Marie Kondo and Embracing the Chaos of Living with Kids

As a mother of three, I’ve faced all the chaos of living with kids. Stomach viruses. Toys stuffed down the toilet. Diaper blowouts at the zoo without backup clothing. But there is nothing – and I mean nothing – worse than surprise visitors. Now that might be due, in part, to my social anxiety and introvert’s desire to protect my private space. But the reality is my house is never ready for unannounced guests. I’m going to need a minimum of thirty minutes to shove all the toys into a closet, throw dishes into the dishwasher {regardless of the state of cleanliness on the dishes currently residing there}, and panic clean the floors. And that’s on a good day.

child stands in living room scattered with toysBecause the ugly truth is, my house is rarely clean. No matter how much time I devote to straightening up, sweeping and mopping, I have three small {sometimes feral} kids, and two seconds after I get one room in order, they’ve destroyed another. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, there are crumbs on the floor somewhere, shoes kicked off next to – but not inside of – the shoe basket, and a convoy of toy trucks strewn across my living room.

Some days I just look around all the mess surrounding me and all I wanna do is lay down and take a nap. I fantasize about sending a mass email to everyone I’ve ever met and let them know that my house is closed for business. Do not stop by. Do not pass go. I love you, but I am officially uninviting you to my home forever because I have given up.

And frankly I thought I was alone in this sentiment. That is until my sister-in-law sent me an article announcing to the world that Marie Kondo has given up on being neat after the birth of her third kid. I swear I thought it was a hoax at first, or perhaps a new source of satire from The Onion. But within the next few hours, I saw countless mothers I follow on Instagram referencing similar articles. And mixed in with the outrage for those who considered her a queen abdicating her tidy throne, and the “told ya so” jokes from other seasoned mothers of three, I swear there was a collective sigh of relief. And maybe even a sense of validation. Because if a professional tidier can’t keep a perfect home amidst the chaos of living with kids, maybe we shouldn’t be expected to either.

Can we all take a moment to appreciate what Marie Kondo did? The bravery it takes to go on the record and publicly reassess her priorities. And she did it without even a hint of apology. God knows she’ll take a decent amount of criticism for it and her brand will most certainly take a hit. But unlike so many of us, myself included, that feel the need to justify why we are no longer able to maintain the standards we once held, she seems perfectly content with the changes to her personal and professional lives. This woman is my freaking hero.

You see, I’ve spent years researching tips and tricks to keep my home tidy, and while I’ve picked up some great advice along the way, my house remains woefully messy. And I’ve let it eat at me, chipping away at my confidence and filling me with the ever-present mom guilt. Because no matter what I do, my house is disaster. And I have to wonder if my messy house is a tangible reflection of my failures as a mother.

But if the woman whose name is synonymous with cleanliness can accept that a messy home doesn’t define her, maybe I can too. Maybe it’s okay that my house is a disaster. Maybe instead of shouting to the world that I’m a disaster of a mother, it tells a different story. Maybe it says that I’m a mom focused on making sure my son who’s been struggling with reading is getting the attention he needs to catch up. That I’m more focused on playing trucks with my boys than the dishes piled up in the sink. That I prioritize taking care of mental health during my one free hour a day while my son naps over tackling the laundry.

So I guess for the time being I’ll embrace the chaos of living with kids, while I continue to panic clean before people come over to my house. And pray no one spots the crumbs I missed.



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Lauren M
Lauren M. is a native Houstonian who now lives one street over from the house where she grew up in Sugar Land. After a brief fling with Austin where she received her Bachelors Degree in English Lit from Southwestern University, she returned home to attempt to write the great American novel {or, you know, the next Harry Potter series}. A short while later a friend recruited her for a kickball league where she met a tall, handsome engineer who quite literally swept her off her feet. After tying the knot in 2014, they soon welcomed their first son Raleigh {October 2015}, and little brothers Renner {January 2018} and Rafe {September 2021}. When not chasing around her three crazy Texas tornados and reveling in the boy mom life, Lauren has discovered a newfound passion for photography and Photoshop, creating whimsical family portraits at @andwhetherpigshavewings on Instagram. You can also find her at @polyjuiceandpixiedust .


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