A few weeks ago I had a hormonal pregnancy moment.

(If you’re wondering how I know it was hormone related, I also almost cried looking at our oven thinking how blessed I was to have a nice new oven).

Look out!

My husband is someone who will cook and clean and contribute where needed. But one day, in frustration with the mess starting to accumulate, I said to him: “Do you ever walk past (trip over) the basket full of clean clothes and think hmmm maybe I should fold them and put them away!”

I will admit he was a little taken back by my sudden outburst.

Days later I was sharing this now funny and random moment with my brother and his wife. My brother responded with something that actually got me thinking! He said: “We do think about it, it’s just that our threshold to when it actually starts annoying us, is bigger than yours.”

Meaning, that as women we may be annoyed when the first pile sits there for a day. Whereas a man may not find it a burden until 2 or 3 piles hug the floor, or….possibly when they realise they have run out of undies!

I started thinking about how each person expects those around them to live up to a standard that fits their priorities (or OCD).

Growing up…

As I was growing up, I had the floordrobe to end all floordrobes! You couldn’t get through the door and when I did clean it to perfection, give me 48 hours and I was back to where I started! (You may have a teenager like this yourself).

However, I really wanted the rest of the house to be tidy. When my mum was out, I would often surprise her by tidying up the house and placing items perfectly on tables and sideboards for an extra touch. Most teenagers couldn’t care less what the house looked like when friends came over, but for me, without any request from my parents, I would clean up and especially made sure the main bathroom was not an embarrassment!

Beware of the ‘Pop-Overs’

Married with kids and a house of my own now, I maintain this desire. I am not a neat freak. I’m not an avid duster or mopper, but I have a daily need to make sure the house is in a state that if someone was to pop round unexpectedly (which never happens), then I wouldn’t be embarrassed.

A little while ago, the Huffington Post posted an article on 5 things women are judged more harshly for than men. One of them was a messy house. They write: “Though an estimated 81 percent of men and 87 percent of women report feeling anxious about home upkeep, women still do the majority of the housework. Why? Because women are judged much more harshly than men for having a messy home.”

Now although this article is a few years old, it does ring true to me. Whether or not I will be judged more harshly, I have no idea. But I do feel that way. I am a stay at home mum and I take pride in my role. My husband does not expect me to have the house clean or the clothes washed or the dinner on the table when he arrives. But I appreciate how hard he works to provide for us which allows me to be home with my kids. So I like that my role is in the home and that I can contribute this way.

Judging others…

If someone comes over to our house unexpectedly, I AM worried about the mess in the bathroom or the crumbs all over the floor. And yes, I see that it is a reflection on me. But I put this expectation on MYSELF. When I go to someone’s house, stay at home mum or not, I do not look at their mess and think, “Gee the wife sure doesn’t keep a tidy home!” Instead, I feel at home in the crumbs and the unfolded clothes and am relieved I am not the only one and that it’s normal!

So let’s be a little easier on ourselves and understand the messy threshold of our partners. To help them achieve their standard if it gives them peace, but to back off if they are not as OCD as us. And hey, you never know what might happen if you just asked that he or she fold the clothes and put them away! It may feel frustrating that you even have to ask, but the messy threshold is real and lives on in each of us! Were all just that little bit different :)

How high is your messy threshold? Tell us in the comments below.


  • i actually like it when i go to a friends house and they have crap everywhere – it makes me feel not so alone in this world.

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  • Is that what happens with men?! I often accuse my hubby of being blind to things around the home. Seems like I could be onto something. It frustrates the hell out of me. I can tolerate, but not for long

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  • I have a very low threshold nowdays. Small things upset me beaucse I feel unappreciated and taken advantage of. Its not hard to put the rubbish out if the bin is full!!

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  • We’re renovating so quite a few things don’t have a home yet in our house. I’ve learned to not see quite a lot of clutter, but its clean clutter.

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  • Can’t leave any sort of housework, have to put clean clothing away as soon as it’s off the line/ ironed, put dishes away as soon as the dishwasher cycle’s complete, use a robot vacuum every night and so on….

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  • I am way more relaxed than my husband is. It drives him nuts when I leave a basket of clean washing in the room instead of putting it away. I just get distracted and then forget.

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  • Can leave it a few days and think hope no one comes over. But that is it, I start to wonder really do some people have to be this untidy to live. The children are given warnings and so is hubby. Yes it does feel good to see other places like mine, then I know I am not alone. The spic and span houses when there are young children around makes me wonder how is this done where do the children play.

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  • Gosh, I could have written this – how true are these words! All I can add is, what about that rising panic leading to a cleaning frenzy with ‘expected’ visitors (especially the mother-in-law or great-grandma).

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  • I have three kids so my messy threshold has increased haha

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  • If you have older children teach them to put their toys etc. away either before tea orbefore they go to bed…or… if old enough instruct them to put one lot of toys away before getting another lot out. You may prevent somebody falling over the surplus. I know a 11 y.o. Give her 12 hours and I guarantee the floor will be covered with clothes that either should be in the wash or were dumped on the floor after being washed when they should have been put away. She has been shown how to do it quite a few times so she has no excuse. He r6 y.o. younger sister has starting copying her bad habits.She tosses toys across the floor instead of putting them away I hope the toddler doesn’t copy too.

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  • Depends on what is going on in life… but if life is chaos the house can’t be.

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  • It gets to me after a few days then I go on a cleaning rant

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  • It gets pretty messy, I can’t use my house is small though there’s nothing I can hide away the mess. But if I find out someone is popping by, I’m up with a thousand arms cleaning!

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  • Not all mess need to be tidied away here, but at least we organise the mess a bit. Tidy the toys is done before dinner here and is a shared activity. I haven’t much time for dusting but do mop the floors and clean the bathrooms daily and iron/fold the wash away.

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  • This article resonates with me so much!! I needed that confirmation today to make me feel better

    Reply

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