I used to think, okay seriously, I used to think when I saw parents with messy houses, cars, and selves that "their standards must not be very high."
Well of course now that makes me laugh.
If you don't have small children, you should know: They Destroy. Total destruction hourly. I'm unable to keep up. I, The Multitasker of the Universe (subtitle: Also a Neat Freak), cannot. keep up. That exhausted look in my eye? It's not from sleep deprivation. It's from the constant friction between my soul's desires and needs and its reality. I can't rest in chaos. Yet it is my world, it is unavoidable. I must now find ways to exist in it.
My car: pristine, organized, vacuumed. Until. Until. I had children. Now it looks almost textbook "car of a parent with small children" as if a Hollywood set designer dressed it for some parenting movie. Goldfish crackers sprinkled liberally, splatters of dried milk on seat backs, discarded Starbucks cups, random articles of kid clothing, etc. Always. If I clean it? I get one day of peace before the madness sets in again.
At some point you give in. You have to, or you'll go insane. If I live by my neat-freak tendencies, I will both go round the bend from the constant battle and I will also spend the entirety of Loo's childhood cleaning. As in, no time to relate to him except for screaming at him for creating more messes. I have to let go, or I won't be the parent I want to be.
These days I'm giving all the parents I would have judged before the benefit of the doubt. I'm willing to bet that most if not all are not messy because they want to be; they simply accept their fate, or are too tired to fight it anymore. They cannot stop the madness and they no longer try. Instead they co-exist.
That's what I'm doing anyway.