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March 20, 2023

Where Every Family Matters

DAD BEAT: Normalize Your Normal House

As parents, we have so much more to worry about than playing the comparison game or trying to measure up to social media standards.

Social media would have you believe that everyone is living a perfect, aesthetically pleasing life. The walls are a flawless beige and the houses get bigger and better the more you scroll. And the perfect parent aesthetic seems to be neutral-toned playrooms and houses that look pristine at all times.

Lies. Lies, lies, lies.

Want to know a secret? These standards are ridiculous and unattainable for 99.9% of parents.

If you’re tired of Instagram-perfect lifestyles, I promise it’s OK to normalize the clutter and let your house look lived-in.

You’re a parent. Of course your couch is covered in laundry. Of course you trip over shoes on the regular. Of course you can feed a small army with all the crumbs that exist in your rug. Of course your sink is full of dishes, your dishwasher is full of dishes, your table and counter are full of dishes and you can’t find a clean spoon. Of course toys are scattered all over the house and no matter how hard you try, or what bribes you offer, or what god you pray to, you never get every piece picked up. Accept it.

Even organization expert Marie Kondo is changing her priorities at home since the birth of her third child. “My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time, at this stage of my life,” she said recently in an interview with the Washington Post. We might not see it on her Instagram feed, but I bet her house would look pretty “normal” if we visited for a playdate.

So, can we all please stop putting so much importance on the aesthetics? Your mess isn’t going anywhere. You have young kids. You’re at home all the time. You’re living in your home. Your world will not disintegrate if there’s nail polish on the walls or stickers on the door. On the contrary, these things make it seem like a family actually lives there.

Your kids are little. Enjoy them. Love them. As parents, we have so much more to worry about than playing the comparison game or trying to measure up to social media standards.

Remember, the “imperfections” are the difference between a house and a home. In your messy home, life happens and it’s wonderful to see — online or IRL (in real life).

 

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About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing and Entertainment Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra.