People used to always comment on how clean my house was.
What they didn't see was the lunatic who stressed to get it...
For many of us, spotting a massive dust bunny taking up residence in the corner of our family's home would send us into a vacuum-plus-Lysol shame spiral. Not so for mum of four Nicole Johnson. At least not anymore.
Nicole used to keep her house so tidy that "people used to always comment on how clean" it was, she wrote in a post on her Facebook page for Suburban Sh*t Show: Tales from the Tree-Lined Trenches.
"What they didn't see was the lunatic who stressed to get it that way," she wrote. "The one who yelled at her kids and husband, running around dusting and sweeping, fussing over every imperfection, just so people would think she had it all together."
Like many of us, cleanliness used to be a virtue for Nicole, especially once she became a mother. But as she had more kids and less time, she began to realise that the perfect, sparkling "spit-shine house" wasn't what she wanted.
"Sure, I could do it," she said. "I could spend every second ignoring the kids . . . I have decided not to. I don't want the stress or the pressure. I wouldn't have people over if the house didn't shine. My kids would miss visits because of my hang up."
So now, guests are welcome in her house any time.
"Ignore the dust, or don't," she wrote. "It doesn't matter. I'm okay with it. Our house is not a museum. No house with kids or pets should be."
Because she grew up in a house where "you couldn't play or touch certain things" and where "the dining room was off limits," she is making it her mission to accept the mess so her kids aren't made to feel uncomfortable "growing up in a place" they fear getting dirty.
Her viral post, complete with photographic evidence of her relaxed cleaning philosophy, is a good lesson for the rest of us whose main Saturday plan involves an hours-long medley of mopping, sweeping, and dusting:
Life is short. Messes are constant. Time with your kids is fleeting. Enjoy it. Here is a picture of my house. It is a corner filled with dust that I forgot about while hanging with the kids recently. I kind of like it. When I took it, I smiled. It means I'm not stressed about maintaining an immaculate home. In fact, I'm thinking I'll let it hang there for a bit, as a reminder of what's important and what's not.
Give it a try, mums: leave the dust bunny for another day.