Summer is the time when our thoughts turns to holidays. But what if someone’s holiday is coming to visit you? How can we be good hosts, without losing our minds under the pressure of providing their perfect break?
We have a lot of family coming to stay at our house during the year. An inevitable consequence as we both moved away from the places where our family are based. But the truth is, I’m a terrible host. Our spare room is not so much spare, more the overflow valve for the entire house. Every object that does not have an obvious home, will find it’s merry way to the spare room. Think Monica’s secret closet from Friends (you can watch the moment Chandler discovers the hyper-organised Monica’s secret clutter stash here). I’m not in Monica’s stratosphere where it comes to organisation but I do like to keep the illusion of some semblance of order in my house – so the spare room is my secret closet.
For every visitor that arrives (usually at least once a month) that big overflowing, unorganised, illogical dumping ground has to magic into an actual guest room for actual people, not just the Playmobil kind. There is never enough time between visits to truly tackle the clutter mountain so instead I usually find myself frantically squeezing storage boxes into every hidden nook and cranny I can find in the rest of the house.
It’s exhausting. And frustrating. And by the time those guests actually cross the threshold, I feel a seething resentment for the trouble they’ve unwittingly put me through.
Earlier this week though I was reading Not About the Kids’s post about giving yourself permission to relax . In Helen’s case she was talking about allowing yourself to take a total guilt-free break whilst on holiday. It got me thinking whether I also been missing the point about visitors. Perhaps I’m too focused on what I think my house should look like.
The truth is our house is messy but not too messy. Clean but not too clean. Cluttered but not too cluttered. It’s a typical family home, forever in progress. So today, 3 days and counting before my mum arrives for A WEEK (*deep breaths*) I am going to hold fast. No more moving boxes. No more frantic cleaning sprees. Instead I’m going to focus on being what a good host should really do – plan some fun time together.