In a different life, I would be more detail-oriented and less cluttered, even while pregnant and with a two-and-a-half foot tornado we call Danny. My home would be immaculate without a dust bunny in sight, since that’s what all the other moms have…right?? No clutter, no spaghetti sauce dried on the walls from four days ago, an empty, freshly polished kitchen sink – all while the kids are patiently waiting at the kitchen table for instruction, their busy little hands crossed obediently in front of them.
Supermoms, women who effortlessly and gracefully outperform 99 percent of all the other moms in a dress and heels, are the subject of my envy. I would consult this other woman species for advice, but unfortunately I only speak a few words of supermom-ese. I’m always looking for someone willing to translate.
The truth is, the majority of fellow moms speak the same language I do, so I figured it would be much more valuable to uncover the dirty little secrets behind the supermom illusion. So the next time your mother-in-law drops in with a little less than a half-hour notice and your house looks like a toddler tornado ripped through it at the speed of sound, you’ll be able to employ these tips so that you too, can look like the superior species.
You have 30 minutes before company arrives judging every dusty crevice – and GO!
1. Find yourself a cute little dress with matching heels. Something conservative that states, “I am supermom.” Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and make yourself a cup of coffee for some extra spunk. You’ll be entertaining your mother-in-law in thirty minutes. Trust, me, you’ll need it.
2. Put your little ones to work. So what if he’s only 16 months! If he’s old enough to walk, he’s old enough to clean. Sweep child, sweep! Faster! And when he’s done, the trash needs taking out.
3. Don’t bother washing the mountain of dishes that has grown to consume most of the kitchen counter. Instead, quickly pile everything in your dishwasher, the microwave, in the space underneath your sink, or as a last resort, in your oven. Just don’t forget that Sunday’s dirty dinner plates are still in there before you start your supermom baking marathon.
4. Grab a shopping bag and fill it with the mail that’s been piling up on your kitchen table (or trash bag, depending on how long it’s been since your mother-in-law has been there). Place a magazine or catalog under the coffee table or on an end table. Parenting, cooking or house decor magazines work well. As long as it’s not something offensive or controversial, such as The Morning Drunkard or How to Get High on Household Products, you’re good.
5. Dig the random socks out of your couch cushions and any other dirty laundry you’re advertising in the front end of the house and stuff it all in the washing machine. Be sure to leave out one piece – a sock, a dirty t-shirt, a pair of boxers…we’ll use that in just a minute. If you’re feeling ambitious, add a little detergent and start a wash cycle. At least you’ll appear to be a clean laundry-loving supermom when mother-in-law stops over.
6. Everything that’s on the floor – pick it up and throw it all in your bedroom. And remember, keep your bedroom door shut at all times. If you can see the bedroom door from the living area, you’ll need an emergency plan of action. In the event of an act of God, grab your mother-in-law’s purse and pitch it out the closest window. When she goes to retrieve it, you’ll have a golden opportunity to quickly enter and exit the bedroom.
7. Here you’ll have to do a little bit of real work. Don’t worry, you won’t break a sweat in your cute little dress. Put that dirty pair of boxers to good use. A little soapy water goes a LONG way. Use these muddy undies to wipe down everything that desperately needs it – the countertop, the kitchen table, the coffee table, crust off the stove, broccoli off the wall. Don’t spend more than five minutes on this step or you’ll eat away at your time for step #8.
8. Hide the stench. Light a candle and remember, Febreeze is your bff. Concentrate on your problem areas, such as the kitchen (assuming you’ve hidden a few days worth of dirty dishes), the trash can, the bathroom, the entryway, and anywhere else you’ve left behind a trail of nervous farts. No need to worry, we’ll be done in plenty of time before mother-in-law arrives.
9. Set the mood. You could dig out the dusty bottles of Windex and Pledge hiding in the back of your cleaning closet (assuming you have a cleaning closet), or you could just close the blinds and dim the lights. Without adequate lighting, it will appear that the layer of dust on your furniture and smudges on windows and doors has magically disappeared! You’re a cleaning Houdini!
10. Grab your Chips-a-hoy and scatter them on a (preferably clean) baking sheet. For safety’s sake, make sure there’s no dirty dishes hiding in your oven. Bake on 325 degrees for 15 minutes. The timer should be buzzing on your freshly baked cookies just as mother-in-law asks about that delicious smell.
Reward yourself with a congratulatory pat on the back. You have just successfully pulled off the same supermom illusion that your mother-in-law and every one of your housewife friends have been fooling you with all these years.
Magicians reveal their secrets! Advice from fellow supermom friends and followers of Mad Mom Diaries:
- Jessica A. – Throw all the clothes in hampers and put them in your bedroom and close the door. Hide all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher if there’s room. I keep a few storage bins handy and just fill them up with the clutter that seems to accumulate. And of course, closed doors are your friend.
- Lacy H. – I lock the door so no one can come in.
- Brittany B. – I don’t touch my dishes if they are dirty, there is NO time..lol. Everything else I throw in the utility room and shut the door.
- Janet G. – I keep extra bins around and throw stuff in there. Laundry gets thrown in the hampers and put in my closet. Dishes go in the dish washer. Toys go in the playhouse. Then a quick sweep and vacuum.
- Ashley H. – I would just run around throwing all the toys in the toy box, shut the door to the hallway, and vacuum the floor quick. Put the dishes in the dishwasher, and put the clutter on the counter in the basket on the counter. Years ago when I lived at a different house, I did throw my dirty dishes under the sink.
- Averi H. – I literally JUST got off the phone with my MIL who called to tell me her and my FIL will be here in Denver Friday morning! Eek!!! Thank heavens my housecleaning lady comes TODAY!!!
- Makenna B. – I grab a lot of the crap, throw it on our bed or bedroom and close the door. Some stuff goes in the laundry room and I usually do have time to do dishes though since they live 1.5 hrs away.
- Kristle M. – I have never thought to hide dirty dishes in the oven!! Such a good idea. I yell at Michael to help me clean.
- Amy B. – Throw stuff in my bedroom and close the door but usually I don’t care cause its dh’s mess and its her son. Lol.
- BreAnn V. – I have done the dishes in the oven…And then forgot about them! But I throw stuff in rooms and close doors, vacuum quickly, light a candle and open windows. Oh and clean a counter with bleach so it smells like I’ve been cleaning. Lol.
- Rhiannon S. – Utilize your closet space, with dirty laundry and dishes.
- Erin E. – The mil is in Ohio. However if she did randomly stop in, I’d pull the bleach and candle stunt.
- Katie H. – Pantry and up stairs. Toys in buckets. Quick sweep and vacuum if horrible. Then blame toddler teething for the rest not done. And burn candles so it smells good and take out trash.
- Joanne M. – Wipe down bathrooms with those Clorox wipes; cleaner and paper towels.
- Rosann H. – My friend a long time ago taught me to just gather the “crap” laying around, through it into a laundry basket and/or trash bags and then hide them in the closets. ha ha. It was very freeing.
- Jennifer S. – Say screw it blame it on the dogs and baby, lol.
- Fawn B. – Blame the husband lol.
- Brittany B. – Go to blog talk radio and search flylady crisis cleaning. I love it! Oh well it’s 45 minutes of cleaning. Just skip the last part (bathroom).
- Peggy C. – Open a closet and throw everything in there…
- Denise G. – If it’s just things that don’t need to be out, it gets put in our spare bedroom with the door shut. Hey no one every goes in there anyway.
- Elizabeth D. – Hide dishes in the oven and dishwasher. But don’t forget to take them out unless you want to melt the new sili squeeze you just ordered for your son. Speaking from experience??? Maybe….The sili squeeze may have melted all over my new $40 colander and my crockpot lid handle may be a little wonky.
- Jessica H. – Thrown things in the trunk of my car until they leave!
Thank you to everyone who contributed! Keep up the illusion, ladies!