Around these parts, there are a lot of new families moving in and out of the neighborhood. It's exciting for us because it's an opportunity to make some new friends. We're not really good friends with any of our neighbors right now so it's not so sad about the leaving part :) (Although we have been socializing with one set of neighbors more).
Anyway, so last week, Carter and I made cookies from scratch. Later when we were walking to the mailbox, we ran into some of our new neighbors from two doors down. They had literally just taken possession of the house and hadn't even had their stuff delivered yet. So I went home, plated up some cookies, stuck on a tag I had made from the day before and delivered them cookies. They were so happy when I showed up with still warm from the oven cookies!
I was just smiling all the way home (you know, my whole ten feet of walking) and was thinking that everything I learned about hospitality, I've learned from my mom. She is one of THE most thoughtful people I know. She always opens her home for people and doesn't stress about making sure everything is perfect (althoug it usually is). Anytime I have people over, I am always stressed about every little detail. I mean, really, are people going to look under my couch to check for dust (or food crumbs, legos, cranberries, random parts of toys which all happen to be under my couch right this minute!)
I recently read a really good book about entertaining. It's called The Reluctant Entertainer and I checked it out from our library. The basic take home point is that entertaining people in your home is NOT about YOU, it's about them. I'm trying to live out my life this way now. My friend Amy came over last week for dinner. She has a spectacular house, and I do mean spectacular with a capital S. It's always spotless and she has two boys ages 4 and 2! I can't do what she does and I'm learning to be okay with that. So anyway, when she came over last week (and again this week) I promised myself that I would NOT spend valuable children's nap time obsessively cleaning. And I didn't. I always tell her that I'll try and clean the bathroom and sweep the filthy floor, but other than that, what you see is what you get. And you know what, instead of spending an hour obsessively cleaning up everything, I spent it watching t.v. and ironing clothes that have been in the laundry room for literally two months! And the best part is, my friends don't care how clean (or dirty) my house is. It's so freeing to get to that point.
That night she came over, we had pizza for dinner on paper plates and it was glorious. I hadn't been grocery shopping in a week. I had almost no food in the house. But I didn't let that stop me from having a dear friend over. And we had a perfectly good time even with my bare pantry!
Life is too short to spend it trying to achieve perfection. My new mantra is "Let it go". I don't want to waste my precious ones childhood running around all the time making sure everything is spotless. I do tidy up. I do sweep the floor. I do clean the toilets and try to stay caught up on laundry. But do I really need to clean the baseboards? Do I really need to scrub the cabinet doors? Do I really have to vacuum every week? Do the kids toys have to picked up every single minute? No. What I do have to do is cherish my kids even when they're making a mess! I'm trying not to yell about messes. They ARE kids. I'm going to let go of the fact that I don't always have it together. I won't cringe everytime my doorbell rings because I'm worried about the state of my house. I will have people over without obsessing about everything. Messes are okay.
We live in this house and I really want us to LIVE in it. I don't mind when Carter asks for paints or playdoh. I don't mind when Olivia wants to get every pair of shoes out the closet. Those things are part of having small kids. I refuse to spend the rest of my life stressing about the mess! Who's with me?