The Biggest Sin.

My mother, who I had not talked to in several days, called me.

I was just starting dinner when the phone rang. She had surgery this week, and the last time I saw her, she was still in the recovery room. I was happy that she was calling; I wanted to find out how she was feeling.

I turned off the stove as I strained to hear her. She sounded weak — just tired, she assured me — and right on cue, my toddler poured a cup of water all over the floor while my back was turned. My mom was still talking, but I couldn’t hear a word: all three of my kids were running around in the widening pool of water as the tile grew more and more slippery.

“I know this probably isn’t a good time to call,” she said, likely because she could hear muffled sounds of distress as I rummaged for towels and herded my wet children out of the kitchen.

If we’re being honest, no time is a good time to call me.

“I have it under control,” I told her. “Just hang on a minute.”

That is when I saw my 23-month-old daughter get down on all fours and lap up puddles of water like a puppy.

This is an example of what my days have been like lately. As open as I am about many parts of my life, there are some things I don’t talk about at all. I think most people are like that. Being a woman is complicated, right? I’ll wait while you nod your head in agreement.

I have been stewing for awhile over how quickly women jump to tear each other apart, because quite frankly I am over it.

Judgy look.

We all bear an insanely heavy load; each one of us wade through life loaded down with stuff. It doesn’t matter how “together” or “perfect” a woman seems — good or bad, SHE’S GOT STUFF.

Yet, for reasons I am unable to fully comprehend, even though we are all doing the best we can, even though we are all struggling with our stuff, even though we are supposed to build each other up instead of tear each other down, even though ALL OF THIS, women still get shredded up over absolutely anything and it’s generally at the hand of other women.

I know because it happened to me recently. Want to know why?

Because I’m a good housekeeper.

Let me explain: I cope with the chaos of my life by following behind my family and cleaning up their mess (or asking them to clean up after themselves). Yes, it’s exhausting. Yes, it’s pointless, because the messes never cease. I don’t do it because it makes sense. I do it because if my house was a wreck to match my wreck of a life, then I would have a nervous breakdown.

Everyone who knows and loves me accepts this. They are all aboard the OCD train, because no one wants to see me lose my shit. Keeping order makes me feel like things aren’t so terrifying. I can’t stop someone I love from getting sick, but I CAN keep the bathroom from smelling like pee.

I can do that.

It makes me feel better.

Recently, a friend came to my house. Later on, she posted something on Facebook about how clean it is over here. She didn’t name me — she just said, in jest, that her friend who claimed to have a messy house in fact has an abnormally clean one. AND her kid’s beds were made. AND she answered the door in an apron. Triple sin.

My friend probably didn’t realize that every person in her friend list seemed to be sitting around on social media on a Saturday night with nothing better to do than to tear apart an unnamed woman for keeping a clean home. She did not intend for it to be a bash-fest at all — she was actually trying to poke fun at herself for having a messy home — but that’s what happened, because people suck. Women are criticized and judged for having a messy home, a clean home, for their parenting choices and their career choices, and for how they spend their time — which is no one else’s to spend.

We are blasted for being too fat, too thin, too vain, or for “letting ourselves go.” We are judged from the time we get up until the time we go to bed. There is never a time, ever, when everyone is happy with what I’m doing. My children, husband, mother, neighbors, and self are never all happy at the same time for a choice I make at any given time. Even when I do something like drink that third cup of coffee, I do so knowing that if my mother was there she would say “That’s not good for you.” My husband would say “That’s why you can’t sleep at night.”

But my kids don’t care if I do it. None of them will throw a fit … so it’s a win. I’m having that third cup.

Displeased.While I accept that this is how the world works, that you really and truly cannot make everyone happy, it is still wearing on the spirit. And even when you don’t know the people who are criticizing you, as was the case with the Facebook situation, it still hurts. I stood in my clean kitchen wearing my clean apron reading the comments from total strangers who don’t know me or my situation, and I swear … if I could have reached into my phone and bitch slapped some of them, I would have.

I have opinions. I am guilty of making snap judgments of others. There are things I totally disagree with, and things that make me uncomfortable.

I have stuff. You have stuff. We’re all struggling. So why can’t we cut each other some slack?

By far, the biggest sin is tearing another woman down.

The truth is, I’m not a good housekeeper. I have a stressful life and I cope with it by cleaning. I’m sure there is a name for my disorder, which you only know about because I took the time to tell you.

I recently wrote a letter to my daughter telling her that other women will try to tear her apart. I dread that day. In the meantime, at 35 years old, I had to look at myself in the mirror and command myself to SHAKE IT OFF BECAUSE I AM AWESOME AND I DO NOT HAVE TO APOLOGIZE FOR MY AWESOMENESS.

Now go forth and be awesome … and cut a bitch some slack.

(If you liked this post, then you will LOVE I Still Just Want To Pee Alone! Click here to find out more!)

17 thoughts on “The Biggest Sin.

  1. Who in their right effing mind gets pissy over someone else having a clean house?! That is beyond lame. You are marvelous, Harmony! Fist bump of solidarity, lady ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Perfectly said! I also get the cleaning thing. When my house is a mess I start to totally fall apart mentally. I hate when I come home are from work and my family has been home for several hours because I know I am going to walk into a disaster. I need a Zen environment if I am to been Zen too. Unfortunately with two boys and one husband who isn’t good at putting things away I don’t reach Zen too often.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hubs got sick the other day…so I spent the evening scrubbing toilets. Not to make him feel bad for making a mess…but because I know when I’m sick I appreciate a clean toilet. And…I can’t stand a dirty toilet. Thanks for not judging me. 😍

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  4. I find it really hard to be happy and calm when my house is a mess. When it looks nice and cozy, I am much more relaxed. You said it perfectly – we can’t control a lot of things, but we CAN keep our bathrooms from smelling like pee. I get the side eye and the comments like, “Your kids will only be young once.” “Those dishes will be there tomorrow.” “A messy house means happy kids.” Bullshit. I am a good mother. My kids ARE happy. And their shit is put away, the laundry done, and the dishes washed. I’m really sorry you had to read that on FB.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Absolutely true! I am always so shocked that the most hateful attacks are from other women. You can not know what goes on in someone else’s life. Be compassionate. Be understanding but if by chance you can not, then be quiet.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Giiiiiiiiiirl hold my earrings while I slap someone. That’s crazy! I just….ugh.
    I feel you on the clean house. We’ve got 4 adorable, walking (well, the small one crawls) talking messes-and my house is clean. I can. Not. FUNCTION in a dirty house. I get all twitchy. And you know what? Our oldest are starting to appreciate a clean house! Magic!
    Clean your heart out.

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  7. um. WTH. why would people judge you for having a clean house?! i feel the same way. i have the same disorder. i can’t sit down at night, sometimes at all. i get home from work, and start cleaning… should i drop the dishes, and hang with the boys? YES. do i always do that? NO. we all have stuff. so true! hugs. don’t worry about those dumb bitches. they have their own stuff.

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  8. Pingback: What It Means To Be Seen. | Modern Mommy Madness

  9. I am the same way with cleaning, and I also catch hell for doing it. I also wrote my daughter a letter about toxic women and am writing a piece about it. I am glad I an not the only woman/wife/mom that feels this way! Keep your head high!!!

    Like

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