Thinking Out Loud: Clean House

Inner voice: “That frame is crooked.”

Me: “No, it’s not.”

IV: “Yes, it is. And the floor needs sweeping.”

Me: “I know it does, and a thousand other things to get done too. Thanks for the reminder.”

IV: “No problem. Happy to help.”

Me. (grabs broom)

IV: “Why are you trying to get all of this done today?”

Me: “Because I have a friend coming over.”

IV: “And?”

Me. “The house has be to clean!”

IV: “Okay, but does everything need to be perfectly clean? Do you really need to clean the oven, and fold the laundry, and clean the baseboards, and organize the boys’ drawers today?”

Me: “Yes. Everything. EVERYTHING must be clean.”

IV: “Why?”

Me. “What do you mean, ‘why’? What’s wrong with you? You have company over, you make sure the house is clean first. It’s an understood rule.”

IV: “Who’s rule?”

Me: “I don’t know who wrote it, but it’s a very important rule. Very VERY important.”

IV: “It sounds like it’s very important to YOU.”

Me. “What are you talking about?”

IV: “Let me ask you this. When you visit a friend in her home, do you expect absolutely everything to be spotless and in place?”

Me: “No.”


Me: “I’m not following.”



IV: “This is why you need me.”

Me: “Get to the point already!”

IV: “You said it yourself. You don’t expect a friend to drive herself crazy trying to get her house into some demented, unrealistic copy of a Home and Garden magazine spread on your behalf. So why do you expect it from yourself?”

Me: “Because friends deserve the best. Are you saying that I shouldn’t clean the house at all?”

IV: “No, but they also deserve to see you and your home in the realm of reality. If you don’t expect perfection from them, they probably don’t expect it from you. Odds are, they wouldn’t want it anyway. Perfection in a friendship is insufferable.”

Me: “Thank you, Jane Austin.”

IV: “You know I’m right.”

Me: “So what you’re saying is that it only feeds my own pride to drive myself crazy pursuing a ‘perfect’ home, not actually out of love for my friends?”

IV: “Yes.”

Me: “And that I should just relax and enjoy the time with them, instead of adhering to an expectation that no one else besides me has put into place?”

IV: “Yes again. (sniff) I’m so proud!”

Me: “You could have just said all that at the beginning.”

IV: “But would you have listened to me?”

Me: “Probably not.”

IV: “Exactly. Oh, and one more thing.”

Me: “Yes?”

IV: “That picture is still crooked.”


Cover Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash


If you don’t expect perfection from them, they probably don’t expect it from you. Odds are, they wouldn’t want it anyway.

One thought on “Thinking Out Loud: Clean House”

  1. Yes! I came to this realization a while ago…but this is still exactly the conversation that plays out in my head every time I have someone over. It is so hard to just let people see us as we are.

    Liked by 1 person

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