Do Not Allow Nostalgia To Control Your Happiness at Home

It’s not your grandmother’s house anymore.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

When my husband asked me to marry him, my answer was not a simple yes or no. It was, “Yes, if you promise not to make me a housewife.” I was not joking.

I am not a housewife.

I hate when society tells me I have to do certain things the “right” way. That includes my house. I can not look at house tip posts on Instagram. I can not follow those sweet blogs about how to make your home look like it belongs in a magazine. All the house related things my mother, grandmothers and all the traditional housewives of the past few decades stressed about is gone from my life. I do not worry about the appearance of my home for visitors. Who remembers hearing this, “Don’t use that, it is for company.” I can promise you, my children do not hear that come out of my mouth.

As I remember back on all the homes I have lived in as a child. They all blend to look the same in my memory. The houses all had that living room we rarely used. It was saved for when company came to visit. Each room had an assigned use you ate in the dining room, cooked and food prepped in the kitchen, and only slept in your bedroom. You had better not wrinkle up your bedspread during the day. There were collections of things on shelves and in curio cabinets just to look at that had to be dusted. Every side table had the required lamp. On the floor in front of every sofa was a rug and a coffee table. On every dining room table were placements and a bowl of fruit in the center. Often the fruit was plastic or wax. The living areas were filled with colonial-style molding, maple furniture, Americana wallpaper, and decore. Colors of draperies, carpet, paint, and other decore matched. Each room its own style.

I wasn’t always this freestyling with my homemaking. I tried to make my momma proud.

When I was a young adult, a Miss Suzy homemaker if you will, I did my best to replicate the perfect home just like mom and grandma.

Yeah, that didn’t work out so well.

Sure, I sometimes miss the orderly environment my mother and grandmothers almost killed themselves to keep up. I work full time as a librarian and write in between. I do not have time to spend four hours a day cleaning, organizing, and doing domestic things.

I am not going to put my self through all that to keep up appearances. Our house is clean enough and comfy. We use our home as a tool for living not as a display space for home decore. It is an extremely casual living concept of using all rooms for communal need and not as traditional separations of space by designed use. The exception is, of course, the bathrooms.

The living room doesn’t have a set of matching furniture. No crystal lamps or strategically placed nick-knacks. There is some art hanging on the walls and my Doctor Who collection is on a shelf. The other walls are covered with shelves full of books. Some bookcases were bought in a store and others my husband made. Nothing matches in wood grain or stain. I don’t worry about my children putting their feet on the sofa since it cost less than $200 at a discount store. I don’t have to worry about using coasters and water rings on a fancy coffee table since my husband made a trunk out of plywood as a flat surface and storage all in one. We have one television for all of us. No, there are no televisions in the bedrooms. Actually, there are no electronics in the bedrooms except for one Alexa Dot on my and my husband’s bedside table.

In our kitchen, we have all the normal things, food, and dishes. No bone china saved for holidays or special occasions. We also have a bench that doubled as a fort until the littles outgrew the space under it sitting at a breakfast bar. The counter holds all sorts of cookbooks, art supplies, and other things. The kitchen floor is also used as a dance floor and a small table is used as a maker space.

We do not have a dining room. We have a room that was once a garage now dubbed by my husband as an Omni Room. The room has a large table and chairs all around. We do eat meals there. We also sit around the box in the front room for dinner and a movie. The Omni room also has wall to wall shelves holding books, games, art supplies, and other various items. It is a game room, hobby room, workroom, and a party room. For now, it is also a classroom.

In our house, everyone has a space for their things and a bed, not a bedroom to themselves. Bedrooms are shared spaces too. Yes, even our master bedroom. Children can use it as a safe haven as long as they knock and ask to enter if the door is closed. There are blankets of every size and color. Piles of pillows in every bedroom too. The sheets and pillowcases don’t match or coordinate. Frankly, who cares?

As a result of our laid back home life, I am less stressed about what happens in the rooms. My children know they can relax without worry anywhere in the house. The only requirement, clean up after yourself, you are mindful of others in a shared space, and you respect other’s personal property.

Listen, Ladies, do not let your sentimental love for nostalgia control your happiness. Do not let other women who appear to be perfect housekeepers on Instagram shame you into living in a show palace and not a home. If you can’t enjoy your family’s company in a space because you are worrying that something is getting dirty or might get broken, something is wrong with that room.

Think about the space that you live in and how you can make it your own. Get rid of the tradition in favor of function. Make your spaces comfy for you and your family. It can still be pretty if you need it to be and it can certainly be clean. Clutter is optional.

If the company who visits doesn’t like it you can kindly ask them to leave through the same door they walked through. Bless their hearts.

~Lori O’Gara

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