I want to hold your eye contact to prevent you from looking around, but I can’t. It’s inevitable. I can practically see the sighs building up in your chest. “Your house is always so clean. I don’t know how you do it.”
I’ll make a joke about how you shouldn’t open any closets or check under the couch. But you’ll see it as a deflection. You believe my house is clean, even while it’s clutter and dust is right under your nose.
We’re programmed for comparison. Boys and girls. Minivans and SUVs. Organic and Corn Syrup. It’s why our “This or That” posts do so well on our Facebook page and why people get riled up about the Oxford comma. Even more compelling is our tendency to want what we don’t have. Sometimes it’s greener grass. Sometimes it’s Chris Pine. Sometimes it’s being able to walk through the kitchen in our socks and not step on an old banana.
When you come into my home, you don’t see the old banana. You see your mess missing from my countertops and your clutter missing from my floors. My mess is still there, but it looks different. To you, my disorganization looks lived in and comfortable and part of my general décor (and who’s to say it’s not?). You may find comfort in my mess in a way that would drive yourself crazy if it were superimposed in yours.
I’m writing this post not so that you’ll accept that my house is cleaner, but to remind you that it’s time to let those comparisons go. Don’t focus on what your house isn’t. Focus on what it is—a home teeming with love, and life and fingerprints, and old bananas. Tell yourself that permanently clean houses are for people with too much time on their hands (no offense, Mom). And, if that doesn’t work, I invite you to stop by my house without giving me a five minutes heads up. You’ll feel better instantly.