1. Comparison Trap Series: House Cleanliness

Parenthood Experiences

By Kelly Sutton

The first topic for the Comparison Trap Series is House Cleanliness.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “Comparison is act of examining the character or qualities. Trap is a position or situation from which it is difficult or impossible to escape.”

So within the context of mamahood, my definition of comparison trap is being stuck in the act of examining another mama or parent’s character or actions against yourself or a societal (made-up) standard.

Once you have kids, the definition of cleanliness changes. My definition of cleanliness switched from things actually being clean to TIDY.  I laugh at my past self because I was the person saying, “Once I have kids…; not my kids…”



EVERY parent knows (or at least learns the hard way) that kids will be kids. Granted, kids have varying personality types that affect the level of cleanliness BUT in general, little people are messy.

*Northwest Mamahood is a safe space that appreciates and supports our journey through mamahood. Therefore none of the lessons I’ve learned about house cleanliness are everyone’s truth.

I admit it, my husband and I can be neat/organization freaks. The kids’ toys are in bins with picture and word labels because the organization reduces my anxiety lol. Alright, it also teaches the kids responsibility, but that’s another blog…

The point is, our homes are PERSONAL and often times reflect our personalities, from easy going to the love of structure.

Because our homes are a personal matter, that is why comparing home cleanliness, is a slippery slope!

A slippery slope that may put you in the comparison trap for the made up theory that we are all supposed to have a clean house all the time.

That’s a trap. It’s literally impossible to keep our homes clean 100% of the time unless we’re simply not living there.

Top 3 Comparison Trap Lessons Learned:


o   FOCUS on MEMORY MAKING; many veteran moms say that retrospect, they wish they had not focused so much on maintaining a clean house. If your kid is asking for your attention, chances are it will take about 30seconds to a couple of minutes to give the child your attention. Then resume the dishes, cooking, etc. Plus there are plenty of days, my house is messy for 2-3 days in a row because life is busy with work, errands, and responsibilities. Cleaning will eventually happen lol.

o   Cleanliness is subjective – what’s clean for you may or may not be clean for the next person.  And that is OKAY. One may have the urge and energy to clean the toilets once a week. For me, it’s when I start to see the ring in the toilet. Not ashamed, just a different order of priorities.

o   Don’t apologize! I admit, I’m guilty of this too. Someone comes over and I’m like, “So sorry for the mess…” It’s like we try to beat the judgment to the punch. DON’T. If someone is visiting and are criticizing the cleanliness, either hand them a broom or evoke their privilege to be in your home.

When I catch myself in the act of comparing (because it’s a natural human instinct), I stop and then compliment myself. Seriously, I compliment myself because the comparison trap will put you in a negative space. It’s called positive self-talk. I learned that term through teaching social emotional curriculum to primary aged children. Trust me, it works!

A simple, “You’re doing your best today,” can help keep you from the trap.

Mamas, it’s a process. Try to make sure it’s a conscience process to help decrease negativity in our mamahood commUNITY.

We’ve got this!


Stay tuned!

Upcoming Comparison Trap Series Topics

o   Physical Beauty

o   Kid Behaviors

o   Kid Intelligences

o   Food Choices

o   Marriage & Parenthood

o   Friendships

o   Screen Time

o   Discipline

o   Parenting

o   Goals & Accomplishments


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