My son had two play dates at our house this week. I caught myself primping for them. What the heck am I worried about? I like a clean house and most of the time ours is respectable. Not up to mother-in-law standards, but real life neat.

Still I catch myself scurrying around straightening up before an eight year old shows up…as if he were an HGTV operative. Oh, so sorry Michelle, Chip and Joanna would’ve come over for a visit, but it appears you have not vacuumed today. As if…dust-2

Perhaps I’m worried that he would report back to his parents that the blanket on the couch wasn’t folded or the table was dusty. Because apparently I assume the home he lives in is perfect. The reality is, if he is anything like my son, he has to be convinced that clean underwear are a good idea. If I supply him with some food and some fun, he is not taking notes on whether or not the dishes are done.

I know this. Yet sometimes I slip into wanting to make a good impression. Not necessarily impress anyone, but at least make a good impression. Mommas let me tell you, if my son plays at your house – I will not be asking him to rate your housekeeping upon his return. I will ask if he had fun. If he happens to share any of your dirty laundry secrets, I will laugh and feel thankful that I’m not the only one struggling to get it all done.

I vow not to view my son’s dirty nails as neglect, but rather as evidence of exploration.  (Okay, so it still grosses me out a little, but I’m not going to worry about what you think about it. And I’m not going to wonder if you think I’m a bad mother because of it.) Like most dogs and kids, he is happiest when dirty.

We are such crazy creatures. There are so many women desperate for connection. Real friendship. A team to rally around. A village to raise kids with. Yet, so many are so caught up worrying about things that don’t matter one little bit. Relax ladies, we are all human. Somewhere along the line someone suggested having it all, doing it all, and being it all. All of it – all of the time. Guess what? It’s not going to happen. The reality is you probably really don’t want it all anyway.dust-1

This pursuit of perfection is complete nonsense. Your kids’ playmates are not undercover reporters. Other moms are not filling out report cards on your performance – and if they are, they are the ones who are failing.

A clean house is nice to have, but let’s keep in mind that playing in the leaves is a far better use of time than drying dishes (that’s what drying racks were invented for). Snuggling up on the couch for a movie is more important that putting the laundry into closets (that’s what those nifty laundry baskets are for, consider them portable dressers).

Take a hint from a recovering playdate primper – most of it can wait.