OK, truth be told. I'm not a neatnik. I like my house clean. But I don't like being the one to implement those changes. I go through manic streaks where I clean like crazy, have a clean house for a while (because everybody knows it's easier to clean an already clean house), and then it turns into a pit and it's so hard to get it back out of the pit unless I have another manic streak. That's pretty much how my household works. So, maybe 30% of the time, it's clean, and the other 70% it's... ummmm.... not.
I used to not physically be able to leave the house messy when I left to go somewhere. When I still had only 1 child (oh... the days...), I remember distinctly telling a friend I couldn't meet her for a playdate for another 2 hours, because in my mind I knew it was going to take that long to clean up. It stressed me out to leave dishes in the sink or anything out on the counter or table or floor.
I'm so over it.
And, you know, it's not my nature to be stressed out about that kind of thing... it had to do with how I felt about what "others" might think. We had a fairly picked up house before kids, but I never stressed about it. It was messy sometimes. But somehow things had changed after having a baby... I had friends that I needed to impress with my fabulous housekeeping skills, *I* had to pick up, just so *I* felt good about *myself*. Every time I had a friend over and the house wasn't in "company" shape, I apologized about the "mess". It was a bit of pride, a bit of fear, and a lot of insecurity.
When my oldest was 11 months old, I went on a trip to Oregon to visit my dear friend from high school, Michelle. It was a girls week. She has a little boy just a few months younger than Corene, so we played and the kids played.
I will *never* forget that trip. It was heaven, absolute heaven. Her house was spotless SO messy!!! We walked in the door, and there were toys everywhere... she brought me up to the room where I would stay, stepping over laundry baskets of clothes as we went. She showed me the kitchen, where an entire load of dishes was in the sink.
It was JUST like my house!!!
And here's where I learned a lifelong lesson. She NEVER apologized, never tried to "cover up her flaws", never said anything that made me feel awkward. She was just REAL. I have never felt so welcome in somebody's home.
We had conversations about flylady.net and the struggles of keeping a home clean, and all the frustrations and challenges of learning about this "mom" business. We loved each other and encouraged each other. We rejoiced in each other's joys and felt each others pains.
And, I dare say it began with that simple act of hospitality.
The world has it backwards. We use the words "good hospitality" to describe a Martha Stewart placesetting, lavish and *perfect*.
But I am forever changed. Hospitality means open, inviting, real. It means we don't hide our ahem.. *many* flaws.
I leave my dishes in the sink and I let my kids' art projects remain on the table and the legos are all over the floor and the dress up clothes litter the girls' room.
And we go play. Or we go to the grocery store. Or we go to school. Or, *shocker* we have a playdate in our messy house! No apologies.
I do look forward to my manic phases, though. Gotta love a clean house.
Gotta love no hate NO- LOVE the Flylady.
Really I don't DO!!!