Why don’t more mums give acceptance instead of advice?

Just between you and me there are days when I am completely over being told how I can improve myself and my parenting skills.

Most mornings I wade through dozens of amazing ideas on how to get more ‘me’ time, why I should start running and why I should cook or clean a certain way.

But do you know what very few people tell me?

That what I’m doing right now is enough.

That what I cook will do.

That having a messy house isn’t the end of the world.

That despite the fact that life as a parent can be so bloody hard and heartbreaking that every day I successfully get through is a massive win.


Today I want to be that person that tells you that you’re doing an AMAZING job despite the fact you think you could be doing more!

I want you to know that comparison is not only the thief of joy but it can also bring out the worst in you.

It may make you bitter, unhappy and put undue pressure on yourself.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel free to take on board all of the great advice out there but I’m imploring you to please not feel disheartened if you can’t quite get there yet.

Just be kind to YOU because YOU are the only one living your life.

I posted a photo of my messy kitchen bench on Facebook last night and it made dozens of mums feel so happy to know they weren’t the only ones facing this battle.

Deep down we all love knowing that other people are just as messy as we are behind closed doors!

The only problem is that many mums don’t want to admit they aren’t Martha bloody Stewart for fear of being seen as a failure.

PicMonkey Collage

Thanks Cassie, Kylie, Neets, Kimberley, Jackie, Diane, for keeping it real!

I’m not advocating a life of sloth, in fact I do prefer a tidy house and a clear bench top but there are days when there are bigger fish to fry.

Some days falling in to bed with a sink full of dishes or a washing basket overflowing with clothes isn’t the end of the world.

I want to tell you that you are not alone if:

You have been dressing the kids from the two loads of unfolded washing in the spare room/laundry for the past three days.

You still haven’t cleaned up the annoying cereal spillage from yesterday.

You had to wade through toys on the floor to kiss your kids goodnight.

You accidentally swore around your child today but covered it up by saying fudge-a-roony a few times afterwards to throw them off the scent!

You feel completely overwhelmed at all the boring household shit you should do but can’t be bothered doing so you jump on the computer instead.

You haven’t done your 30 minutes of exercise today.


Having a messy house is not indicative of your parenting skills, it doesn’t mean you’re less of a mum.

Just like not loving to run* doesn’t make you a lazy person.

It probably means you’re ridiculously tired, have chosen to pick your battles and that spending an hour cleaning and tidying while the kids are in bed is NOT a high priority for you.

Please be kind to you, don’t compare yourself to others and remember that everyone has a messy kitchen, bathroom or laundry at some stage.

Despite what you might believe you are not alone in this crazy but amazing parenting world we now find ourselves living in!

Have you got a messy part of the house you want to share?

What is driving you batty right now?Β 

*no offence to all of you crazy suckers that love to pound the pavement – respect!


  1. I love this. Thank you.
    I’d take a picture of the messy parts of my house but to be honest there would be that many it would be easier to take a picture of the non messy parts – so that bit between the front door and the bottom of the stairs is pretty good right now all 1 square metre of it. . . Oh no wait now its messy again!!

  2. how are you em?
    good on you … wise one!
    too much emphasis on being seen to be perfect!
    unreal expectations only cause problems!
    I don’t do face book etc as I don’t want to share every nuance of my precious life /time!
    what is this over sharing stuff? so what! I’ve got too many interesting things to do myself!
    have a good one hun! love m:)X

  3. Love this post Emily, so so true. I get around every day up here in the middle of nowhere, no seeing how other people live, and think everyone else in this world lives straight out of the Country Style Magazine, but in reality THEY DON’T. Well a few do, but they are also really boring and uptight. ha ha ha. Which must mean I am a little boring and uptight at the moment, because I finally feel like I am on top of things….ok so there is still lego etc all over the lounge room floor but hey…it’s ok. Love the photos of the kitchens!!!

  4. Your title made me pop in – I just need to tell you, once your kids are teens, you get acceptance because no one knows what to do and is thrown a curve ball quite regularly, so when someone tells their tale of ‘what to do?’ everyone just nods sympathetically, or backs their opinion…I’m not sure exactly when the advice stops, but it does…

  5. I once showed a client a photo of my baby and he said “Look at the pile of laundry in the background”. I said “Does your wife punch you when you say things like that?” and he laughed and said “Yes”

  6. Gorgeous. I last did 30 minutes of uninterrupted exercise in 1973. And my house may be the cause of the current ebola breakout. My children have accidentally heard me swearing like a sailor. And you know what? That’s ok. Because I do rock. And so do you.

  7. Thank you Em! AND YES YES YES! You rock and I rule. Or I rock and you rule. We both rock! We both rule! WE ARE AWESOME! (And I got a chuckle – and a song stuck in my head – from the fact the last two pics were from Jackie and Diane, two American kids growing up in the heartland…)

  8. Em you are such a champion. Keeping it real and spilling out encouragement everywhere. Thank you. The house chores are always an ongoing battle that really gets me down some days. We all know the tidiest a house will look is precisely 2 minutes before visitors arrive, if they’re lucky!
    I might have to implement the fudger-roony saying I think. I’ve got some mean old copy cats around me at the minute. xx

  9. Yes! Good on you Em. I was just talking to a friend about this recently. But you know what? Messy houses are ok. It just means we have lives! I can hardly put down my foot without stepping on a toy right now and I haven’t vacuumed all week. So what, my kid is happy, I rock. Thank you πŸ™‚

  10. Thanks for this and for always being so real! Even before we met face-to-face I felt like I knew you well because you’re just so honest and outgoing!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  11. Mel Chambers says:

    Thanks for telling it like it is Em…….a part-time job, a blog, 2 teenagers and a hubby on a rotating roster means that sometimes there is not a lot of time to get ‘stuff’ done. My ironing board lives in the lounge room permanently (who invented uniforms that need to be ironed???) and sometimes the dishes sit on the bench for a couple of days but my kids have food on the table and nearly always have clean clothes to wear so who really cares?

  12. Best piece of advice my Mum gave me was to stop focusing on what had I hadn’t done and focus on what I had done. We only do what we can, we work to the best of our ability with the gifts and talents we’ve got. For some people, the thought of having any mess in their kitchen drives them nuts and they simply can’t relax if it’s in a state. Respect to that! I sometimes I wish I was one of those people. But I’m not. My kitchen can be messy for days (there is a big, HUGE difference between messy and dirty/filth by the way) but mess up my bathroom floor and I will cry. We all have a thing and it’s just so ridiculous to beat each other up if our thing is not their thing. Just focus on you and what you can do because in the end that’s all that matters and is the only thing you (mostly) have control over!

  13. Thank you for starting this last night Em. I’ve been thinking about where I want to take my blog and I think I’ve decided on a direction (and a tagline) – Embracing Imperfection. I’ve always been honest and realistic and I’m going to keep going that way. Because life is never perfect but I’m always striving for better.

  14. Ahhh we mums put so much pressure on ourselves to be ‘perfect’. Fact is – being a mum is HARD WORK and it is pretty near impossible to be ‘perfect’. Most days something has to give. Love that you shared your messy kitchen and others shared theirs. It’s true life as a mum. We have to be everything to everyone and it aint always easy. What is important is the LOVE. We love our kids, we would do anything and everything for our kids. That is what is important. Who cares if the kitchen is a mess. πŸ˜‰ xo

  15. We have just moved, the house looks like a cyclone ripped through it and there is at least one room I can’t physically enter yet, due to the level of stuff. Thank you for this post, I feel better!

  16. Messy houses are so much a part of reality. The other day we had the rocks and dust left over palaeontologist kits strewn all over the floor, embedded in the carpet. I didn’t care. I know I would’ve 6 months ago. But I guess when this happens, I focus on the times that it is clean. And yes, one day (in the next millennium) things will be clean again! πŸ™‚

  17. I wrote ages ago about Instagram envy cos everyone’s lives on instagram seemed WAY better than mine – lovely meals, family time, extravagant champagne and restaurants… but I try to remind myself that most of us do only share the good stuff (or the really bad stuff).

    I may have been misery-tweeting a bit lately with my flu, for eg…

  18. This post is such a lovely message that I know many Mums will appreciate. As Kylie said, there’s a difference between messy and dirty.
    I can boast of my organised spaces and my meal plans, but there are often times where I don’t cook and my adult boys fend for themselves, and my kitchen may always be tidy but please don’t open my garage door, lest you be squished by the truckloads of crap that will inevitably flow out (did you know garages were meant for cars?! I thought they were for all the random crap that doesn’t fit in our house). We are all human and as long as you do your best, NO ONE can ask more of you.
    P.S. love your logo – I have to double take each time I see one of your statuses in my news feed

  19. THANK YOU! And I really hope your kids start sleeping until at least 6am some time soon. Any time before that is still night time as far as I’m concerned. At the moment I’m just hanging in there and, quite frankly, I’ve stopped reading ‘how to be a better xxx’ posts for the moment. I don’t want to ‘be a better’ anything. I just want to get through the day! I love coming to your blog. You always cheer me up. Please keep writing forever:-)

  20. Best. Post. It’s so true. We’re all just getting by and could do with a hug, even a virtual one will do. Thank you x

  21. Love this post Em. The third child means my house is messier and diesbt get cleaned as well as it used to. I was proud I got a 30 minute walk in on Monday but haven’t been able to do one since. Enjoy your weekend and thank you for your encouragement. πŸ™‚

  22. Bahahaha I am one of the crazy pavement-pounders but I can always get on board with anyone who has the guts to get up and say “BLOODY OATH, I AM DOING A GOOD BLOODY JOB, SO YOU CAN ALL BUGGER OFF WITH YOUR PERFECT SELVES!”.

  23. Why must Weet-Bix dry into something harder than glue? Why?

    I recently bought another laundry basket as I thought that would somehow make doing laundry easier or more pleasant? Wrong. Now I just have twice as much dirty or clean laundry waiting for me.
    And I just found myself with an hour of free time and I am catching glimpses of those two baskets of clean laundry when I look up from my computer!

  24. I forgot to add my pic last night.
    Every night I am tripping over clothes, shoes or toys. It is awesome. At least people know that someone lives there.

  25. Em – my house is more often messy than not and I could easily add my kitchen photo to your collection at the moment (only I’m stuck at work so can’t). I hurt my back at yoga on Tuesday (which some might think is an indulgence, but I priortise it over a clean house) and spent yesterday propped up with pillows in various positions trying not to feel pain (fortunately it is a lot better today after treatment). I didn’t feel guilty that I did nothing really but read all day. I wish it didn’t take an injured back to give myself permission to be slack without feeling guilty. We are all enough!

  26. Love the hell out of this! I’m actually more anxious when I hit publish on a parenting post than one on mental health because there are just so many opinions and not everyone is nice about how they share it.


  28. I’m with you em. We need to be more accepting of others and gentler on ourselves we we cannot do everything we want to to the level we want to keep. Though, I often think that advice and judgement aren’t given, they are often heard. It is how we listen. When someones tells us they are breastfeeding, it is not a comment telling us that we should also be breastfeeding. Yet, this is what we here. We need to be more secure in our decisions and less reliant on others to approve of them, or needy to justify them to others. I loved seen your messy kitchen on my Facebook feed last night. I wanted to share mine, but I was hugging kids on the couch with my back to it, completely uncaring. I didn’t want to photograph it as that would be acknowledging its existence!! xS

  29. This is why I’m glad I don’t have an Instagram account and never watch shows like The Living Room or Better Homes And Gardens, or read similar type of blogs. They make me feel miserable and worthless knowing I can never live up to that echelon of perfection. Thanks for keeping it real. You definitely rock and rule. xo

  30. Spot on Em. Us mums really should be encouraging each other a whole lot more!! I’m just a bit scared to share my kitchen with you because my OCD might make you want to bite me. I can’t can’t help myself though. I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to cleaning x

  31. I was just about to google personal trainer as I feel like everyone else is running and exercising and being all lycra wearing wonder women lately.

    Instead I read your blog and felt better that I have washing in the machine from yesterday that we all know will have to be re washed.

  32. Amen sister! We just arrived home from holidays and managed to swing by the supermarket by 5.30pm but the dinner options were still weet bix or …. weet bix. I love beautiful spaces, a tidy kitchen and an organised life but I also value my sanity and don’t want my kids growing up expecting everything to be perfect all the time. I also reserve the right to tell everyone on Facebook about all my runs when I get around to running.

  33. LOVE. THIS. Thank you xx

  34. I dressed my son this morning straight from a bag of hand-me-down clothes given to me by a friend the day before! Bonus! I love this post. Honestly, life is too short to have a spotless house at all times. I love a nice bit of bench space too, but I will never make it a priority that stresses me out, considering all the other pressures of ‘work life balance’. Your house looks refreshingly real!

  35. More acceptance, yes please! There must be something in the air – the post I shared with Weekend Rewind is called ‘This is home: reality’ which starts off by saying that home is where textas, toilet rolls and glue sticks decorate the coffee table instead of attractively styled vignettes… Great to think I’m not on my own there!

  36. Comparing ourselves to our perceived perception of others… recipe for feeling like a failure right there!

  37. Oh how I love this!
    As long as my kids are in clean clothes, fed, dressed, happy & smiling, then everything else can wait πŸ™‚

  38. Great post Em. I am now pooping myself because you have just reminded me that I went to bed last night leaving a kitchen behind that looked like this…and it’s waiting for me now!!!!!! Not to mention two full baskets of unhung washing because the sofa was particularly inviting yesterday.

  39. I’m not ashamed to say that I felt the need to get a new dog MOSTLY so I didn’t need to sweep up the cereal under the table every … umm… evening. My house regularly looks like an episode of hoarders. We’re just creative people and we file things… creatively. Embrace the mess. One day you’ll miss finding notes to the tooth fairy and lego and bits of train track down the back of your couch xxx

  40. Love it, I don’t feel so alone now!!

  41. Take a bow chick! I cant run to save my life, my kitchen may be tidy but you cannot even get into my garage. I have had to cover my words so many times with the kids that they thinkI have invented a new language and I gave up on Martha Stewart yonks ago hence my alter ego Martha Mudguts. i should be cleaning up after our brunch today but instead I am sitting out back sipping a G&T and reading blogs and I have not ironed for about 8 years! Love your work sister! xx

  42. Yep – I’m right there with you. It’s Saturday night and the house is a mess but I’m sitting down with a cup of tea, chocolate and my iPad instead of running around like a crazy person trying to make the house ‘perfect’! Perfect ain’t ever gunna happen no matter how hard I try!

  43. Forty-eight and childless, but I do have two cats and a nearly-50-year-old man-child. So what’s my excuse? The “perfect wife” in me wants to be able to maintain a tidy-enough-for-company living space but can’t seem to convince the hubby that maintenance is actually easier (i.e. less work & less stress) than waiting until it needs to be whirlwinded for that inevitable visit. I’m not his mum and don’t want him to think I want to be… but why didn’t SHE get him trained properly on my behalf? πŸ˜‰

    Love the post; love the “rock/rule” and the messy pics… am reading/commenting in bed so I don’t have to see what state the hubby left the kitchen/living room in this morning (yes, I’m half a world away). Most days, my inner Oscar Madison easily trounces my inner Felix Unger. I guess, in the end, I’m okay with that.

  44. Thank you for this post Emily – I think I might come back and read this every time I am feeling overwhelmed with everything I have to do. I also have to stop looking at all the images of amazing home cooked meals, perfect hair and stylish outfits, extravagant craft sessions or beautiful bento styled lunchbox creations. I might be able to achieve some of these on occasion but living up to all these things as an every day ideal is just crazy – I have to remember this the next time I am dressed in my usual mum uniform and cleaning up half a packet of flour that Mr TT (age 2) has dumped on the living room carpet. As soon as a I feel like the house is decent, 2 minutes later it’s a mess again. Toddlers will do that to you! Like Denise said in a comment above, as long as our kids are happy, we rock. Let’s celebrate that.

  45. I used to think my messy moments were something only I ever had. When my kids were little I remember running around like a headless chook to get the place tidy cause the inlaws were coming and I was tired of copping the tirades of my slothness πŸ™‚ sometimes though they sneaked in unannounced and caught me out – maybe too often haha. Then I recall ( now with glee, then with horror) how once ,exhausted as you know parents get, I allowed the children to cover the floor with a few Sydney morning Heralds awaiting recycling. They were giggling rolling around , ripping it up ( what they didn’t realise was at the end of the game when I was rejuvenated by coffee and Tim Tams they would be ‘helping’ to clean it haha. Then who knocked at the door but my neatest ‘ my children have had regular nap times from birth and never tantram’ friend. Not sure who’s face was most shocked ( probably hers) . Now my kids are grown up and literally lacking boxes in their ever neat rooms to move out of home πŸ™ The bench tops still have moments of ‘are they actually there’ and we still dress sometimes direct from the huge ironing basket. But, you know what, I don’t ( well rarely ) say let’s pass on that fun I have to tidy my house. Love reading your blog.

  46. Nailed it!

    Sharing this.

  47. Ah, being kind to ourselves. Why is it so flipping hard? I think we lose sight of our priorities so many times. Do what’s important to you, and so long as everyone is fed and healthy, don’t stress about the rest.

  48. I was having a hard time seeing the kitchen appliances you described in your photos, but I believe you that they are there! Someone told me something really interesting the other day. She said, stop saying “I should” and say “I chose”. We all SHOULD probably do something, but it has such a negative connotation. If you say, I chose to sit on my ass instead of cleaning, you take accountability for you actions instead of dwelling on something that may or may not happen. So right now, I chose to catch up on reading my favorite blogger’s posts instead of doing work I am getting paid to do ; )

  49. Thank you for writing the words most Mum’s are too afraid to say. I was nodding my head reading this. I am not the tidest person so our house is a mess a lot of the time. At the moment theres kids toys, shoes, and laundry that needs folding and putting away, dirty dishes that need washing as our dishwasher died. Plus piles of clutter that needs sorting. I am a full time Mum and still struggle to get on top of it all, but I also don’t want to miss little moments with my girls and think housework can wait.

  50. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I may have just fallen a teensy bit in love with you for sharing those kitchen photos.

    My priority is enjoying Pickle and sharing experiences with him. The mess sometimes gets on top of me. I do beat myself up about it on occasion.

    You rock, as does @debbishdotcom for introducing your blog to me!

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