It’s been said that a clean home is a happy home. Well, I’m here to argue the contrary. Could my house use a bit (read: a lot) of cleaning? You bet. But to me, happiness is binge watching This Is Us as the dust continues to build on the TV stand.

However, when a friend recently divulged to me that she shampoos her carpets every week (what the WHAT?), I started to question my poor housekeeping standards.

The truth is, I did clean all the carpet in my house—once—before we moved in . . . but only because the previous owner had cats. Otherwise, it probably wouldn’t have occurred to me as a necessity.

Confession: I’m the farthest thing from a germophobe.
Confession #2: I despise cleaning.

So it might be confusing as to why I attended a Norwex cleaning party a few months ago. Let me fill you in. It sure wasn’t for the cleaning products (of which I bought none), and it most definitely was for the wine (of which I drank an abundance).

While the other ladies ooh’d and ahh’d over the miracle cloth that would clean their windows in one swipe (GASP!), or the duster that bent in 87 directions to reach the top of the ceiling fan panels, I sat back in a half-drunken stupor unable to share the passion these women clearly possessed for housekeeping. Seriously, the level of excitement over sprays and towels and other pasty compounds was bringing this group to near orgasmic status. I just can’t.

Here’s my approach for dealing with ceiling fan dust: don’t turn on the fan. Who can see the top of those panels anyway? Do you regularly have NBA players in your home?

I’m all about quick glances. Do a swift scan of my house and you might think it looks pretty clean. That’s because clutter doesn’t stand a chance in my home. But organizing clutter is different than actual cleaning. Take a closer look and you’ll see the (dirty) truth: Counters sprinkled with crumbs, windows with toddler fingerprints, corners with a wispy cobwebs.

I would go ahead and use that whole “I’d rather play with my kids because they’re only little once and the cleaning can wait” excuse . . . but that would be a lie. I just don’t like cleaning. Do I do it? Occasionally. Probably not nearly as often as most people do. And when I do come to terms with the state of my household and realize I better take care of the spit-up stains on the hardwood floor, I usually hand a baby wipe to my two gullible preschoolers and turn it into a game of Who Can Find The Most Spots.

So our white socks turn a lovely shade of light brown faster than I’d like to admit. But what can I say? I didn’t get the cleaning gene that so many of my loved ones have.

One of my closest friends has a legit obsession with cleaning her kitchen tile. I can’t even tell you how many concoctions she’s tried or how much money she’s spent, but I can tell you that she scrubs grout with a toothbrush on a regular basis. And that’s just too much for me.

My kids think I vacuum quite frequently. But the truth is that I know they’re scared of the noise, so I use it as an excuse for them to shut themselves in the playroom and give me seven minutes of peace. Yeah, that sweeper is roaring outside the door, but neither of us is moving.

I sure hope these revelations don’t turn guests away from visiting our home or joining us for dinner this holiday season. But company should know we have rules: elbows off the table . . . or you might get stuck in the syrup from yesterday morning’s breakfast.

Jennifer Craven

Jen Craven writes about motherhood in all its complexities. She is also the author of the novels, "A Long Way From Blair Street," and "All That Shines and Whispers," which is set to publish in Februrary 2021. Jen's work has been featured in The Washington Post, Scary Mommy, Motherly, Her View From Home, Huffington Post, and more. Visit her at, or follow her on Instagram @jennifercravenauthor.