Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fancy Things

I have a lot of descriptors for my dream home. They include words like: warm, cozy, comfortable, homey, and inviting.   The word "fancy" is never used. I think we did have something fancy once, but the kids attacked it with Crayolas and kicked it until it ran away.

Our house is lived in. It's not messy. Seven kids is chaos enough. If I had a messy house, I might crawl into my bed and never come out. Likewise, my house is not dirty. It's a pain to keep it clean, but we do it. The alternative is just not something that works for me. That said, it's not super clean or super tidy. We don't want to spend every waking moment taking care of the house. We'd kind of like to live in it too.

I have wanted to entertain at my house for the longest time. But I'm always afraid of what people will think. We've made couches last longer by throwing a cover over them and calling it good. Our playroom has housed potty training children (which is sort of like having dogs, in that there are some accidents) so our carpet needs replaced. We have some spots where Ciaran has damaged the drywall or even one place where he put a hole in the wall with the handle of the rocking horse.  The walls have been colored on. Again. I swear I have washed those walls so many times, I'm amazed there's paint left. The crayons go rogue and disappear, only to reappear in the hands of an artistic toddler. It's some kind of law.

We do not have fancy things. We have things that the children have not killed. Yet.

This has made me...uneasy. I've not wanted anyone to look at my house and think less of me for it. But, and I mean this truly, I had an epiphany yesterday. I have made friends with really nice people. They may notice that my garden is in desperate need of weeding. They may notice the scuff marks on the wooden floor. And yet, they're still going to like me.

I have absolutely NO idea where I got the idea that people would judge me. Because I don't surround myself with those kinds of people. And, to be honest, if they were going to think less of me because I don't spend my money on fancy furniture, but in keeping clothes on the kiddos, I really wouldn't need them anyway.

There's an Ani DiFranco song (probably my favorite) called Present Infant which says:
"lately I've been glaring into mirrors picking myself apart. You'd think at my age I'd of thought
of something better to do, than make insecurity into a full-time job, make insecurity into art. Aand I fear my life will be over, and I will have never lived it unfettered. Always glaring into mirrors, mad I don't look better."
This is who I've been for so long, it's hard for me to remember that no one is looking to pick me apart anymore (childhood can be a bitch).  And I don't have to continue that work on myself.  I can enjoy the people who I've been blessed to have come into my life.  It's like Ani says in the song: "Don't give the sellers of stuff, power enough, to rob you of your grace. Love is all over the place.  There's nothing wrong with your face." or your house, either.  I don't need fancy things (nor do I particularly want them).  I just need the love of my (as my friend Sherry puts it) Honey Family.  Lucky for me, I have that.


  1. Beautiful! And it's so nice to know I'm not the only one with colored-on walls (pen is harder to get off), holes in the walls, and damaged carpet from potty training. Somehow, though, it seems worse when it's only from 2 children rather than 7...

  2. Sandy, thank you for telling me that. Not that I'm happy your walls get written on, but I've spent so much time chasing down crayons and getting friendly with magic erasers, I'm so relieved to know that this isn't a failing of mine as a mother. I'm just outnumbered by both kids and crayons.

  3. Anne - Annette just today wrote on the wall with a fuschia colored marker. And on Friday Fred made another dent in the wall with the "new" couch that desperately needs a slipcover because it's already spewing its stuffing... but it's a hide-a-bed that's been so desperately needed. You're definitely not alone!

  4. Honestly, I'd think there was something wrong with you if I came over and your house didn't look like that with seven kids. Having raised five of my own and two grandkids who lived with me for the first five years of the oldest one's life, I can say that the lived-in look is the one that suits. Btw, did you know that there is wall paper out there you can put up at kid level for crayon and chalk? It was a lifesaver for me when I lived in Navy housing. Anyone who judges a well-lived life is just jealous of it .. hugs!! Great post!

  5. People come over to your house to visit you...they don't come to see your house. A lived in look means you have activity and life and love within your walls. When my kids were young, no matter how I might have tried, my house was never perfect. There were always crumbs on the counter, toys on the floor and shoes by the door. Someone always was needing me for one thing or another and housekeeping wasn't a priority if someone was hurt, or hungry or wanted to go to the park. Don't beat yourself up! You are a really great mom, you love your children and to heck with how your house looks! Remember...they come to see you not the crayon on the wall. :) Great to see you posting again...I've missed you!!


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