There are two extremes of home-keeping nowadays: the perfect “Pinterest” home, that often seems impossible to live up to, and the “mommy blogger” home, where it’s totally acceptable to leave your home in complete disarray all the time. I like to think there is an in-between. A place where lovely home-making serves an important purpose and one that’s not just for ourselves.
Growing up my mother always put so much effort into making our home beautiful. It wasn’t just that the furnishings and wall colors were nice, but it was the extra effort she made to make our home feel joyful. She always had flowers on the table and live plants scattered about our home. Outside our front porch was always ready to happily greet visitors with beautiful containers full of blooming colors. Each evening she had a candle burning or the fireplace going, usually along with some light music in the background. And during each holiday throughout the year she put out decorations that made everyone smile a little bit more. Everything was always tasteful and understated and it always felt just right.
But, funny enough, I never really appreciated all those things until much later. I went through a practical stage where I thought all that extra stuff was sort of silly. When I first got married, and our budget was tight, I decided to shun what I thought were superfluous things like potted plants and fresh flowers. Candles? Who needs those. I mean, we didn’t have children so why did it matter if I put effort into making our house cute for Christmas? I definitely patted myself on the back for not spending the unnecessary money.
But after I had my first baby I heard someone speak on the importance of making a home feel like a home. That it really did matter to keep a tidy house because it not only showed you cared about it’s inhabitants and guests, but it was a reflection of the gratitude you felt in your heart. That doing little things like flowers and holiday traditions actually were an act of love by creating a place that was joyful and beautiful for your loved ones.
And, suddenly, it all clicked. I realized that all those things my mom did for our home growing up were not because she was superficial or bored, but because she took pride in keeping a lovely home. It was a reflection of her gratitude for her blessings as well as her desire to create a welcoming place for her family to spend their time. She succeeded in creating a place where her children wanted to be and where they felt so loved.
Looking back, I realize that my mom blessed us so much by creating such a rich atmosphere in our home. I feel like we learned to appreciate beautiful artwork because she thoughtfully selected painting to hang on our walls. I know I learned to appreciate the details of creation more because she always brought the outside in with flowers and plants and potted trees. And I know friends and family always felt welcome because upon entering they would often comment on how warm and inviting our home felt.
It didn’t hurt that my mom also always had a stocked kitchen. Whenever people started gathering around her kitchen island, she would put together an appetizer or cheese and cracker plate in about in five minutes. I remember when my husband was 16 years old he spent A LOT of time raiding our fridge because it was always full of wonderful food. Looking back, I wonder if it was part of my mom’s plan to have a home where her daughters’ teenage friends would want to hang out!
Now when I see mommy bloggers proudly posting pics of living rooms that look like you can’t even walk through them, I get a bit uncomfortable. I’m certainly not saying my house is neat all the time; it’s not. But in the backlash of Pinterest perfection, we are forgetting that having a tidy and thoughtful home is not always an attempt to look or be perfect. It can actually be a way to be gracious and loving to others. And it is a gift we can give to those who live with us and those that don’t.
Even if you are single, I believe it is important to keep a lovely home, not only for others coming to your home, but for yourself. We should not deprive ourselves of the enjoyment of beautiful things just because we aren’t married or don’t have children. (So buy yourself a little Christmas tree, single gals!) Nor should we cut out the “little things” because we think they aren’t worth the cost. Not only can creating a lovely home be done in budget-friendly ways (there are plenty of blogs to help you with that!) but it can be done with just a little extra effort.
Interestingly, my sister has three boys and you would think that having boys means that you don’t need to put a lot of attention into making your home lovely. But my sister defies that logic. Sure, her boys might not thank her for the lovely pumpkin arrangement she has on her kitchen table, but you know what? I guarantee you they sense that their home is special. I’ve seen them become quite giddy when Neely gets out her plastic bin of holiday decorations and I’ve seen them notice the interesting things she is always changing out on he bookshelves (lots of vintage things like record players and globes that are great conversation starters!). These are her most recent Halloween decorations that definitely keep her boys in mind:
They might not make the connection right now that the effort she puts into their home is an act of love, but I believe they will. No doubt all the art forms, plants and flowers that Neely uses in her home are, in a small way, teaching them to appreciate creativity and beauty, something we should not deprive children of just because they are boys. And, who knows, because they saw their mother always putting effort into home-making, maybe they won’t nag their wife one day when she wants to spend a little money to also create a lovely (and fun) home!
Do you think it’s important to create a lovely home? Would love to know any tips how do that!
Soures (Click on links below):
New York Pillow: Pottery Barn
Lantern (simimlar) : Pottery Barn
Tree Branches: Pottery Barn