Parenting

A Stay-At-Home Mom's Guide To Keeping Up Appearances

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We stay-at-home moms have a lot on our plates. What with the cooking, the cleaning, the running around after small, constantly excreting beings; it’s a lot to deal with. Not to mention the fact that the rest of the world seems to expect us to maintain some semblance of order, and present ourselves to the world as if we weren’t the overseer of some sort of inmate-run asylum. I can’t imagine why. If this is something of a struggle for you, you’re not alone. But here are a few tips so that you, too, can pretend to have it all together when people from the outside world come to call.

Clutter

Designate a spot in your home (a closet, perhaps, or, in a pinch, the dishwasher) where you can frantically throw all your random junk right before anyone comes over. Once you’ve done this, it’s probably best if you never actually clean all this stuff up but just leave it in this designated spot until you don’t even notice the giant mound of randomness anymore and wonder why your dishes always come out of the dishwasher smelling like old socks.

Once you’ve done this, your guests will always find your home to be neat, tidy, and organized. Which will be pleasant for them, and rewarding for you. And you’ll always find your home to be a place where, at any moment, a dirty spoon might come flying out of nowhere and hit you in the eye. Which will keep you on your toes. So, it’s win-win!

Your Appearance

Another important thing to consider is choosing, in advance, someplace to throw the clothes that get dirty throughout the day. You could choose the bathtub, the sink, the garbage can, wherever, but it’s important to try not to keep wearing clothes that have been soaked in things like spit-up, poop, pee, mushed up food, etc. It gives the wrong impression and it’s frankly kind of smelly.

But remember, once you’ve taken off your dirty clothes and thrown them into the fire pit and set them alight (or whatever you’ve decided to do with them), it’s really important to find something else to put on. Public nakedness is frowned upon by the over-two set.

Dirty Dishes

Dirty dishes are another source of constant shame, and therefore must be hidden at all costs. Actually doing the dishes when your child is tugging on your underwear (shoot, forgot to put new clothes on!) and demanding you sing him some song that sounds like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” but which he adamantly swears is not “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and apparently includes the lyric “down the mush machine,” is not an option. So, a more expeditious dirty dish solution must be found.

One option is to simply throw them all into the dishwasher with the three dirty socks, two toy cars, and a partridge in a pear tree you threw in there earlier. But if the dishwasher’s already too full of strange, randomly Christmas-themed items, you could think about constructing a sort of dirty dish tower on the kitchen counter which you then throw a (preferably) clean dish towel over and then, if anyone asks, tell people it’s something your husband put there and told you not to look under and you trust him completely, why wouldn’t you?

Your Child’s Appearance

Once you’ve made your home look neat and orderly, hidden your dirty dishes, and put on some (preferably clean, but at least present) clothing, you’re pretty much ready to invite outsiders into your home. Of course, your children might also raise eyebrows if, for example, they’re covered in unidentified fluids, not wearing clothes, or eating the Cheerios they found under the table that have been there since last Tuesday when your dust buster broke because your four-year-old tried to use it as a light saber and then got so scared when it actually turned on that he threw it at the wall.

In general, people tend to forgive children a multitude of sins. (If only we, too, could be so lucky.) But, if at all possible, do your best to make sure your children are wearing clothes that at least look clean, wave a tissue in their general direction every once in a while to show you’re trying, and explain that the Cheerios only fell there a couple minutes ago and that they’re the special kind that repel dirt (patent pending). But, if none of that’s possible, you can always just throw your kids in the dishwasher to play with the partridge. (That’s a joke, for those of you who missed that this is a humor article.)

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Anyway, I hope this has been helpful. It’s not easy being a stay-at-home mom. But no one needs to know that. If you just hide all your mess, smile through the shame, and lie a lot, you’ll be fine. Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in the dishwasher.