Friday, February 27, 2015

Keeping Up Appearances - A Guest Post for the Mudroom

If you follow me on Facebook, you will know I am beyond thrilled to be part of a new collaborative blog called the Mudroom, started and curated by my good friend Tammy. Years ago she sat in my living room and shared some things her big heart and creative mind were thinking about and I told her she could go for it. Today I get to share my first of what will be monthly contributions to her new endeavor. I'm so excited.

I want to give you a little background. See this picture? It was taken by my talented friend Jennifer Upton. When I wrote this post I knew this had to be the photo used. It was taken at my house just days ago and I love the way she captured the steam from the cup. But can I be honest? There are some things that are really bothering me.

You see, it was taken on my kitchen counter. And my counter hadn't been wiped down that morning so I can see the unevenness in it. My kids coloring books are in the background along with a broken pencil. *I* never would have taken that picture because it wasn't a perfect background, but my friend knows how to see beauty in the everyday and imperfect and captured a shot which ultimately is as perfect as it gets. As I wrote about letting go of the self-imposed appearances, it was obvious this picture says exactly what I wanted to write about.

Grab a cup of coffee and read with me?

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Upton
When my husband and I sold our first home, I was excited. I had enough HGTV shows in me to be able to declutter and depersonalize my house, all while still making it feel warm and inviting. Our realtor was so impressed she took pictures to show future clients. The next time we put a house on the market and had to do the same I was prepared, or so I thought. Somehow, depersonalizing and staging your home when you are on a third floor walk-up in the city with three kids four and under is an entirely new thing.

We emptied the rooms from toys and left mostly books and puzzles. Gone were the photos and pictures brought home from preschool on the refrigerator and there was to be nothing on the kitchen counters. Furniture was rearranged just so and beds had to be made every morning, no matter what was going on, because you never know when you might get a showing. The idea of a showing was all motivating. I felt it was my job, as the stay-at-home parent, to make sure that at any moment our realtor could stop by with a potential buyer and we would be ready.

It took over a year for us to leave the condo and in that time I managed to succeed in keeping up appearances. Know what I learned? Keeping up appearances is exhausting.

Won't you come over to the Mudroom and read the rest?