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Happy to Be a Horrible Homemaker

I am a ridiculously horrible homemaker.

And realizing that makes me happy.  So happy, in fact, that I feel like I could fly across the sky with all the weight that has been lifted off of me.

Let me back track for a moment.

I woke up this morning to a bed full of kids.  Magoo had a nightmare and crawled in around 3am.  Goose woke up around 6 and crawled in.  About an hour later, a cranky Mae joined us.

It was the first day back to preschool for Goosie since Easter, and apparently that 14 day break was enough to totally throw us off track.

We came downstairs a few minutes late, and I remembered that I had forgotten to lay out clothes for Goose.  We had plenty of clean clothes, but unfortunately the slight delay gave her time to pick out her own outfit which consists of the shirt she wears every day, a sweater of Mae’s, and an old pair of pants from Magoo.  I realized quickly the battle had been lost, and I moved on.

I went into the kitchen and saw that TJ had graciously made Magoo’s lunch.  Unfortunately it was in a plastic shopping bag because again she had left her lunch box in the car, and I didn’t catch it.  And I honestly have no idea where she put the other two she has.

Then we spent the traditional bazillion hours searching for boots and shoes.  It turned out both big girls’ shoes were in the car because they took them off in there, and again I didn’t notice.

I’m horrible at remembering to grocery shop.  When I do, I forget about the order of my meal plans, and half my produce goes bad.  There’s always a huge pile of clean laundry to be sorted.  It takes me a week to clean the play room – not because it’s so bad but because I’m so slow at it.  TJ can do it in less than an hour.

My tables are dusty, my floor needs vacuuming, and…

And I am absolutely ecstatic to realize that this makes me a horrible homemaker.

See the thing is that throughout that whole twenty minute ordeal this morning, I had the phrase “I am a horrible mom” going through my head over and over.  Every time a new thing would show up missing, the words would get louder.

Those are oppressive words.  “I am a horrible mom.”  I can physically feel the weight of them.  They make my step slower, heavier.  They steal my concentration, my joy, my hope.

The whole way to school, those same five words kept echoing, and they continued as we sat in the parking lot because after all of that rush, we were over ten minutes early.

I pulled to a stop and turned the van off.  Magoo hopped up to the front, and the words got louder as I saw her stepping over old sweatshirts and the lunchbox she left in there the day before.  I could barely concentrate on anything because the reprimands were so loud in my head when suddenly I stopped.

I saw Magoo laughing.  She was sharing jokes with me that only I would understand.  Goose was in the back begging to get out as usual because she really dislikes the fact that Magoo starts school ten minutes earlier than she does.  Magoo was sharing with me what she was learning in science, and I was asking her questions about the books they were reading.

And then it was time for her to hop out, and Goose stared screaming “g’night, love you, sweet dreams” to Magoo because she cannot stand it when they part without saying that silly little phrase.  Magoo laughs each time and repeats it back to her, appeasing her.  Mae was giggling at the whole transaction.

And I asked myself, if all this is true, if all of this is really happening, then how can I be a bad mom?

My girls love me and each other and their family and their friends.

They help people.

They believe in God and believe in doing good because of Him.

They are smart.  So very, very smart.

They are passionate.

They are creative.

They are compassionate.  They are empathetic.

They are learning to say “I’m sorry,” and they are free with their “thank you”s.

They bring joy to this world.  They bring light.  They bring happiness.  They bring hope.

If all this is true, then how is it that I can be such an abysmal mom?

And then I realized the truth.  Homemaking and mothering aren’t the same things.  Yes, providing a stable environment for kids is an important part of being a mom, but except for those ten minutes every morning, my kids lives are stable.  I get crazed by the toys and the clutter, but they don’t even notice it.

For so long, for as long as I have been a mom I believe, I have equated homemaking with mothering.  And I have found myself so lacking.

Because when it comes down to it, if I have to choose to vacuum or read a book to my kids, I will almost always choose the book.  If I have to choose between cuddling and laundry, we’ll be searching for clean socks tomorrow.  And if I have to choose loving and laughing and living to dusting, I will.

See, they are two very very different things.

I am a horrible homemaker.  And I can do something about that.  I can make improvements.  And I don’t have to feel so much pressure because the improvements will make things easier, but they won’t determine my worth as a mom or a person.

Our homes are our homes.  We want them to be wonderful places for our children to grow up in.  We want them to be the nest in which they’ll strengthen their wings.

But they aren’t all that matters.

And I’m glad I finally realized that.

Is there something that you perhaps falsely equate with being a good mom?  Is there something you can let go of?  Is there a space where you can be the funnel through which grace flows in your own life?

This was originally published a few months back on Indisposable Mama.

Child with messy face photo available from Shutterstock

Happy to Be a Horrible Homemaker

Amanda Knapp

Amanda Knapp is a mother, wife, writer, former writing teacher, and lover of the written word. She writes for Psych Central, Mothering, Catholic 365, and her own blog, .

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APA Reference
Knapp, A. (2015). Happy to Be a Horrible Homemaker. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Jul 2015
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