Hospitality can be a word that invokes fear. We feel pressured to “show hospitality” and to be Martha Stewart or our favorite curated Instagram account. Then we look around at our own home and our own life and feel that we are not good enough, perfect enough, tidy enough, extroverted enough, not enough, not enough…
I often write about and rant about the way social media can be harmful in that instead of inspiring women, it pushes them to attain perfection. We are not good enough unless we have that Pinterest perfect home and family. So until we accomplish this, we cannot let anyone see.
About a month ago, a dear friend showed me that hospitality is about an open heart. She invited me over for a journaling date. She had a simple tray with plastic cups and iced tea. She had set up some stickers and pens on another tray. That was it. Her house was in disarray because she has three children. Her youngest was in and out asking for various things…”interrupting” our conversation. But I felt incredibly welcome and loved and cared for. This opened my eyes to my own mistaken view of hospitality.
I’ve long believed that my home doesn’t have to perfect. But what I wasn’t seeing is that the simplest gestures go a long way. I am a single mom and only see my kids on certain days. I was not even showing hospitality to them. They ate dinner on the couch. We have college students who hang out with us. They bring their own dinners or root around in my fridge.
I set up a cheap tray and plastic cups and bowls on my table. When the kids come from school, they can pour some water and put their snacks in a bowl (instead of a ziplock bag). They noticed. “What is this mommy?” I told them this is just a small way to make their after school time a bit more sweet and fun.
When they come at dinner time, we sit at the table now and eat family style. This may sound so easy. In my situation though (small apartment, part time kids) it was a conscious effort. There are other moms out there like me, and this is my encouragement that you can start as small as your own little family. You can start as small as just a warm cup of coffee for your friend who comes over.
Leave your dirty dishes in the sink. Move the toys off the couch or table. That is all you have to do. Don’t wait for the right home, right level of cleanliness, right amount of money and beautiful decorations. Your life will be richer for these small actions to care for yourself, your family, and your friends. Don’t become trapped in the prison of perfection. You are more than enough!!