don’t have kids was the take-away message, despite my explanation that I have no issue with clean or messy homes. I only eyeroll the braggy “Ugh, I can ONLY make memories with my precious kids.” So cleaning is only for the childfree and horrible parents? Please. Just admit you don’t feel like cleaning, which is cool with me as I hate it, too, but don’t humblebrag it to ease your (probably imaginary) sense of inadequacy.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        My house is kinda messy right now but not because I’m such a great mom. It’s cause I’m a little bit lazy and…internets.. :)

      • Brainspace

        Yup. Books and online rants > cleaning, hands down. Fuck the man.

      • neighbor57

        Haha! My kids should be SO HAPPY all the time because my house is generally a mess. Not because I’m busy making memories; mostly I’m hiding from them.

    • Karen Milton

      Guys: cheap plastic bins from the dollar store + label maker = HEAVEN. Yes I still have a stack of shitty washcloths, but if it’s in a bin it looks way nicer. Front hall closet? Hats, mittens, scarves…bin bin bin. My label maker is the best investment of my life. I labeled the linen closet so that nobody has an excuse to just shove crap in there willy-nilly, and all the junk under the bathroom sink looks like someone actually cares. There’s a label! It goes right there! Changed my life.

    • Katherine Handcock

      I will freely admit I fall into the “Mommy will go crazy if she tries to keep this house spotless” camp, but I love your point that different is just different! If you’re more relaxed with the house spotless, that’s great. I’m not, and as long as you’re cool with that, we’re good. The only time I’ve ever told someone that they were cleaning too much was when a friend of mine was talking on Facebook about being seriously sick, dealing with her two (also sick) kids, packing for a major move, AND being upset that she hadn’t vacuumed that day – and what I said was, “You’ve got a lot on your plate. I promise nobody will die if you have to leave the vacuuming for one more day. Please go easy on yourself, take care of yourself, and take a nap!”

    • CMP414

      My house is immaculate because that’s the only way I feel comfortable. It has nothing to do with my love for my toddler. I also have friends that I see on the weekends and so far my kid has survived. All these sanctimommies who think you can’t clean, have friends, etc without being a bad mom can shove it.

    • chickadee

      I despise the blogging trope that having children = no more life and no more capacity to have adult interests or time or responsibilities apart from babyraising.

      Seriously — maybe I was being OCD (I wasn’t) by cleaning up the house during baby/toddler naptimes, but it kept us from living in a sty. And yes, I have trouble relaxing in a dump. And as the author mentioned, once the children have mastered the art of walking while carrying something, you can show them how to put the object that is clenched in their fat little hands into the proper receptacle.

      I just hate that being a mother means that OF COURSE you don’t have time…only lazy/uninvolved/slipshod paarents have time for normal things.

    • Upsilon

      In the original post, I was trying to determine whether or not anyone HAD actually made the author feel bad about her house being disorganized. Chances are, no one had ever said or acted as such. So to come out guns blazing with “we can’t be friends!!” seems defensive. I don’t really care what my mama friends’ homes look like and I expect this goes both ways

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      Children, toddlers, babies… all require some down time. No one needs constant interaction to be happy or well-adjusted. Not every minute has to be filled with language. It’s totally fine to leave your kid to their own devices for awhile to do other things, whatever it is that makes you feel mentally well. They’ll learn how to entertain themselves and you won’t go crazy. Win-win. There are plenty of child safety devices on the market just for this purpose.
      People who never need breaks from their children are either rare or lying. I lean towards the latter. It’s so easy to put shit online about your perfection because you can edit the image you present.

    • ALE515

      THANK YOU!!! You and I can soooo be friends! I’m currently pregnant with my first, but even before that I would hear from my messy brother “Wait until you have kids! You’re house will be a mess and things get broken.” Um, no! Just because I have a kid does not mean my house will look like a dump. I learned early on to take my own plate to the sink, clean up any food that I may have dropped, and my kid will learn that too. My brother and his house are disgusting (no lie), and they just like using their kids as an excuse.

      I like cleaning, and I highly doubt that will change!

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