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  • Writer's pictureKate Roff

Letting go of home shame

Picture this - you get home from whatever rudely forced you out of your tracksuit pants and messy bun in the first place, only to find some unexpected visitors have popped around for a wee impromptu visit. Innocent enough, right? Yea, nah. You see, I suffer from a chronic case of home shame, where I simply must shine a spotlight on all things unfinished, unmanicured, and untidy.

Rooted in my perfectionist tendencies, it spills out of me like a sift screaming "Please don't judge me for having dirty dishes in the sink!" To some of you, this might sound absolutely ridiculous, but to others, it likely strikes a rather deep, sometimes dysfunctional cord.

So, how do we overcome the need to panic clean every time we have visitors ?

Taming the shaming

Get to the root cause

I'm certainly no expert (but I was a child of The Oprah Winfrey Show era), but trying to control your external circumstances usually means you may be feeling a sense of lack or control internally. Typically, this stems from a fear of being judged or ridiculed in some way for not being or doing enough. While I can't wave a magic wand to make these tendencies go away, I can suggest finding a middle ground can be a more gentle, sustainable way forward. In practical terms, this might mean you clean your kitchen, but leave the toys out or clear and wipe down the dining room table, but leave the dishes for a little longer than you usually would.

Negative bias

You know when someone gives you a compliment and you feel like you should look over your shoulder to make sure there isn't anyone behind you? Our lizard brains have a negative bias to keep us safe and well. Unfortunately, this means we often see the bad before the good in our surroundings and ourselves. I can be showered with compliments about our home and I will still point out the one thing I don't like about our front entrance. Chances are your home isn't anywhere near as messy, chaotic or unfinished as you think it is - it's just the cave man part of your brain doing what it does best. Something to keep in mind when you go to shutdown a compliment.

Exposure therapy

One way to nip home shame in the bud is to is to invite your friends over (preferably the ones with the wine and cheese) when your house is in its more natural state. For me, this usually means lego sprawled across the living room floor, a kitchen in a state of flux and some sort of nerf gun war in action. The more you do this, the easier it becomes to be at home in your home.

No one really cares

Oof. A bit of hard love coming at you, but no one cares as much as you do. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that most just walk on by without even noticing your house-induced neurosis. Great news! You can take a load off, enjoy that wine, and let the nerf guns war prevail in your living room while you have at the blue cheese.

You're not lazy

I have an untamed garden and it's probably where most of my home shame lies. It's not for a lack of trying - it's just low down on my list of priorities. And yet, the narrative in my head is I'm kinda lazy. For most of us, the opposite is true and by the end of the week, all you want to do is put on some stretchy pants, eat some chips and watch Love is Blind. We all have an area/s in and outside of our homes that make our left eye twitch, but if it's low in the pecking order of your priorities, I'm officially giving you permission to do what our favourite reality tv contestants do and turn a blind eye.

Reframe your shame

Note to self - you are an amazing person as you are and there's not a manicured garden or immaculate home that can outshine what you've got. Really think about that the next time you start justifying a perceived lack in yourself or your home. And while we're being cheesy, could someone pass the brie?

Need to dig a little deeper into this house shame sitch? I got you! Check out

Yours in the messy life,

Kate x

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