Who you are and what you have is good enough
I have been going through old photographs recently, one of which is my graduation photo (below). I posted the photo online and the comments have been lovely, especially in relation to both of my parents. It got me thinking about how we judge ourselves so harshly.
Growing up, our house was always busy. I was the youngest of 7, the eldest 3 were married by the time I was about 8. Grandchildren came along (I was an aunt at age 6) and so there was always a lot of traffic, lots of people and children, which I loved.
Given the number of people coming through, especially with a lot of little people, it wasn’t the tidiest or most organised.
Added to that was the fact that my father’s business had gone wallop and there were indeed tough times financially, so having a house in pristine condition was not a priority.
Especially in my college years, I would regularly bring people back to the house for coffee or toasted cheese sangwiches (an Irish pronunciation).
We would always congregate in the kitchen, the warmest room as the Aga was there.
You could be guaranteed, that if there was someone (especially a boy) that you were trying to impress, that when you shut the kitchen door (which had a hook on the back of the door), there would be some undergarment or other in full view, hanging on the hook.
And if you managed to escape that, there was always my father’s underpants.
He had one particular pair of Jockey Y-Fronts which were yellow with these giant red lobsters. These underpants seemed to appear everywhere.
You would be looking for a tea towel or something in the kitchen drawer which was usually crammed with stuff, and these underpants would pop out, much to my mortification. You couldn’t miss them.
Coming from such a state of disorganisation, I was always very impressed when I called to someone’s house unannounced, and their house is very clean and tidy. I always wondered, how do they do it?
When I was younger, all of this stupid stuff mattered to me so much and I judged myself and our house so harshly but what is obvious, especially after I posted that photo, was that people couldn’t have cared less about the disarray of our house.
They said that always felt that they were made to feel very welcome in our home. My parents loved having visitors, and would stop whatever they were doing to have a cup of tea with you.
So much so, that I arrived home one day to see my ex-boyfriend who I had been trying very hard to disengage from, sitting down, tucking into an omelette made by my mother (‘he was hungry’ she said!).
The bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter at all what type of house we have, whether there is paint peeling off the walls or if there is a pair of underpants hanging around.
What people are interested in is how you make them feel when they visit.
As always, I am a work in progress on this front and I do have to stop myself going into a complete cleaning frenzy when I know someone is coming to visit, and not judging myself so harshly if things aren’t perfect.
I’d love to be more organised (I know roughly where everything is), but I’m not. So I’m vowing to be a bit more easy going about the mess.
Who we are and where we live, warts and all, is good enough.