Written by contributor Emily Walker of Remodeling This Life.
For the last two weeks, my home was immaculate. When dishes got dirtied, they were immediately washed and put away. Laundry was folded and put away fresh and hot from the dryer.
There weren’t toys everywhere with only the three options of being picked up, tripped over, or stepped on; they were all in place at all times. There were no smudgy fingerprints to be wiped from walls and tables and the couch.
Every time I left my house and then returned, everything was just as I had left it. Clear counters, a coffee table I could set my coffee and feet on without having to shove 15 toys out of the way. Carpets that were still freshly vacuumed and dirt-free.
I will tell you the secret to the perfectly spotless, tidy living conditions which I lived in for two weeks…
I was home alone. No husband, no kids. Just me. It was quiet – too quiet. And lonely – too lonely. They went on a two week trip together to end the summer before school started and had the time of their lives while I stayed home and went to work and held down the fort at home.
For the past five days now since their return, my home has been chaos. Unpacked suitcases with clothes spilling out of them on bedroom floors, toys dragged out from the tidy playroom and spread all over the living room – perfect for tripping on. Clutter all over the coffee table and counters. Dirt on the rugs from summer feet running through. A blanket fort built across the living room.
My home was perfect when there was no one in it but me. It was boring and there was very little life being lived in it.
Two weeks of having my family gone made me appreciate the noise, the messes, the chaos and the lives being lived here so much more. I couldn’t wait for dirty feet to run through that door, for toys to get played with and left strewn about while snacks are had and messes in the kitchen are made.
Sometimes it takes absence to realize that we really love and need the things that often make us crazy. I gained a whole new perspective on family life in my home with my family gone.
I learned how much I would take messes and chaos over an empty house. How much I will miss these days when the kids are grown. I realized that I can have one or the other, not both. Or that to have both, I’d have to sacrifice far more than I am willing or able at this time in my life.
I learned that I will take the people and the perfection they bring to life over a “perfect” home that is defined as tidy, organized, quiet, and relaxing any day. My definition of perfect has changed to full of noise, laughter, dirt, clutter and love. I learned that I love my home – imperfect in one way is perfect in the ways that matter.
What is your idea of a perfect home?