In the past few weeks, we have welcomed visitors into our home. In the months before, we invited hardly anyone over. A combination of illness, morning sickness and winter hibernation are my excuses. They are lame excuses, I know.
I have been seeing some cute posters make their way around Facebook with regards to cleaning. I shared one the other day, too. It got me thinking about when and how I keep house. Although our home is kept mostly tidy, I don't deep clean often enough. I love the smell of a clean home. My family deserves a clean home, but they also deserve a good home-cooked meal, my affection and attention. They also need to have the opportunity to create, make messes and play freely as long as they clean up behind themselves. We all need to work together to create a comfortable home environment that is also conducive to learning, living out our vocations and being hospitable.
Today's post was inspired by two very contrasting point of view. The first inspiration comes from this blog post by Cari Dugan, "We can't be friends". The other inspiration come from the beloved Anne of Green Gables in Anne of Avonlea in the scene preceding the awaited arrival of Miss Morgan,
"Anne, left alone in her glory, worked with a will. The floor was swept, the beds made, the hens fed, the muslin dress washed and hung out on the line." ~ Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montomgery
First off, I am not going to criticize the article written by Cari. I agree with her, but I also disagree. I would never turn away and unexpected visitor because my house was in a happy disarray. My house is like any other that inhabits children. There are toys in open spaces, books on tables, sofas and blankets and pillows strewn over furniture. Children live here! You are welcome to come by for tea if you are in the neighborhood. On the other hand, if I know that you are coming, we tidy up and clean like crazy people. The entry area (which is tiny) is tidied up to make room for your shoes and coats. The toys, books, pillows and blankets are put away nicely. The crayons and paper snipsels are picked up. The vacuum is swung, the kitchen floor and the bathroom are given a quick "one-over" and the windows are opened to let in fresh air. If there is time, a baked good is thrown together quickly and put in the oven.
I encourage all of the children to help. Although, the following sums up my thoughts.
I try to instill in the children that they need to be hospitable. Our Lord wants us to open our homes and invite others in. I ask them gently,
"If Jesus were to come today, how would you like to greet him?"
Are we not all created in the image and likeness of Our Lord? Wouldn't we want him to come into our home and have a clean place to sit on (free of cat hair, toys and books)? Wouldn't we want to be able to offer Him a drink out of a CLEAN glass or cup and be able to offer Him a treat as a thank you for coming to visit. This is why I tidy up like crazy before friends or family come to visit.
This sums up my feelings, but I realize that this isn't what Our Lord would want either.
If the kids get out the crayons and paper, books and toys before their friends arrive, so be it. They (toys and books) were out of the way during the vacuuming and the house smells fresh. Anticipation is the greatest part of having visitors and little children need to keep busy to bide the time until company comes. Life doesn't stop just because mom
finally cleaned the house.
I believe temperance here is the key. Having family and friends over is special. We try our best to tidy up each day. Our house is small and therefore can easily feel claustrophobic if not tidied often. We try to put everything back in its place when we are finished with it. We TRY. We are not perfect.
So if you come over to our house, enjoy and relax. We find you so special that we want you to feel welcome. This is our home. No, our home isn't always this tidy or clean. YOU are special. We love you and just want to show it in our own way.
I feel that I must add this final note: don't feel bad if your home isn't clean. Don't feel that we won't feel welcome at your home if you have toys everywhere, crumbs on the table or floor and have toothpaste goop in your bathroom sink. Our house has this side to it, too. We don't judge your home when we come to visit. We love you. We live our way even if it may be different from the way you live. We are not living a facade. This is us.
Now you know why we will clean our home before you come to visit, unless you visit us right after the birth of a baby or after a death in the family. Expect a mess.
God Bless, friends.