No, You're Not More Of A "Real" Mom Because Your House Is Messy

Get me off this merry-go-round of comparisons STAT.

mom and children in messy room Halfpoint / Shutterstock

I’ve been seeing a ton of articles about "real life" and "real women" and "real moms." While these articles are meant to be uplifting and encouraging to women and to remind us that none of us have it all together, I think what it’s really doing is trapping us in a merry-go-round of comparisons and that’s NOT where I want to be.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, so when I see posts that say "this is what real life looks like," it doesn’t always ring true for me. I see women encouraging each other to air their dirty laundry and share the not-so-pretty parts of their lives from time to time on social media and I get it.


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We all just want to know that we’re not alone and that other women and moms out there don’t have it all together either, but the thing is: there's always going to be someone out there who does something better than we do.

Some people’s houses really are as clean and tidy as they look on Instagram and some people really are that crafty.

Some people really do make those amazing Pinterest meals from scratch. Some people are naturally thinner and have better hair than others and some people enjoy getting themselves and their kids dressed up in cute outfits and doing their hair and makeup on the daily. Does that mean that any of them are any less "real" than anyone else? No!


We all have our things. For example, my house (and especially my kitchen) is pretty much always clean. The reason? I’m kind of OCD about it. A cluttered house stresses me out, and in order for me to maintain some level of sanity, I keep it clean. I’ve had people comment on my Instagram photos about how they couldn’t believe how sparkling clean my kitchen is but it’s just how I like to keep it so I make it a priority.

I also really like to get my daughter dressed in real clothes every day and at least attempt to do her hair. I would never take her out in public in pajamas. Do I think there’s anything wrong with parents who take their kids out in PJs and who have kitchens that are a bit more lived-in? No way!

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These are just things I appreciate and thus, prioritize for myself. There are plenty of other things I suck at: I don’t like cooking and I’m not particularly crafty. I’m also not always super-great at dropping everything and going with the flow. Sometimes I suck at relationship stuff because I’m so busy being organized and keeping things "just so." Also, I do my hair maybe once a month, if that.


I have friends who have strengths that are totally different than mine though. My friend Echo pretty much always looks put together. Her hair and makeup are always done and she always wears some type of semi thought-out outfit and makes it look effortless.

She’s also really good about eating healthy meals and going to the gym. My friend Becca is awesome at planning delicious homemade meals and is amazingly thoughtful. She’s one of those people who will drop what she’s doing to come to help you out or brighten your day.

And my friend Alison is pretty much the craftiest crafty-pants on the planet. She throws a party like nobody’s business — she makes those typical Pinterest parties look like amateur hour.

I could easily compare myself to these women, but I realize that we all have our gifts and mine aren’t going to be the same as someone else’s, no matter how hard I try.


My house might be cleaner, while someone else throws better parties, but it’s all relative. We’re all "real" women living "real" lives and excelling (and sucking) at different things.

So, don’t be discouraged when you see my clean kitchen or your friend with the amazing closet and beautiful hair. Don’t be discouraged by the mom who gets her kids to eat well-balanced paleo meals or the friend who is always hosting all these fun playdates and parties. We’re all struggling with something else you’re not seeing and we’re all "real," I promise.

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Lauren Hartmann blogs at The Little Things We Do.