The lived in home is about more than pinperfection. It’s about more than the magazine spread and the coordinated cushions. And yet, the lived in home is disappearing.
If I told you that people used to enjoy living in their homes, decorating their homes and just appreciating the simple fact that they HAD a home would you believe me? That people didn’t agonize over whether their home looked like it was ready for it’s IG photo shoot, never worried if there was enough light or colour to warrant a possible viral post.
There was a time when women were blissfully unaware that they were not meeting the Joanne Gains standard of housekeeping that every other mother seemed to be mastering. When we didn’t need a Netflix series to remind us to clear the clutter but simply lived with less and loved each other more.
Home was truly where the heart was, not where the idols and keeping up with the Jones’ went on.
What happened to the lived in home?
Why are we so obsessed with making sure that everything looks right, is spotless, matches and is trendy?
What happened to living in a home with personality, spunk, and a weird smell that could only come from the combination of muddy boots and having five young children?
I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that a lot of our anxiety, as moms, comes from this overwhelming feeling that we are just not measuring up.
You don’t have to look far to find an article, a picture, a full video, exemplifying the many ways that we are “supposed” to be decorating, creating, cooking, mothering, LIVING. It is overwhelming – to say the least. And we, as mothers, as mass consumers of social media, buy into the facade hook, line, and sinker.
Gone are the days when the only way we knew if our houses looked like “theirs” was if we ventured outside of our own little bubble and actually VISITED with her.
Suzy had no idea what Brenda was doing unless she went over, or Sally told her. Everyone did life their way. They may have shopped at the Bay together, but their own means and their own style were embraced. They weren’t forever looking at the measuring tape of success and pondering if they were meeting the standard.
I mean, sure there was TV and print articles that suggested what was trendy or on pointe in the home decor industry, but it wasn’t EVERYWHERE.
Now, you can literally look into the homes of thousands of “everyday” moms. You are a proverbial Peeping Tom, mass consuming people’s “lives” and we start to think that THIS is that way it is. EVERYWHERE. Except here.
We think that, just because these images of what life is “supposed” to look like, are literally plastered all over the inter webs. That it is truly what life is supposed to be.
Everything matching, coordinated, finished to a standard that only those who have a butt tun of money can truly maintain (please, I mean no offence if you have a perfectly coordinated home and a fair chunk of change, I am saying that all that COMES with having means to maintain … that is all).
The pressure mounts on mothers, to have it all together and to LOOK like we have it all together. And, as the pressure mounts, so does our own expectation. We start to think that this is what everyone else has, this is what we SHOULD have, this is what it means to be successful.
Heck, it isn’t what it means to be successful, we start to think that this is the base measure of survival.
That having it all together, all picture ready, all Joanna Gaines farmhouse chic, is the BASE measure of what we should have.
Nurseries went from being a cot beside our bedside with the basic needs met for baby Jane, to having to have the FULL SHA’BANG immediately. I mean, not even immediately, but WELL before the baby is born and certainly before it will ever appreciate it.
We expect that the paint, the decor, the crib, matching bedding, the curtains, mobile, custom framed artwork, stuffed animals, books, the EVERYTHING, is EXPECTED. It is the base level of survival. And anything less means that we are failing.
I mean, it is everywhere you look. The Pin-Perfect nursery, outfits, the OOTD for Baby Jane changes by the hour and you are excepted to keep up.
To add to the pressure, all of your friends seem to have it all together. That is all they share, all they celebrate. They have it, you don’t, and you are obviously FAILING.
And the overwhelm sinks in.
We start to believe that we shouldn’t share that part of our homes, that part of our journey. That it is shameful not to live up to the base measure of success.
And we buy into the lies that this is what it means to have a home. We start to all decorate the same, everything becomes whitewashed and “perfect” and yet our homes fall apart.
We become so obsessed with meeting this expectation that is plastered EVERYWHERE, that we forget that this is OUR HOME. That this space is supposed to reflect us, as a family. That it is supposed to be inviting not because of the way it adheres to North America’s standard of stylized, but because we have an open door policy, that all are welcome no matter if the bathroom is freshly bleached or if the dished from last nights dinner are still in the sink.
We forget that it is more important to live in a loved home that hasn’t sunk you into incredible debt just because you needed the newest and most popular coat of Benjamin Moore paint, than it is to live in one where everyone is afraid to sneeze lest it leave a booger unaddressed somewhere.
A home is about the finger prints on the walls that followed a special brownie treat, or the dirt that finds it ways through your living room because you yelled SNACK before reminding the kids to remove their footwear. A home is full of laughter and personal touches, imperfections and life, not because you are ever ready to take over the cover of New Home magazine, but because you LIVE here.
You LOVE here.
You laugh and share memories here.
You care more about the atmosphere of your home that radiates from family, than about if it meets the increasingly illusive standard of perfection plastered all over your phone.
As a mom who has been through four homes in 10 years (the last three we moved in and out of in the last six years) who has seriously struggled with the idea that I wasn’t any good at this home decor thing:
Get away from the constant demand to measure up.
Put down the phone, tuck away the home decor magazines and start to take in what you do have. Start to appreciate the roof over your head (even if it leaks), the floor beneath your feet (even if it creeks) and the family that fills the space you occupy in this season of life.
Stop comparing what you don’t have to what Pricilla Perfection has. Stop measuring your worth by her highlight reel, and start to embrace contentment.
Understand that there is no use in accumulating debt, in drowning in stress, in WORRYING about whether the Collingwood Grey is the perfect “IN” colour for 2019, and start creating your home. Start with what you HAVE right now, and make the most of it. Rearrange it if you like, purge it if you don’t need it, and be thankful for it because it’s yours.
Sister, we weren’t all cut from the same greige cloth. We weren’t meant to have cookie cutter homes and senses of style. We were made to reflect His image in all that we do. The same image that can create each snowflake unique, should be glorified in our homes.