When I first began this journey, I wondered how it could be possible that the two could ever meet. I had determined I would have to choose one or the other. Either I could send my kids off to school so I could keep a clean home or I could homeschool in a never ending messy disaster. When I would ask veteran homeschool moms how to keep a clean home while homeschooling, they would smile and say, “you don’t.” Not reassuring. It just pushed me further and further away from the thought of ever having company over. The very thought of inviting a fellow homeschooling family over for fellowship set me into a frenzy, so I wouldn’t do it. If by some fluke I did find time to deep clean my home, I would excitedly call a friend and invite them over then. This was extremely rare.
How sad. This was not the type of person I had ever dreamed of becoming. I wanted to be welcoming. I wanted my doors to be wide open for anyone who needed a listening ear or a quick break from the mundane. So, I had to get over myself. I had to face the reality that a perfectly spotless house is not necessary to be a good friend. I do not need to have every nook and cranny scrubbed before I open my doors. I started to be okay with this. I would simply do my best and hope my company would ignore the rest! And honestly, they do. When company comes they are there to see you, not your floors or your windows. Now that I have come to grips with this reality, it is so much easier to spot clean before company comes. Instead of getting overwhelmed that the bathtub isn’t scrubbed, I will focus on the rooms that I know we will be in and have the kids help me get them picked up and cleaned the best that we can.
Making sure the kids stay up on their daily chores also helps make the visits of unexpected guests a pleasant experience rather than a stressful one. Again, this doesn’t mean your house is as perfect as you might like it to be but as your kids get older and more independent, you’ll have more time to devote to those cleaning projects that you’ve been meaning to get to!
What do I do when company has arrived? Well, to be honest, I try to make it as simple as possible. I love to cook but I generally don’t want to be in the kitchen the whole time guests are visiting. I will usually prep something easy ahead of time so I can spend time with my company. The big thing to remember is, more people equals more dishes! So, I keep paper products and plastic cups on hand for these occasions. This saves piles of time. Even with a dishwasher it’s nice to not have several loads to worry about.
Another key is to limit which rooms the kids are allowed to play in. If you have little ones and your guests do too then there is the potential for a disaster as far as clean up goes. I usually try to limit which toys are allowed to be played with (not the ones with a million little pieces!) and where they are allowed to play with them. Also, my kids know that whatever toys are played with will be their responsibility to clean up. Not all parents ask their kids to help clean up and some kids are just too young. My kids have learned not to get out their huge Lego collection if they know it might be dumped out and spilled by a toddler. They will usually find something to do outdoors in this case!
Don’t be afraid to set aside a day once in awhile to bless others and invite them into your home. Their home isn’t perfect so don’t fret that yours isn’t either! You don’t have to enjoy this season alone, connect with others and don’t be afraid to reach out!