If you have kids or have been around kids or been a kid yourself, you know they are not exactly the tidiest little creatures. They are tiny tornadoes of clutter, whirling their way around whatever space they are inhabiting until it is a ruined landscape of food and toys and dirt and sometimes dog poop.
So as the father of three children and the author of a popular blog called “No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog,” Clint Edwards has come to accept his house will probably never again be spotless.
But Edwards’ mother didn’t quite see things that way. In an August post on the blog, Edwards described a conversation he had with his mother about his wife and the mother of his three children, Mel.
“A few weeks ago I was chatting with my mother over the phone when she said, ‘Doesn’t it bother you that Mel won’t keep a cleaner house?'” Edwards wrote. “It was a Saturday. I was working on the dishes. I honestly didn’t know what to say. My mother didn’t say it in an antagonist way or anything. It was more out of curiosity.”
Edwards explains that his mom is part of the baby boom generation, and in her day, women were valued, in large part, for their housekeeping skills.
“I didn’t know my father all that well, but I do remember him giving me this advice about picking a wife: ‘Stop by her house unexpected. See how it looks in there. You can tell a lot about a woman by how she keeps her house,'” Edwards wrote on his blog. “I think my mother’s concern over a clean house has a lot to do with her trying to meet the expectations of her youth.”
Edwards said it took him a while to respond his mom, but when he did he had a great message for her—for young couples, for children who are observing their parents’ relationship, for women choosing partners, for all of us, actually.
Here’s an excerpt of his thoughtful blog post:
“But the thing is, unlike my father I didn’t really think about a clean house when I married my wife. I thought about how I liked what she had to say. I thought about how she made me feel. I thought about how she smiled a lot. I liked that. I thought about how she was sweet and thoughtful, and how she seemed like the kind of mother I’d want for my children.
After a few moments of struggling to find the right words, I finally said, ‘I didn’t get into this marriage for a clean house. I got into it because she seemed like someone I could spend my life with.’”
And how did mom respond? Well, initially with silence. But as Edwards goes on to explain, it was a bit of an ah-ha moment for her as well:
“I put some dishes in the washer. Eventually mom said. ‘Well… that probably is more important than a clean house.’
‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘I think so too.'”
Edwards also pointed out that he is just as responsible as his wife for keeping the house clean, and that thinking otherwise is an outdated concept. (Three cheers for this guy!)
Edwards, it seems, is used to sticking up for his potentially controversial decisions and views. He also once defended his decision to put his young daughter on a leash. Because, again: children = tiny Tasmanian devils. Check out his blog for more entertaining musings on modern marriage and parenthood.