It's never going to get done.
The piles of laundry, the stacked up, greasy sink of dishes, or the endless tumbles of fluff, pet hair, and random socks taking a sabbatical on your living room floor.
This is something I have come to accept. I used to spend countless minutes, hours, and days of my life worrying about cleaning the floors, toilets, and odd crevices on my shelves & staircases that seem to shelter hordes of dust.
Who even cleans those areas all the time? For me, those strange spaces are like the land that time forgot.
The laundry will never, ever fully be done. And if it does, those fleeting 20 minutes of your life are never as amazing as you think it will be. It's only the end of a cycle that's about to begin again.
So why worry about it?
I've decided to get done what I can and completely refocus my priorities.
Are those tufts of dog hair on the stairs really worth so much agony? Probably not. Certainly not in the grand scheme of things. Unless I'm hosting a party, fretting about a spotless house all the time is really not necessary. I honestly don't think anyone in our family would notice or even care if our house was spic and span.
But you know what they do care about?
They care about my reaction to the latest thing they did in school, the award they're getting, the math test they failed, or problems in their latest friend drama. They want my attention, my advice, and my love.
Clean kitchen floors merely satisfy a part of my own ego that says yes you have a clean house aren't you amazing! Other than that — what does it matter?
Now, obviously we all need to keep our homes relatively picked up and organized so that we can live there without falling into a sinkhole of clothes on the floor or to have a clean cup in the house to drink out of.
But obsessively using all of my free time just to keep the house looking like some sort of family museum is not sane.
Since I've spent less time worrying about my house being perfectly clean, I've actually had more time to do the things I want to do for me. Imagine that. And guess what? I'm happier. I'm not as irritated with the kids for sucking up all my time because I haven't wasted my time while they're not around nit-picking myself over the way the house looks.
It's never going to get done.
The groceries in the fridge quickly disappear and I have to buy more. The toys once neatly put away find their way all over the house again. The carpet looks like a giant hairball within a day of vacuuming. That's just the way it goes.
I've learned that having a family doesn't need to be all about cleaning up after them. They can actually clean up after themselves! I can tell my kids to clean up their own messes. And if they don't, I can take away privileges. It's really kind of amazing.
My family doesn't have to be a giant burden of disgusting messes. I can step back, they can step up, and if things don't get done — it's definitely not the end of the world.
Having a family is always going to be messy. And amazing. And frustrating. And wonderful. Sometimes things are simply not going to get done in a timely manner. And that's okay. No family is perfect. No home is spotless. I'm done torturing myself over that and it feels fantastic.
More from Michelle:The Art of Letting Your Children Make Mistakes