Let's Get Real 2009

August 28, 2009

Yup. That's exactly what you think it is, a picture of my living room. That's Gracie in the foreground of course, and in the background you'll find James's demolished castle, his dirty clothes from Tuesday, and a big old sleeping bag that's been stuffed in the corner since Monday morning.

It's messy, I know. And I guess it's kind of embarrassing, but I have a good reason for sharing it, so read on...

I have a reader named Charlotte, and as far as I know, she's been with me since the very beginning of the blog craziness--when James was barely two, we lived in Texas, and I was a babysitter with a masters degree (is that supposed to have an apostrophe? I never know).

Anyway, when I logged into my Google Reader this morning, I came across a very courageous and honest post by this internet friend of mine. It talked about all the things she 'should' be doing as the mother of two young children who are very close in age. It talked about her feelings of inadequacy and depression. It talked about the fact that she's not as happy as she knows she can be.

I know it was a hard post for her to publish, so I won't link to it without her permission--but I would like to take the freedom to respond to Charlotte's feelings with a little photo tour of my house.

And then, when you get to the end, I've posted a challenge, an 'I freakin' dare ya' kind of thing.

This is Photo #1, my dining room. Cute, isn't it? I'd like everyone to notice the unfolded napkin on the table, the monster trucks on the window sill, the sweater hanging off the chair, the lone slipper, and the super dusty sewing table.

I know what you're thinking--"Oh c'mon Amy, that's nothing."

You're right, so let's move on.

This is photo #2, my kitchen. I know, also very cute. That's a box of dishwasher soap on the counter--it's been there for a week. And next to it? That's a colander. Funny, because I honestly can't remember the last time we had pasta for dinner.

The bar's a real gem. As far as I can see we've got two cereal boxes, some dirty dishes, Jared's credit card, my vitamin box, James's little bag, a monster truck axle, part of a castle, and so on and so forth.

I know, still not bad. I'm easing you into this.

This is James's room. I haven't made his bed since sometime in July I think. And those dang drawers--can't they just learn to close themselves?

This is part of the baby's room. That's a huge bag that needs to go to Goodwill. It's been sitting there since we finished the room a month ago. And those windows? Yeah, still haven't gotten around to scraping the extra paint off the glass. One of these days. Maybe.

This is the stairway. I vowed to have it painted by James's 3rd birthday party. I re-vowed to have it painted by Jame's 4th birthday party. Most recently, I've given up on vows. If you look down to the left, you can see the color we're planning to paint it, Carrington Beige I believe.

Mmm yeah. Someday. That'll look nice.

To the right you can see the pile of James's things that he's supposed to bring upstairs and put away.

Again, mmm yeah. Someday. That'll look nice, too.

This is my laundry room. Believe it or not, all of those clothes are clean. Wrinkled, but clean. They've been sitting down there for approximately two weeks.
We never leave the house naked, so it's fine with me.

And finally, the crowning jewel (since I'm too wimpy to post a picture of my bedroom or my bathroom), the playroom in the basement.

So there ya go, that's my house in all its natural glory--and let's not forget, I only have one non-toddler child running around.
Maybe I'll pick it up today.
Or maybe I won't.
But I probably will.
Unless I don't feel like it.
And now, without further ado, let's get to this challenge. I'm calling it Let's Get Real 2009: Perfect People Lie.
If you have the guts, snap a few pictures of your house in its normal, everyday condition. Sure, go ahead and exclude the stuff that might embarrass the crud out of you, but please don't hide the truth. Don't tidy-up or put-away before you take your photos, just snap a few and let the world know that you're not perfect either.
Post your pictures on your blog, and then send me the link. You can leave it in the comments of this post, or email it to me at LawsonAmyB @ yahoo . com. I'll compile the links, and we'll have a normal people extravaganza on Tuesday.

Seriously, what's the point of cheating? Just don't do it.
Now get to it.


V and Co. said...

i already posted mine before yours cause i guess great minds think a like. will email you my picture soon. but until then just look on this post: http://www.vanessachristenson.com/2009/08/very-good-thrifting-day-and-keeping-it.html

Alisha said...

If only you had posted this 2 days ago. We just finished our "spring cleaning" a season late.

Jane of Seagull Fountain said...

I did this awhile ago, but though cleaning comes and goes, it's pretty much the same (some days): http://www.seagullfountain.com/2009/01/24/public-service-announcement-the-full-monty/

Laura said...

I love this idea, though in my teeny tiny apartment, there are going to be like 3 pictures. Oh well - I'll do it tonight!

Mindy said...

Amy, I love you, and I love Charlotte (she's a friend of mine too... I read her post earlier today.) I'll post my disaster that I call a house and let you know when it's done.

Anonymous said...

I'm in! I was looking at my house this week and resolving to clean it up this weekend. But i'll take pics before i do...I'm really embarrassed to admit the last time I thought my house was actually clean! LOL

So that will be my entry tomorrow I think!

David said...

Can't find the camera. Or the USB cable to connect to the laptop.

I really dig brio trains. Given the size of your basement, I'm pretty sure you could build a really sweet ramp off the drums so that a whole train could get, like, two feet of air. That's the picture I want to see.

And just so you know I didn't miss the point: mess is good - its a sign of life. Messy makes me happy.

Mel said...

ok I'm in, because I'm a glutton for punishment.

We're currently squatting at my mom's condo so things are even odder than normal (but I think cleaner than normal too).

She's always griping that I'm messing so maybe I'll show her I'm the normal one and she has OCD. Do you want the picture with the left over liquid fabric softener on the floor of my laundry room too? My clothes are at least stacked on top of the dryer. ;)

jjstringham said...

I would do this except that my husband has OCD (just ask Jared - I'm sure he remembers the obnoxiously tidy one). Even when I think it looks sparkling he is embarrassed of how much of a disaster our home is. Imagine how mortified he'd be if I posted pictures of how our home looks in its normal condition!

Mindy said...


There you go. I LITERALLY aired my dirty underwear, so you better appreciate it. ;)

Mindy said...


Just posted it on my group of friends blog... let's see what response we can get from this! :)

Diana from Dallas said...

if I could find my camera (or had a blog), I would comply as well.

the days of me being everything have hopefully passed (that is a big lie, I deal with huge mommy guilt everyday).
but, I often reread my favorite book http://www.amazon.com/Even-Cleaver-Would-Forget-Juice/dp/0757305466
and remind myself I just need to do enough I dont have to be everything.

M.A. said...

Here is mine. \

Don't laugh.


P.O.M. said...

My house is always perfectly clean. Well, at least organized, but not really clean.

Then again I have no kids, I don't cook at home really and I'm not ever home. And I only have about 2 pieces of furniture.

X-Country2 said...

I love seeing the houses of real people. That place looks lived in and full of love. :o)

Anonymous said...

I am totally in! I will be away on vacation, so it'll be in all its unpacked glory by Monday when I have a chance to post.

Katy said...

no problem. i just did this on a message board on wednesday. pics are in photobucket, ready to go. now, i have to be unlazy enough to compile themagain.

Charlotte said...

You know, Amy, I'm always excited to have a celebrity like you comment on my blog. But to get a personal mention on YOUR blog? Wow. You seriously made my day. At first your post made me cry, then laugh. Thank you.

smdc said...

I was sort of cathartic to take pictures of every pile I've been meaning to get to in my house. I'd like to say that means I'll have more motivation to clean each one up, but I'm afraid the truth is ugly... I still probably won't do it!


mommymelb said...

Oh I know Charlotte too! And so I did it!

My mom is going to die when she reads my post! :)

Grandma said...

Waited until Dad left to take pictures or he would really start to wonder. How timely is this post? Just come over to my blog to see my pictures. Sorry Amy, you know I don't do the link thing.Lately I call it a 2 day/week Kiddie B&B and I wouldn't have it any other way. Just wish James were closer so he could stay more often,too!

Amy said...

You guys, I'm loving this!!!! Keep 'em coming!
Your underpants are awesome. All of you.

Lindsey said...

DANG IT!!! I just cleaned up this morning because someone was coming over!!! SERIOUSLY!! mine woulda been good! I will send pix after the weekend, because you KNOW this place will be a stye after 4 kids run around all weekend! :)

Chief said...

I totally have to wait until I can get my fat ass off the couch to find the camera. It might take a couple of days, but I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Anonymous said...


Ok, Amy. There you go. In all it's splendor.

Your house is immaculate in comparison!

I just love your blog!


Jillybean said...

OK Amy, when it comes to a messy house, you are an ametuer. Let's just say that at any given moment, I can know how many pairs of shoes my daughter owns, because they are all under the kitchen table. Apparently, they are there because she can't find them if they are in her room.
And just wait until you have four kids in school, bringing home all of their schoolwork and dumping it on your kitchen counter.
Do you have any idea how many dishes we dirty in a single day? I can't remember the last time we didn't have any dishes in the kitchen sink.
When we were looking for our current house, I insisted on buying one with a formal living room that didn't have a view of the rest of the house so we could keep that room clean for when our Home Teachers come over.
I once had a friend walk in my house, look around at my mess and say "A creative person must live here!"
I like that. I'm not a slob, I'm "creative"
She also told me about a plaque she saw that said:
"Women with immaculate houses are dull.
Dull, dull, dull."
Seriously, how many of us want to be known as dull.

Jillybean said...

I forgot to mention that my son made pizza last night and the flour, oil and dirty bowls are still sitting on the kitchen counter. My son just took off his shoes and socks so they can hang out with my daughter's shoes under the kitchen table. Speaking of the table, there is still an empty cereal box from yesterday, some dishes and a lunchbox.
I'm not even going to talk about the basement family room. Let's just say that my boys like to take things apart like remote control cars and computers and they don't care if small parts get left on the floor.
If anyone wonders why I haven't cleaned all of this up, I've spent the entire day doing various things with my family.
I can always clean tomorrow, but today I had fun with my kids.

pam said...

ooh, I love this. . . and I'm in. Thanks Amy. I'm posting soon at www.lifeinthesmarts.blogspot.com

pam said...

ooh, I love this. . . and I'm in. Thanks Amy. I'm posting soon at www.lifeinthesmarts.blogspot.com

Lynda said...

Okay, I love your challenge and after today I wouldn't mind posting pics of my house. I actually cleaned it today (well some of it). Care to see my newly organized silverware drawer? How about the fact that I have 3 new shelves to junk up since removing all the baby bottles my kids haven't used in at least 3 years. If my blog wasn't used for business I'd totally post pics but since it is I have a reputation to uphold. Anyway, care to see a picture of my toilet? It has had a ring around the water line for about 2 weeks now. How long will it take me to clean this? About 34 seconds but I jsut can't bring myself to do this.

Sarah said...

sorry I shant be participating. You see, I have a little problem. I'm a serious neat freak and even without any cheating, you guys would hate my guts if I posted pictures!

Leila said...

I have mine posted at leilagardunia.blogspot.com. Good idea.

turtle said...


Leila said...


Mrs Furious said...


Chief said...

Wow...that was great fun! Here's to me keeping it real.


GroverFamily said...

here is mine!

it feels great letting everyone know that you arent perfect!

Claire said...

Came over for a visit from Mrs.Furious and thought I should share my favorite quote with you - I had four daughters so you know I understand -
"At the worst a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived."
Rose Macaulay 1924

Bloggin Betty said...

Oh the Shame! But here it is...read it and weep...with me...


JenericFN said...

Amy, you rock! Thanks for keeping it real and reminding all of us to do so too. Here's mine:

sarahbobeara said...

i took these yesterday and can you believe it looks WORSE today??? i have a feeling it will be a mess til school starts next week.


love reading your blog, amy :)

Mary said...

Oh Amy... My husband has the clutter gene and I am in the midst of cleaning out the attic. Our front room is the computer room and our family room is a mess. The dining room has a bullet hole in the window and wall. And I'm only starting. I would be embarrassed to post pictures. I started the attic project in June - not a good idea - and most days have been too hot to work on it. So the contents of my attic are in the 2 spare bedrooms upstairs and the attic actually looks pretty good. But I'm not posting pictures! Sorry.

Sami said...

I did it too. I'm over at http://somethingstanton.blogspot.com/. Great idea, since perfection isn't the norm.

Missives From Suburbia said...

I found you via Mrs. F. I am delighted to help Charlotte through this (and us newbies need a link to her blog now).

Since I cleaned my house completely last night, I'm going to do something a little different. I'm going to post "before" and "after" shots at my blog today. It's one thing to clean your house. It's an entirely different thing to keep it clean when there are two children (I have a toddler and infant), a husband and two dogs roaming the premises. I'll post the "before" shots sometime this morning and the "after" shots tonight before bed. I'm sure Charlotte will feel a LOT better after seeing them. (P.S. Charlotte is the most fabulous name in the world. It also happens to be my daughter's. Fate? I think so.)

Deb said...


The Roberts' Report said...

I did it. Actually I did take the pictures the very day you blogged, but FINALLY had time to blog about it! ENJOY!

Kim said...

Here's mine! http://gratitude365.blogspot.com/2009/09/why-lie-need-maid.html

Lyndsie said...

love this! thank you...so refreshing! here's my link:


Deb said...

The evening update:


I've been catching up on your archives. Loving your blog. I'll be back.

JAMIE said...

what a great idea! I'll see what I can do!

Anna Jo said...

so I know I'm like a month late...but I JUST started blogging...and recently found your blog...I did the "Get Real" thing...and it was kinda liberating... :)