Cleaning House: Confessions of a Neurotic Foster Mom

Dust My Broom

Photo by Michael Goodin

Ok, I admit it. I am not a great housekeeper. I try. I really do, but I’m just not that good at it. Now don’t get me wrong. My home isn’t a huge mess but it’s never quite clean either. It seems like by the time I get done cleaning one room all the rest have started to get messed up again. When we decided to become foster parents this was a source of great anxiety for me. We had workers coming and going every month and I had this idea that they expected my house to be spotless. I feared that if they happened to come by one day and saw dirty dishes in my sink that they would try to take the kiddos away.

This is how it would usually go down. One of our social workers would call and ask if they could come by later that afternoon. I would say, “Of Course!” because I didn’t want them to think I was ever not ready for a visit. Then I would clean nonstop until time for their visit. I would clean until my home was unnaturally clean for a home with children. Then the social worker would come by, we’d have a great visit, and once she left I’d sigh with relief that I managed to get everything done.

Then one day it happened. We had a surprise visit. At 8am I hear a knock at the door. I panic as I look around and see the breakfast dishes still on the table, toys all over the place, and my floor not vacuumed. There was nothing I could do but let her in. Believe it or not she didn’t even mention the condition of my house. As she was getting ready to leave I apologized for what a mess the house was and she said,”Honey, your house looks fine. I was starting to wonder if the kids actually stayed here. It always looks too clean for a house with four children.” At that moment I realized the obvious. They know I’m human. They know that I have four kiddos and that some of those kiddos are coming from hard places. They don’t care if my house is spotless. They only care that it’s safe and filled with love for these kiddos. I’ve got that covered.

So, if you are considering foster care but are worried because you’re aren’t exactly a Martha Stewart type, put those fears aside. I may not be the perfect mom but my kiddos love me and to them I’m good enough.

transracial-foster-care-adoptionBecky Johnson is a happy wife and proud mommy of four, both by birth and foster care adoption. Because two of her adoptions have been transracial, her family often gets mistaken for a daycare or church group when out in public. Life in the Johnson home is fun, chaotic, and definitely blessed. Read more about Becky’s family at