To flourish means to be thriving, successful. Everyone will have their own idea of what success looks like, what thriving at home would mean for them. But here’s the thing. If we all compare our homes against an ideal which isn’t appropriate, we’re always going to feel like a failure.
I follow a few wonderfully inspiring women on Instagram. Their houses are absolutely beautiful. As a good friend jokes with me, they’ll often say “What you can’t see is the mess just out of shot”, but then they never actually show the mess just out of shot. And I’ve seen so much of their house I don’t actually believe there is a mess just out of shot.
When I take a photo in my house, I can’t get a photo without the mess in shot. There’s just so much of it. I then feel bad that our place is so untidy. But…and here’s the important bit – I need to acknowledge the season of life I’m in.
I have children at home all day with me. Believe me, when I was still working, the days I was at work the house was blissful because none of us were there to mess it up. Dinner was the height of the mess we made. No toys were emptied out, no lunch or snack mess, no dirty nappies lying around. Because we weren’t there to make the mess. So if you’re at home all day and comparing your house to someone who is not at home all day, acknowledge that your home will naturally be more messy.
My children aren’t old enough to play in their bedrooms. These women on Instagram (actually, in fairness, not all of them, but most!) have kids at older primary school age. They play with toys in their rooms. They don’t empty an entire box of Duplo on the kitchen floor then pick up the tub of animals and add them in the mix. My kids do, because that’s the age and stage they’re at.
Maybe you’ve a newborn baby and you can’t even get food on the table at a set time each night. There’s no point in comparing yourself to families whose kids are old enough to sit down and watch TV for 20 minutes at dinner time.
Or maybe it's health problems, yours or a family members, that restrict what you'll realistically be able to do at home.
So to stay at home mums who feel like they’re not flourishing because their house is a bit of a tip, and quite frankly it feels like a colossal failure (after all, what do stay at home mums DO all day…!) be kind to yourself. And to those who work and feel like they don’t do enough crafty stuff, colouring in or even reading with your kids (actually, even stay at home mums feel this!) be kind to yourself too. Acknowledge the season of life you’re in and how a thriving and flourishing home might look in light of that.