I said it just the other day. I know I’ve said it before and I know I’ll say it again. I’m betting you’ve said it too.
We say it to the water tank repair guy, we say it after we’ve spent hours cleaning in preparation for dinner with that new couple we just met, we say it when a neighbour stops in for coffee, we say it when our best friends come over for a chat, and I’m pretty sure I’ve even said it the parcel guy.
“Excuse the mess.”
We say it again and again, because we’re self-conscious, because we feel put on the spot, or maybe because we feel judged.
We seem to feel the need to substitute cleanliness for a welcoming presence and true hospitality. But I’m not lying when I say that the home I’ve felt most comfortable at other than my own, was never one that was spotlessly spic and span. It was one where I felt welcomed, accepted and as if it would be okay if we were to stay all day and into the night. Like part of the family.
Now I’m not saying we should just give up keeping our spaces tidy and clean, but I am saying that maybe we should stop focusing on it, and think more about the person coming into our home.
Instead of looking at ourselves, our own efforts, our own standards, why not focus on our guests, the ones that have chosen to spend their valuable time with us?
I’m speaking to myself here, because I’m the Martha when I should be a Mary. I’m the one washing dishes when there’s a lull in the conversation, or sweeping quickly after dinner when I think our guests won’t notice. I’ve been known to sneak into the bathroom and re-fold the hand towel, and then quickly pick up one of the kids’ rooms on the way back. All while guests are in the house, when I should be enjoying that time with them.
The next time my doorbell rings, there’s a good chance I’ll have dishes in my sink and a pile of shoes by my front door. But I’m going to ignore them in favour of welcoming my visitors, and focus on others instead of myself.
In my next post, I’m excited to be able to share with you some amazing wisdom from a blog that my sister-in-law, Lindsey Gallant, writes. She really breaks down what the purpose of a home and what our jobs as homemakers really is (and anyone who has a family is responsible for “homemaking” — not just stay-at-home moms. Watch for that post coming soon!