I make jokes all the time about my inability to make my home cozy and clean, but I really do struggle with it. I'm cranky right now, and everything seems a little worse than it should (one reason for this might be that I just had to practically hire a forklift in order to clean up the toys in the dining room toy nook just so I could clean spaghetti sauce off of everything because Monkey dumped his entire full plate of it off the table with a dramatic shaking motion that resulted in pretty much everything we own being covered in red sauce. Yes, including my one clean T-shirt, which was white.)
But Seriously...my home is a wreck, and it is a very rare occasion when I actually let someone inside it. And I feel bad about that, 'cause I'd like to have a home that feels presentable, if not perfect. The house itself is so loveable; it's cute as a button. When we first bought it, I got to pick out all the colors I wanted and paint every room just so. It was beautiful. Then we brought in our stuff. Ugh. You've seen some of the furniture. Well, the rest is no better. And the good stuff we have, like the beautiful dining room set and matching antique buffet that my mother gave me, handed down from her great aunt? Well, my two children have managed to practically ruin those pieces. How can generations of children grow up with these heirlooms, and my sons turn them to crap in less than two years? I guess my kids are just talented that way.
I'm overwhelmed by the amount of home improvement that we really need to do but cannot afford. Just from my seat on this putridly patterned couch, I see: the fireplace insert that has been sitting beside the fireplace for over two years now because my husband can't figure out how to install it. It was a gift from my dad, and he has apologized for giving it to us, but we still don't really know what to do with this bulky, ugly, expensive end table. See, the damn thing doesn't fit into the fireplace without significant amounts of work on the firebox, and also tearing out the old hearth and completely replacing it. That costs much money. The cost of a professional installation (not counting the hearth replacement) is over a thousand dollars, which we do not have. OK, also from the couch here I can see two mis-matched end tables, one from my grandma's house and one from my husband's. Our TV sits on a table we got at Goodwill and repainted in the colors of our living room--actually kind of cute--but the stereo on top of it was given to us by a friend like twelve years ago and actually was made in the seventies. Obviously not gonna play my mp3's. The curtains in my living room window that faces the street consist of a string of prayer flags and an old green wallhanging from my college dorm room.
I'm struggling with all of this because it really does fit my life philosophy of minimal consumerism to live like this, but it doesn't look nice at all. It doesn't feel like a "grown-up" home somehow. A big part of my frustration is probably just the logistics of a small home and four people, with all their stuff. I frequently think, "Well, maybe if we had more shelves in here, or if I bought one of those hanging organizer thingies, maybe then it wouldn't be so cluttered all the time." And sometimes it works. And sometimes it's just more dusty shelves and junked-up organizers. Sigh. What a complain-fest this is.
Whether it was the cathartic act of just writing about my frustrations or the calming hormones from sitting here nursing Monkey to sleep, I'm feeling less and less antagonistic about my little home. Sure, we've established that I am no Martha Stewart, and also that raising two small hurricanes...er...children can result in a crapload of clutter that makes me fear the thought of a random "pop in" visit by just about anyone. The fireplace end table still just pisses me off. But the mismatched furniture? Well, what of it? I don't need to have a grown up home, I guess. My kids would just wreck it, anyway.