If there’s one thing #MomTok is gonna do for moms everywhere, it’s make them feel validated one way or another. One Georgia mom has gone viral in recent months for showing her home in a state of disarray—a far cry from the perfect aesthetic many influencers tend to show on social media.
Brianna James, who posts videos under the handle @TheMessyMama4, first went viral over the winter when she shared a video of her messy kitchen, dining room, and hallway during a time when her entire family was sick at the same time. The video quickly went viral, and has over 5 million views.
“It’s bad, I know,” she wrote in the caption. In the video, she mentions that she suffers from ADHD, depression, and anxiety.
She received a ton of comments on that TikTok video in particular, with many moms applauding James for showing what real homes can look like.
“Honestly this is real life. A persons house can’t be clean 24/7. Some of y’all need to humble yourself,” one mom wrote.
“OMG, this happened to me, after I recoverd from the flu!🙄” another said.
“Girl, same way! This is so overwhelming to me. But, if u split the rooms in 1/2 and do just 1/2 a room at a time, it helps. Set a timer. You got this,” someone else wrote.
More recently, she shared a timelapse video of her family cleaning up the living room.
“Well this was already like 50% picked up before I started filming 🤣 it was so much worse lol but now it’s nice and clean and even the windows are washed! BONUS!” she shared in the caption.
In an interview with Good Morning America this week, James says she doesn’t mind sharing her family’s life and reality on social media, because showing the mess keeps her accountable for cleaning it. She and her husband, Craig, have three daughters and one son. Listen, when parents are outnumbered it’s even more difficult to stay on top of things—that’s a fact.
“I want people who may not be in my shoes to understand that it’s normal in a way as long as you know you’re not going to live with it. And then also to show people who are in my shoes, that they’re not alone,” she tells GMA.
She’s faced a lot of criticism for being a self-described “messy mama.” A lot of commenters are unkind in their feedback.
“I had Covid and was taking care of everyone in my house and was still cleaning. There’s literally no excuse for dirty diapers to be on the floor🤮,” one mom wrote.
“Hold yourself accountable. Stop putting a label on the anxiety your feeling it keeps you surpressed in victim mode 24/7 it’s hard but it will work,” said another.
“No no hunny. it’s a excuse every video, this is so uncalled for. you bet when I had covid I was still up and going , thats not a excuse sorry,” another comment reads.
I grew up in a “messy house.” I can recognize that it greatly contributed to my anxiety and because I grew up in a house that was a chaotic mess, I was never properly taught how to take care of a home. Even though I think I take pretty good care of my current one—organization and cleanliness don’t come naturally to me.
I think we can recognize that messy homes can be both normal and detrimental—those two things can be true at the same time. It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. I also suffer from depression and anxiety, have two children, and work full-time from home with my spouse. It’s impossible to be on top of everything all the time (especially when everyone is sick!), but I also don’t want my kids to feel like they live in chaos, either. My husband and I also work together to tackle different tasks so the burden of housework doesn’t fall on only me.
All we can do is extend grace to ourselves and to other parents in these situations. And if other moms find these videos helpful and validating, that’s important.
“I’m trying to be honest and real and show that it’s OK to not get it all done and it’s OK to let some things go and focus on yourself and make yourself healthy,” James said on GMA. “I’m also trying to think like, well, I could clean 24/7, seven days a week and then I miss out on the time with my kids, or I could let the dishes go for a day or not take the trash out that night and then play dominos or something with my kids or hide and seek. So I’m trying to balance that.”