Here are three things people never say upon visiting my home:
- “Wow, I sure wish I had your eye for decorating!”
- “Man, your house is SO clean!”
- “Can I ask– who does your landscaping???”
And, when I dwell on that, it makes me sad. It makes me frustrated. It makes me feel, very much, like a failure.
Because, the thing is– I could do any of those things.
While I might not be blessed with a natural eye for design, I am certainly capable of researching and sourcing and putting something together. But I don’t. I happily slap up paint colors that make me smile and half-heartedly attempt to find things that coordinate, but I don’t spend more than a moment worrying about details or accessories. And I fear it shows.
Our yard? Is kind of pitiful. Neither my husband nor I enjoy working outside AT ALL. Fussing in my garden? I’ll do that. I’m getting FOOD out of the deal, after all. Running through the sprinkler? Sign me up! Backyard soccer game? My hubby’s all over it! But… trimming? Weeding? Planting flowers or shrubs? Um… yeah, we just don’t make much effort in those departments. And, again… it shows.
Finally– the cleaning. My house is not filthy. It is not appalling. It is also never spotless or squeaky clean. Little hot spots of clutter exist even when I’ve made it “company ready.” My long hair combines with cat fur and dust and crumbs to linger here and there and it’s a never-ending battle to keep it in control– one I don’t do a very good job of winning. I could absolutely do better in this department. But the simple truth is that I don’t take the time to do it.
I hate admitting those things to you all! I hate acknowledging that I could absolutely do better in these departments, but I don’t. It can make me slump my shoulders in defeat to realize that I have never been known for those qualities, and there’s likely no one out there looking up to me for my obvious talent in those areas.
Periodically, I get myself all disheartened and frustrated about this and make (hollow) vows to change. I commit to a better plan and become determined to rewrite this story until I can be admired for those three things. It even works sometimes, for a little while.
And then I see other areas falter. And a gentle voice whispers through my mind, reminding me of the three things I DO hear from people who visit my home:
- “It smells great in here– are you baking?”
- “You look wonderful. And happy.”
- “Your kids are so well-behaved. You have a right to be proud.”
And, you know, all those things are just as true. Because I enjoy baking, exercising, putting effort into my marriage, and focusing on mothering, I tend to forget that those things take time. And energy.
We all tend to fixate on where we don’t “measure up.” There’s someone out there who is, no doubt, doing it better. And that is such a burden to carry. The real question is… why are we shouldering it? Who really wants us to carry it?
Today, I want to encourage you to ponder where you’re devoting the bulk of your energy. Is it going toward the things you value? If so, pat yourself on the back instead of beating yourself up for the things that aren’t getting done. If not, consider– is there something of less import that you could let slide for a bit?
This isn’t meant to offer excuses. I do need to grow and improve in those first three areas. But you know what? If no one EVER compliments me on having a great yard, I am totally okay with that.
And so are my well-behaved children.
So tell me… do you ever feel like a failure for the areas where you don’t “measure up”? Where do you shine?