All parents know how difficult it is to balance obligations to their kids and to each other, much less keeping the house neat and presentable.
So when Jessa Seewald (born Jessa Duggar) was having a tough day and thought she would share her struggles with keeping up with the housework, she assumed other parents, and moms especially, would sympathize with her plight. Little did she know…
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Jessa Duggar first rose to fame on the hit TLC show 17 Kids and Counting, which chronicled the extraordinary everyday life of the Duggar family in Arkansas, whose children’s names all begin with the letter “J.” Through thick and thin, they maintained their belief that family comes first and children are a gift from God.
Their fourth daughter, Jessa, was born in 1992, and after 19 Kids and Counting ended in 2015, she and her older sister Jill became the focus of a spin-off show, Counting On. Jessa Duggar married Ben Seewald in 2014, and the happy couple have had three children since then, including little Ivy Jane, born on May 26, 2019.
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With young children and busy life, Jessa can’t find always find the time to clean up right away. So she decided to post a series of pictures on her Instagram profile to show her followers how difficult it can be to be a mom and why she believes it’s more important to spend time with your spouse and your kids than finish all the projects on your to-do list.
“This is real life, y’all,” she posted on Instagram. In Jessa’s first picture, she showed something most parents know well—the mounds of laundry that accumulate when you have kids. Thankfully, as she pointed out, it was all clean and waiting to be put away.
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As Seewald continued through her quick tour of the dirty house, she showed dust that had accumulated on the side table, a stain on the sheets from where her baby Henry had spit up, hand prints on the bathroom mirror, and pen markings all over the mirror stand her firstborn, Spurgeon, had been doing some “artwork.”
All of this seems pretty normal, but what really got some people upset was a picture of dirty diapers piled up in one room. “These were all collected in the past 12 hours,” she wrote. Many commenters on Instagram responded in an incredibly negative way. “The diaper thing is killing me,” said one. “The diaper thing though. That is lazy and disgusting,” added another.
Still another commenter was even more damning: “the fact that you are too lazy today put diapers in the trash is pretty pathetic to me. So sad your children are being forced to live in a pig pen.” All of this feedback was accompanied by a healthy dose of mommy-shaming, with many female commenters comparing Duggar’s situation to their own or their mother’s.
As one commenter wrote, “I worked 60 hours a week, raised my children on my own and my house was tidy, dirty diapers thrown out with all other trash, clean bedding, etc. […] I think this shows laziness and entitlement. I sure wouldn’t advertise a home like this.”
But many of the angry mommy-shamers seemed to miss the message that Seewald was promoting in the first place. While not at all proud of her dirty house, she wrote: “just remember, whatever projects are pulling at your time and attention today, don’t forget to make time for the people around you. These are the memories that will last forever. 💙💙”
For her, all of these cleaning tasks were important, but not as important as spending time with her kids: “A few mins here, spent cuddling a fussy baby. A few mins there, singing lullabies as a toddler drifts off to sleep. 5 mins here, to read a book. 10 min there, engaging in imaginative play.”
In response to all those who had criticized her housekeeping, Seewald responded calmly, explaining that she’d meant to write more in the original message but got interrupted by her baby Henry, who needed her. A perfect example of her philosophy of prioritizing kids along with a clean house.
Seewald explained that she had cleaned the house but wanted to share what it was like before so people could see what an ordinary mom has to confront rather than a photoshopped reality. “I said it before, and I’ll say it again: ‘I am not trying to pit a clean house against interaction with kids.'”
A thoughtful response to all those who believe she wasn’t being a mom the right way!
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Backstory on my previous post: As I was making out my housecleaning to-do list the other day, this thought struck me… we all try to put our best foot forward and are most comfortable posting our “highlight reel” for people on social media to see. I could’ve waited 24 hrs and posted pics of everything freshly cleaned and looking beautiful (the stovetop is sparkling, dust bunnies have been removed, laundry is folded, bed sheets are washed, etc). Certainly people would find no fault with that… but many may find fault with themselves. I didn’t do that for a reason. Reality. Sometimes you find yourself with an 8-month-old who isn’t sleeping through the night, and you don’t care that your bed has spit up on it–you’re tired. Throw a towel down on it and sleep! Sometimes you don’t want to wash the dishes right after supper because your husband is finally home from work, and there’s only one golden hour of family time before babies are tucked into bed and hubby has to start in on his college homework… and so you put off dishes until then. Sometimes the dust collects on the side table in the spare room, and you don’t even notice it until you’re preparing for guests to stay over. Oh, and the diapers. 😂 Our diaper pail is currently outta commission, and I’m awaiting a replacement. Yeah, they were stinky, but I had them bagged up and out of the house before the pic of them was even posted. I said it before, and I’ll say it again: “I am not trying to pit a clean house against interaction with kids.” I believe in, and value, both. I really should’ve split that post into two, because it is not an either/or, but both/and. ——— Here was my thought process on the second half of what I wrote. “I know it only takes a few minutes here and there to wipe a mirror or dust a nightstand, and I am making these things priority today. I’m also going to deep clean the bathroom, re-sweep the entire house, pick up the living room, and clean out the fridge. Nothing is going to stop me from accomplishing my to-do list!” Naptime zips by, and then I hear a little voice saying “Mommy, I hold you!” *Instagram, I need more space to finish my thought!*😆 Swipe left to read more