Reddit thread about parents who ‘always have a clean house’ is what we all need to read today

toddler in the middle of a messy living room
Olesya Myzzz/Shutterstock

Sometimes (or, let’s be real—a lot of the time), keeping up with all of life’s responsibilities feels impossible. Working a full-time job, taking care of kids and pets, trying to have a social life, see family, and have a clean house? Who has that many hours in the day? In a thread posted to Reddit’s Parenting forum, one mom wondered just that, especially after her child’s friend criticized her “dirty” house.

“I’ve never been the most tidy person but I feel like I’ve learned over the years (and 3 kids later) how to keep the house at a somewhat manageable level, but I aspire to be someone with a super clean home. I just can’t seem to stay on top of it,” she wrote. “I have 2 neighbor friends who have small children around the same age as mine and anytime I go to their houses they’re immaculate! Like entirely spotless. I truly don’t understand how they keep it that way all the time? One of their kids (who is 4) was over playing with my daughter at our house and said she was going to home to use the bathroom. I told her she could just ours then she pauses and says ‘why is your house always dirty?’ I was shocked! I know I’m not the cleanest but apparently it was noticeable enough to this 4 year old that she didn’t want to use our bathroom. She then said that I never pick up my house lol. I know she’s a little kid but it definitely stung and I don’t want my kids friends thinking we have the messy house.”

She added, “I clean my bathrooms once a week usually, vacuum daily, mop every couple weeks, and feel like I’m picking up constantly throughout the day but any advice to truly keep the house CLEAN clean is appreciated.”

Oof. That does sting, especially coming from a four-year-old. We know kids have no filter but jeez. Luckily, the moms in the thread delivered with advice and comforting words, reminding us that no one is perfect.

“We do it quickly and stressfully about an hour before you get there,” the top-rated comment says.

An extremely relatable response reads, “On Sunday, I started doing some general tidying up and my 4yo excitedly asked ‘Who’s coming over??!'”

So many parents in the thread revealed that they have hired cleaners, including one mom who said that even though she pays her cleaners to come every other week, she’s still tidying up constantly in between their visits.

Others who said they’re able to keep their homes pretty clean simply have older kids who can pitch in more.

“I can take zero credit other than for following orders but my girlfriend has pretty strict rules. I help enforce them,” one dad wrote. “Nobody walks into the house without taking off their shoes any mess is cleaned up immediately. Dishes done right after meals, etc. Kids are 15 m, 8 f, 7 m and 5 f.”

Overall, the Reddit thread is filled with great advice — but it should also be a comforting reminder that a lot of parents are not on top of everything all the time. And that’s OK! Life isn’t about having a perfectly clean house all the time, and if that’s what you have to sacrifice in order to take better care of yourself, pursue hobbies, or spend quality time with your family, you won’t regret it down the road.

Tips to keep your home—and sanity—in check

Keeping a tidy home with little kids can be a challenge, but there are some strategies to help:

  1. Involve the kids: Even young children can help with simple tasks like putting toys away, wiping up spills, or sorting laundry. Make it a game or use rewards to encourage participation.

  2. Declutter regularly: Go through toys, clothes, and household items regularly and donate or discard anything you no longer need. Less stuff means less mess.

  3. Use bins and baskets: Strategically placed bins and baskets make it easy to quickly toss in toys, books, or clutter when company is coming over or when you need a quick clean-up.

  4. Schedule regular clean-ups: Set aside 10-15 minutes each day for the whole family to do a quick tidy-up before bedtime or another routine.

  5. Create designated spaces: Having specific spots for toys, books, and other items helps kids learn where things belong and makes clean-up easier.

  6. Limit rooms: Try to contain messes to certain rooms or areas, like a playroom or family room, to make other spaces easier to maintain.

  7. Do a nightly reset: Before going to bed, take a few minutes to reset common areas by putting away toys, dishes, and clutter.

  8. Lower your standards: Accept that a certain level of mess is normal and okay when you have young children. Focus on keeping high-traffic areas tidy.

  9. Enlist help: If possible, hire a cleaning service to come in once or twice a month for a deeper clean, or trade childcare with a friend to give each other cleaning breaks.

  10. Embrace the chaos: Remember, this is a fleeting phase. Enjoy your children and don’t stress too much about the mess. The days of a spotless home will return eventually.

Consistency and involving the whole family are key. With some simple habits and realistic expectations, you can keep your home relatively tidy without going overboard.