There it sits. The shame of my household. The reason my hospitality has declined. My hospitality obstacle.
What once was a cozy rocking place for my baby sits shredded at the seams. The black leather chair we purchased for the arrival of our son, three years ago, now features tears in the arm and the seat. The holes enlarge every day. (I’m sure the enthusiastically picking fingers of my two and a half year old haven’t helped!)
I can’t help but look upon the chair in shame. My penny-pinching husband declined the suggestion to purchase a replacement. Because we would be penniless if it were up to my spending habits, I capitulate to his reasoning and wait patiently.
But there it sits.
The chair prevents me from hosting at my house. It prevents me from opening my home to anyone other than my closest friends and family. If someone does make a visit, I feel the need to explain about the chair immediately, as if the chair is not just an innocent victim of typical family wear and tear, but a representation of my status as a homemaker. I can’t even maintain a piece of furniture, so how could I maintain a comfortable living environment fit for my family?
Digging Into the Deeper Issue
The deeper issue lies in my insecurity. Just as I remain desperately anxious to appear put together physically in the outside, I want my house to appear flawless. Above scrutiny. I want to look good on the outside, because if I look good on the outside, nobody will notice my insecurities within.
This year I embark on a dangerous new journey – a new adventure few working moms have travelled before. Work at Home Mom. Though I am thrilled by this new challenge, it also causes me to look more deeply at my insecurities. Now I’m a homemaker, housekeeper, “domestic engineer.” As a work-away-from-home-mom, I could excuse all my poor cleaning habits on the fact that I don’t get enough time at home. Now that I will be home all day, what excuse will I have?
Not to mention, my future lies in staring at the chair of shame. All. Day. Long.
So much of my self-worth is wrapped up in appearances, and the more I peel away the layers, I find it popping up everywhere – from my household furniture, to my kitchen sink, to the way I dress my kids, to the way I wear my baby belly. Instead of being grateful for what I have, I wallow in wondering what others will think. Instead of focusing on God’s true purpose for my life, I wrap myself up in longing for Stuff to make me look good.
What do you think? Is this a struggle for you too? Do you have the equivalent of a “Chair of Shame” at your home?
Read more about not letting your home impact your hospitality in these related posts. “How to Practice Hospitality without Stressing over Your Home” or “How Cleaning Your House Like Crazy Connects to Your Body Image.”
Erin Kerry is wife to Richard and “mama” to Isabel and Roman. She works as an ambassador for Plexus Worldwide. She loves bingeing on Netflix with her husband, playing games with her kids, getting sucked into a good book, running races (slowly), discovering unique craft beers, and trying out new Mexican restaurants. Read Erin’s posts here.