This evening I vacuumed my living room for the first time in about two weeks. I did it partly because the clutter on the floor was bothering me, and partly because my visiting teachers were supposed to come (they ended up cancelling due to illness). As I was vacuuming, I thought about the fact that they would probably come in and tell me that my home looks nice, and that I would probably be embarrassed and deflect the complement. This got me thinking about the fact that I (and other women I know) tend to have a conflicted relationship with keeping nice homes. On the one hand, you don't want to be terribly messy, but on the other hand there seems to be something wrong in taking too much time to have your home look nice. I realized tonight that I shouldn't feel embarrassed if people realize that I took time to clean for them. They are my guests. On my mission I visited with many people from many different countries in their homes. Most other cultures have fairly elaborate protocol for entertaining guests, even visiting teachers or family. Yet in America I think we often try hard to be casual, to make guests feel like they aren't a big deal. It would be weird to pull out a nice tea set and appetizers for my visiting teachers, and yet for many people around the world this would be standard. Even if someone drops by they still scurry around to wear something nice, get them some special slippers, and offer snacks. I realized tonight that I like making people feel comfortable in my home and that I won't be embarrassed if they realize that I've made an effort to welcome them. And if they drop by unexpectedly I won't be embarrassed either.


Kristeee said…
I think it varies from region to region in the States - in the Northeast, for example, they're pretty formal about things still. I think it's fun. I like to have the excuse to clean up my house, bring out the china and be a little extra fancy. My dad's wife exudes the Pennsylvania country club type personality - before she'd let me open up my wedding china she made me promise that I'd use it every time we had company for dinner, even with small children. And I do - and I love it.

I'm definitely a little more uptight about having things right before company comes over, though - I don't even like to have a babysitter come if the parts of the house she'll see are messy. Drives the husband a little crazy sometimes.

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