No, actually. I’m not sorry for the mess.

Yes, I know. It’s the polite thing to say whenever anyone comes to your house and finds it in a state any less immaculate than a surgical theatre as furnished by Pottery Barn. For lo, look at the abomination that is dust on the mantle. Lay your eyes on the smudges on the table legs. Are those dishes in the sink? Actual dishes that have touched food? Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Let me just go commit ritual suicide in the backyard as soon as I can find a tarp. It’s the done thing. I get it. But I am over it.

I mean, okay. We make the effort to see that the place is relatively tidy and that nine times out of ten there are no surfaces that are sticky. We don’t live in squalor, but we have two adults who work full-time and an eighteen-month-old whose understanding of what constitutes a finger food is tenuous at best. (We also have a dog, but he might actually be the tidiest member of the household. Which is kind of worrying now that I see it written down.) It does not look like a catalogue. It looks like people live here because people live here. Why am I apologizing for toys on the floor just because you dropped in unannounced, and by the way who does that in the year of our Lord two thousand and sixteen because cell phones are a thing you know and some people get very anxious when they hear the doorbell unexpectedly because some people don’t always wear a bra at home and they can’t always pretend they aren’t home because they’ve already been spotted through the window and anyway you can step over the Duplo because I’m trying to think of a way to offer you coffee that doesn’t sound like “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE” but maybe does, a little bit?

What really galls me is that even though we share pretty equal responsibility in our housekeeping efforts, my husband would never feel any pressure to tell someone he’s sorry about the dust on the baseboards. Even if he had realized it was there, it would literally never occur to him to feel bad about it. What’s worse is that no one would ever blame him if they saw it. Somehow it’s become my responsibility as a woman to feel bad if the house is anything less than a showpiece, and all the Lysol in the world would not cover the smell of that amount of festering bullshit.

I’m done with the guilt. Why on earth should I feel guilty for taking ten minutes that could be spent on vacuuming and instead using them to throw my daughter onto the couch again and again until she’s laughing so hard she can’t breathe? Why should I feel at all bad for tangling up the sheets with my husband instead of washing and folding them? I’m not an ornament in a showroom. I am living this beautiful, delicious, messy life and this is where I live it.

Today I came home from work and the house was a complete disaster. So I did the only sensible thing I could think of. We went outside and played in the dirt.

 

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