All too often, we save all the beautiful and delicious and comfortable for our guests and let our families fend for themselves. I've tried to analyze why we do this. Although it's hard to admit, I think sometimes we just don't want guests to see us as we really are, so we spruce up and exhaust ourselves cleaning so they think we are better than we are. While I think it's important to make guests feel comfortable and like we put forth effort for them, how do our families feel on a day-to-day basis?
It's so easy to spend hours on a perfect dinner for guests, but give leftovers to our spouse and children. It's so easy to clean up the "visible areas" of the house by dumping clutter and laundry on our beds, leaving the bedroom a mess for our husbands.
Enter the guilt. (Yes, it's resonating with me, too. How do you think I came up with the above description?)
As I sit here, at the computer (yes, I feel the irony!), there are toys strewn about the downstairs, the kitchen floor is a mess and I have a couple baskets of unfolded laundry beckoning me. It is also 11:00 P.M.--way past time for me to have all of that taken care of.
Now your feeling of guilt may be a little better, and mine is a little worse. My home is far from a welcoming haven right now.
As I see it, there are two things to do with guilt. One is to wallow in it and think about how horrible we are and just fall to the depths of despair (I've been there, I think.) The other thing is to acknowledge what you've done (or in this case, not done) and move on.
That's what I'm choosing to do: what I've done in the past when my home looks like this after an exhausting week.What does moving on look like?
Well, for me, tomorrow, I will do my best to:
- Spend time with the Lord to keep a sweet attitude, which is by far the best thing with which to welcome my family.
- Start with one thing. Probably the kitchen or the laundry. Dishes and clothes can quickly overwhelm me with six of us dressing and eating!
- Take some time to "be" with my kids instead of snapping at them to help all day.
- Work on my husband's priorities first.
- Have the downstairs reasonably clean and the bedroom free of laundry when my husband comes home from work along with the sweet attitude I mentioned above.