What to Expect When Visiting a House with Young Kids

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I get nervous when people who don't have kids come over to our house. As a mom of a three-year-old and a one-year-old, I can say with absolute certainty that my house is never perfectly clean. While I have come to pretty much accept this, I still worry that people without kids will not understand that dusting is simply not in my repertoire anymore, and the fact that in any given moment a fresh disaster is about to unload on my carpet. Stains, huge primary-colored toys, and sticky countertops are a daily fixture of my life now; I don't see that changing anytime soon.

I've compiled a list to help dear friends prepare for a visit to a home containing young children. I hope it serves as a warning for what they are about to see when they cross our threshold:

1. Try to ignore the Goldfish and graham cracker crumbs in your path. I vacuumed the floor an hour ago, but then kids were hungry, snacks were had, tag was played, etc.

2. If there is a “potty trained” kid in the house, there will be pee on the toilet seat.

3. My kid looks like a ragamuffin in that faded shirt and the sweatpants with holes in the knees. He was wearing a nice shirt I bought on sale at Baby Gap for your visit, but then he ate a Nutrigrain bar and smeared red jelly all over himself, and this was the only shirt I could grab within reach.

4. Don't judge me for the cartoon blaring on the television. If it weren't on, we would have zero chance of having a conversation.

5. To the ladies: Would you kindly consider not wearing your cutest outfit for your visit here? How about a faded pair of yoga pants, your favorite college t-shirt, and a mismatched pair of socks? Also, make-up is completely optional, even discouraged.

6. Could you refrain from placing your coffee/glass of water/beer on a table below waist height? Liquids in our house are begging to be knocked down within seconds of low placement. (It’s uncanny, the regularity and speed with which this occurs).

7. Kindly look away from the dust collecting on various surfaces in our house, as well as the dog hair nestled in the corners and the dry, half-eaten sandwich on the table. We cleaned as much as we could before you came and this is about as good as it gets.

8. I beg of you to not cancel last minute or to be excruciatingly late. It is very likely we have planned our entire day or weekend around your visit.

9. Please don't ask us what we did last night. We are just too tired to make last night's routine sound exciting and fun [and no, we haven't checked out that new restaurant or seen that new movie with what's-his-name in it.].

10. Last but not least, in repayment for your consideration of these requests, we as parents promise not to bore you with endless stories of potty training, pregnancy complications, and organic pureed baby food.

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