Enjoy this blog from my pal Lori Rypka… mom to Katie (6) and Michael (2). Lori also writes a bi-weekly column for the Frederick News Post (Sunday section).

PLAYING THE MOM GAME

Why, fellow moms out there, do we torture ourselves for each other?
Follow me to that scary place of admittance…

I admit… I stress out at the thought of someone coming to my house. I love visitors, but I do not love the prep work for visitors. Recently I invited an old bunko pal over for lunch. The three days prior to the visit, I scrubbed, cleaned, de-cluttered, organized, recycled, disinfected and otherwise staged the house. The first thing I say when she walks in? “Pardon my house. It’s a mess.”

Admit it. We’ve all said that.

Did I really think my house was a mess? Not at all! In fact, it was the nicest it as looked in months. And yet why did I feel compelled to say it was? Was I fishing for a compliment? Was I insecure at not knowing how clean the other person’s house is, and wonder if they think it IS really a mess compared to theirs?

I’ve walked into impeccably clean houses and heard it, and I’ve walked into houses where a toy bomb has gone off and heard it. Frankly, I think as long as we don’t see a nest of bugs in the corner, “kid mess” doesn’t bother other moms.

The tricky part is… when someone says that, how should you respond?
After using a number of responses, I settled on “Are you kidding me?
You’re house is perfect! You should see mine!” I even say that after I have put my house into good order. I USED to say “Oh please, I’m used to this.” Then I realized that was telling the other person, in so many words, “Yes, your house is a pit.”

Face it, when you have kids, you have messes. Other moms know this, and I dare say that the greater majority don’t care. We’ve been there. We know. And we still think each other great moms despite the colorful landmines on the floor. Moms only have so much energy, and it takes a lot to get through the day without worrying about cleaning up immediately after every mess is made.

So next time you get a knock on the door from a fellow mom friend, it’s OK to let her in without worrying…