Stressing out before the guests arrive
Today I had a visitors over for afternoon tea. Looking back, I managed to prepare for their arrival in a peaceful state of mind. This is new for me.
In the past, I have swept through the house like a mini tornado, frantically tidying and stressing my partner out, ‘Could you quickly empty the bin please? I’ll mop the floors over here while you do that. Oh and please don’t forget those dishes on your way!’ Always frenetic.
So what’s changed? For starters, I am the mother of a 14 month old and I’ve accepted that in order to foster her curiosity and exploration, I need to be okay with her pulling things out over here and leaving them over there.
Moreover, I now have a mental list of negotiable and non-negotiable chores that need to be done before guests come over. If the non-negotiables get done, I’ll be alright.
Non-negotiables (do these first)
Clean toilet and bathroom. An unclean bathroom to clean yourself in is a bit of an oxymoron.
Sweep/Dustmop/Vacuum floors. Babies crawl and taste what they find.
Wipe down dining table. No one wants to eat off a grotty table.
Reset cushions on daybed and chairs. This gives me the biggest and quickest bang for my buck in getting the room tidy.
Everything else. I’ll get around to other jobs around the house only when I’ve done the above. If not, they can wait.
I am so easy-going when it comes to my friends. They’ll apologise for a part of their lounge or kitchen being a great big mess. And I’ll say, “Please don’t apologise! I don’t care. I’m happy to see you!” And I mean it.
Yet, I have expected my own house to look perfect in the past.
I’m now a lot more realistic and compassionate towards myself. In my experience, trying to get the house perfectly spotless usually interferes with being a present and mindful host.