Thursday, January 17, 2013

Brushing your teeth while eating Oreos

That's what I compare to cleaning house with small kids. You clean up a mess here, only to find another one in a previously cleaned area. You put out a fire here to find a blaze there. You go in circles. You wear yourself out. You get frustrated. You make no progress. You give up. And some not-so-perfect-moms might even get grumpy with their kids.

Not that this has happened to me. Ahem.

I grew up in a flawlessly organized, superbly clean, and always comfortable home. My mother is naturally gifted in the arts of cleaning, organizing, and decorating. My gifts lie, errr, elsewhere. I can't just look at a room and get a vision for organizing it. Try as I might, I can't make a system work. I have failed FlyLady. If my house ever made it on Pinterest, it would be a "before" picture, not an exemplar!

I would like nothing more than to be able to have an open, hospitable home. I would love to invite folks over for lunch after church on Sunday. I have long wanted to have an in-home Bible study group. I want to have a Superbowl party in two weeks. However, I am just so afraid my home won't measure up to others' standards of cleanliness, organization, and general homeyness, so I just don't do it. The fear of judgement keeps me from acting on my desire to be hospitable.

I'm resolving right now to do two things, and I need my friends in the blogosphere and real world to remind me of these:
1. I will open my home to people (other than those related to me who know what to expect) within the next month.
2. I will spend a maximum of 30 minutes a day on general organization and cleaning, and leave it at that. No more frenzied cleaning jags, shoving stuff in the closets, and worrying about what others think (Mom, are you reading this?). I'm going work on improving this weakness, but I'm going to be real about the actual state of affairs in my home. It's not perfect. Why pretend it is????

You know what? I bet some of those folks I would invite over live in less than perfect homes, too. They probably have a basket of mismatched socks somewhere. They probably can write messages in dust on their dressers, too. Their closets might hide potential avalanches of clothes and toys, like mine often do! If I create a false sense of perfection in my home, aren't I just infecting them with the perfection virus, too? "I can't host Book Club- my house is a mess. Look at Elly's house- it was so neat the other day! Mine is such a mess. No way!" (Confession:  I can't actually imagine the phrase "Elly's house was so neat" ever being uttered, but you get my point, right???)

I am taking the vow to stop pretending. None of us has a perfect home here on Earth! From here on out, mine will be a home dedicated to hospitality, love, fun, and sharing the Word. No more perfect homes!


Tristi said...

I enjoyed reading your post! Saw that phrase about brushing your teeth while eating oreos in relationship to cleaning house with little ones on facebook the other day. So true!

Susan B. said...

Loved reading your post!

Laura Wells said...

If it helps, I am uncomfortable in a perfectly decorated super, neat house. Even if the hostess is sweet and charming, the house seems to yell little judgements at me. You history matches mine almost exactly. Hoping I can give my kids a gift of greater organization. I'll be over next month!!!

Tina Hollenbeck said...

Hi. Stopping over from the blog hop - I'm #8 - and I just wanted to say that I can relate. I chose to do a super cleaning of my house between Christmas and New Years and I enjoyed it (and the results), but that hasn't been the norm in my life. I, too, have avoided having people over because of the state of things around here, and it took the super cleaning on my part to help me feel like turning that around. Of course, my house is still not perfect - far from it and it never will be - but I, too, am hoping to be more hospitable this year.

Super Mom said...

go ahead and host a super bowl party and don't bother cleaning. They will only leave chips on the floor and spill some soda anyway! We have hosted the church youth group for several years and they really don't care. They just like getting together.

Deanna said...

If it helps - I have people over every Monday night. They have never once said a thing about the dishes that are almost always in the sink, the dust on the shelves, or the dog hair that didn't get swept up. They are not there to admire the beauty of my home {whew}, they are there to build relationships. So go for it! Open your home to others. You won't regret it!

Elly Gilbert said...

Thanks for the support, girls!!!

Jackie Higgins said...

Great analogy! Made me laugh! I think you are right, though, I think you'll be an encouragement to other ladies that they don't have to be perfect!

Carmen said...

Hahaha! I love that analogy!! It's so true!! I found you through Jill Savage's blog hop about imperfect homes.

- Carmen (this is a link to the post I wrote about my home, I think you'll appreciate it!) ;o)