How do you keep your house that clean with 5 kiddos??

I nearly choked on my lunch when I read that question/comment on my Facebook post earlier today.   Bless her, she had the 5 kiddos thing right, but the house? clean? Pffffft.

Don’t fall off your chairs, friends. This isn’t a post about keeping the house clean with 5 kids.  This is a post about perspective.


This was the photo in question (crazy girl climbs and moves chairs now.  yeehaw.), and okay, from this incredibly limited angle, I suppose it does look like I at least manage to keep my table cleaned off.  I have to.  Because when I don’t?  This happens. 

What you don’t see in this photo is life around the clean table.  It’s the same thing you don’t see in most blogging photos.  The beautiful decorations?  You don’t see the toy traps surrounding the photographer’s feet.  Pretty jars of freshly-canned garden produce?  You don’t see yesterday’s garden peelings stuck to the kitchen floor.  Pinterest perfect, colorful, engaging activity for the kiddos?  You don’t see those same kiddos screaming, red-faced, while mommy gets the perfect shots of the perfect activity for the blog.  You just don’t. 

As soon as I read that question, “How do you keep your house that clean with 5 kiddos??,” I got out the camera.  Not because I have no shame (I don’t), and not because I don’t keep it real around here (I do!), but because I never ever want anyone to think I have it all together.  I never ever ever want anyone to feel less than in any way because of any perception from this space.   Got it?  How ’bout a little tour?

This is what isn’t shown in the photo above.


Funny how Miss 1’s head even covered up the weeks old newspaper and random game pieces and parts on the piano from that other angle.


Books everywhere.  Chair cushions askew.  Miss 1 likes to remove all of the things and climb on them.  Go figure.


Ah, now we’re talkin’.  The crumpled up white t-shirt behind the red chair?  It’s new.  Mr. 3 opened it up for his birthday.  On Monday. 


And this?  Life.  Same table, different angle.  Like my bookshelf to the right of this photo?  The one with the drop door recently RIPPED OFF THE HINGES by acrobatic children, exposing my “I’ll scrapbook this someday” secret?  Oy.  If you look far enough, through the dining room, you can see the kitchen.  Want a closer look?


Have at it.  Catch-all table.  Catch-all buffet.  The empty egg cartons really do something for my wedding stoneware, I think.


There’s more!  Oh, there’s always more.  😉  At least this is the fresh result of me making a hot lunch (fajita bowls over rice) for my husband today.  That counts for something, right?  Please.  Someone come fix the little box that my fridge sits in.


Annnnnd then there’s always this.  The one bathroom in this house for the seven people in this house.  Looks like someone’s potty training, some others didn’t hang their towels up after showers last night, and mama’s Guideposts magazine is right where she left it after her late-night bath.  Whoops.

That, dear friends, is how my house looks as I’m typing this up.  And no.  No, I’m not going to show you the bedrooms today.  You can thank me later.

Perspective is everything.  Nothing, no one is perfect.  And when you see a photo on this site that looks like I have it all together, you can either congratulate me on a rare occurrence (it does happen every once in a while!) or go ahead and presume I got lucky.  😉

Thanks for meeting me in this imperfect, messy, beautiful place.  I kinda like it here.


  1. Thanks for being real and truthful about your perfect, imperfect house.

  2. Love your post!!!

  3. i think it looks…LOVED…and its cool…i like it.

  4. You go girl! Thanks for putting it all out there! It is appreciated 🙂

  5. Teri Davis says:

    So wonderful to see “normal”!!

  6. Honestly, the same thought crossed my mind when you posted your earlier Facebook post. And I can barely keep anything clean!! Thanks for your realness and your heart to encourage us.

  7. AMEN!!! Love it… I struggle with my house too.. never never ending…love flylady tho..kinda follow her and it does help..kinda..

    • I signed up for Flylady years ago, and then quit it all because I was overwhelmed by all the emails. ha! Maybe I should check it out again.

  8. Thanks for keeping it real!

  9. I LOVE this! You are exactly right we see all the beautiful but rarely the reality. My husband always reminds me when I’m feeling a little down on myself that Pinterest and blogs are someone’s highlight reel not their reality. Thank you for making that true for me today 🙂 so refreshing!

  10. Sheila Laurence says:

    I LOVE that sweet expression she has on the table! My admiration for you has nothing to do with the state of your house (things like that don’t even cross my mind usually, not sure why that is – probably my insecurities lie elsewhere), but how I love your attitude and your thoughtfulness about life. You encourage me to be a better person (wife/mom/Christian), and I appreciate you so much for that.

    • Thank you so much, Sheila. It is so encouraging to me that not all blog readers are looking for pinterest perfection in the posts they read. 🙂

  11. Thank you!!!! This is awesome, and you are fabulous and brave and I wish more people would share their less-than-perfect surroundings and lives!!!!! Aren’t most of us snowed under (some days moreso than others!!!) Pinterest is a blessing and a curse, and sometimes I just have to step away, because it makes me unsatisfied and feeling like a wreck!!!

    • “Pinterest is a blessing and a curse, and sometimes I just have to step away, because it makes me unsatisfied and feeling like a wreck!!!” YES!!!

  12. Oh Amy. God bless you – I love this! I have gotten similar comments in the past and have written this same post over and over again… In my head (ha!). I can’t bring myself to actually show the photos though. It’s way worse than yours (yours would be a “clean” house to me!) and my house is at least 30 years out of style. But I absolutely appreciate your words today. It’s so easy to share the pretty and nice and clean… and just as easy to assume that so-and-so has it all together because of the one tiny fraction of their life that they choose to share online. xx

  13. Amy. This is amazing. THANK YOU so much for this. I only have one kiddo and I feel like I’m constantly losing a battle to clutter and messes and life happening all over my floor and counter tops. It’s easy to forget when I see pictures of my friends’ homes that it’s all about perspective. From now on I’ll remember that. 🙂 You’re the internet hero of the week for sure! 🙂

  14. I really needed this today. I am so proud to call you my friend. (p.s. Struggling with the stay-at-home/don’t stay-at-home feelings today.)

  15. I can’t even say how much I big puffy heart this post! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! We are all real people with real people messes. 🙂

  16. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this post!!!! It seems I am constantly having to remind myself that what I see of others’ lives online are the highlights – the things they choose to let the world see, not what is necessarily the reality. Because when I forget to remind myself of the “highlight reel,” I am much quicker to mentally reprimand myself for not “having it all together” like I perceive others do. It is so refreshing (and relieving!) to see what is everyday, real, and NORMAL. I think posts like this do more good than you know! 🙂

  17. Haha, I’m laughing about your bathroom picture…thank you for sharing….you and I must have the same TP monster in our house….I feel like I’m constantly picking up TP off my bathroom floor and reminding small people to not leave it there. I really appreciated your post and Heavenly Homemakers’ post this week about “real life” with families living in our houses. It is true that we have people “living” in our homes and our homes are going to look “lived in.” And I don’t think any of us would have it any other way!

    • Oh my word, the TP. I wish I could put it up high somewhere, but I have too many little people who really need it. The girl of mine is into everything!

  18. Love it!

  19. Thank you…for laying everything out there for the whole World Wide Web to see. It’s beautiful. And perfect. Thank you for showing us that you’re normal. Great reminder of what real life looks like.

  20. OH MY GOSH….There is SOOO many ways I could go with this, but I will behave!! As my hubby says (being in work that puts him in peoples house all the time) Its Loved & Lived in Home!!

    PS…You don’t have to have 5 kids for your house to look like…How abt 3?? Never enough time in the day!!

  21. Oh my!! Do you even know how much more I love you now? I loved you before because you look so much like a friend I had as a kid. But now…you were just so real and honest and you even showed me your messy bathroom. I’m pretty sure you were taking pictures at my house lol! Thank you for this!!

  22. We dont have children and I struggle with keeping the house picked up! Thank you so much for writing this. The picture of little girl on the table definitely makes it appear that the house is picture perfect. Thank you for shedding some light on what was just around the corner. I needed to read this post today – THANK YOU!

  23. Annnnnnd, this is why I read your blog. Thank you for keeping it real!

  24. I could just hug you!!!

  25. I really enjoyed this!

    I have a child on the table recently, too. This is our 7th and it’s the first time I’ve had this problem. She’s the same age.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a messy kitchen!

  26. Oh Amy, how I loved this post. You always keep it real!

  27. No matter the perspective: YOU ARE THE BEST!

    (And way way braver than me.)


  28. I love this… thanks so much for being real 🙂 hugs!

  29. Nancy Thyfault says:

    Absolutely loved the post, and reading all the comments. Love the “reality” of your blog. Just one thing I might add, drumroll please—- wait till the kiddos are teenagers!!!!!

    • Oh good golly. I would love to think I’ll have them trained by then. 😉 Or maybe we’ll just pitch a tent for them in the back yard?

  30. Love this! So often I feel like my house is a mess and spend all my days picking up after 2 kids and a large dog that it never looks clean. Thanks for keeping it real!

  31. I’m just now reading this post and this has to be one of my favorites that I’ve read here. Someone posted a quote on Facebook recently and I absolutely loved it. “Quit comparing your behind-the-scenes footage to everyone else’s highlight reel”

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