Good families don’t just happen. They are made with awareness and action. As a parent, I encourage you to write family goals, so you can lead your family to a happy, healthy and wealthy lifestyle. I didn’t grow up in an open home, and I decided to change that, so I set some goal.
In this post, I want to share one of my family goals, which I wrote to replace a behavior form my parents’ home I didn’t like at all – closed doors.
My mom was always preoccupied with what other people thought about her. I never blamed her for it. Well, that’s not true. When I was very young, I even hated her for it. It was exhausting.
Anyway, when I was 16 years old, I realized that this was how she had grown up. What other people think about her was her reason for living. She dedicated much of her life to please people whose opinion mattered to her. This took over her life and, as her children, also ruled our lives.
One thing that bothered her greatly was having a clean house. The problem was not that she wanted the house to be clean, but that she panicked whenever we had guests.
Before guests came, rather than arranging the house to fit the guests, she would clean the windows, the screens and the shower, even though our guests never saw them. We were used to it and that’s why we didn’t host many events.
Even when we had friends over, she told us we should be ashamed to host them in our rooms (which were tidy and only God knows what she was talking about).
It was so horrible, that when someone knocked on the door, she would panic, start moving around like a headless chicken and asked us to do the same. She did it every hour of the day.
I hated it!!!
I wanted to have guests
At one stage of designing my family life, I realized I didn’t host people often and that sometimes, I felt the same panic. I didn’t like having these thoughts. What bothered me most was that my own children, who have always been friendly, would feel the same as I did and avoid inviting friends over.
For years, we lived in apartment complexes with swimming pools, so we had a pool party every 2-3 months. It was easy. Everyone brought a dish to share and we spent hours in the swimming pool. This was part of our life for about 8 years.
When we came to Australia, we realized that too many people did not invite anyone to their home and I wrote a series of goals to help me get over that behavior.
I asked myself, “Ronit, what do you want?” and the answer was clear: “I want to have an open house, to be happy when people come in and to not be afraid of what they will say about my shower, windows, kitchen counter or stove. I want everyone to feel welcome. I want to keep my house clean enough for me, not to please my guests, and I want to host people often”.
So, I wrote several goals to make it happen.
Opening the front door
The first goal, which was the most important and helped me greatly, was to leave the entrance door to the house open all day.
Wow, that was a challenge!
We have made the decision to get up in the morning, open the door, (we have a screen door as well) and leave it open until we go to sleep. Since we work from home and at least one of us is here most of the time, the only issue we had to overcome was the emotional challenge of feeling exposed.
The first week was hard, the second week was easier, and the third week was easy.
Having big parties
The second goal was to arrange get-togethers at our house often. We have a big balcony and we can easily host 60 to 70 people. We’ve even had one event with 120 people and both the house and the balcony were full of guests. Now, we have another extension to our balcony and we can easily host 120 people.
So, we decided to celebrate some of the holidays at our place, as well as our birthdays, and some years, we also have “no reason” parties, like a dessert party or a breakfast party. Whenever there’s a need to host a community meeting, I volunteered our house every opportunity I have.
When our son arranges a rehearsal for his band, we suggest he invite them over. Our house is always open. At some point, we had people coming over every 2-3 weeks and a big party every month or two.
At first, it was a challenge to host so many people, but it turned out great.
When we hosted parties for our kids, the other kids’ parents said, “Wow, you are brave to host 24 kids in your house. We would never do it”. The more I heard this, the braver I felt and the more I knew fear of hosting was unreasonable, because the kids were actually respectful, relaxed and fun.
With the big events, we asked everyone to bring a plate of food, drinks and desert to share, while I took care of disposable dishes. It was very easy. More often than not, people stay to help us clean up and even if they don’t, our wonderful children help, and within an hour, and sometimes less, the house is spotless again.
Cleaning after the guests leave
The third goal was to change my cleaning routine. I clean the floor after the guests leave, not before they come. This was what I had in mind. If I clean it before they come, I clean it for them and, having 50 people here, it’s going to be dirty again by the time they leave, so I’ll have to clean it again.
If I want to live in a clean house, I clean the floor after they leave. Then, I clean it for me, because I’m going to live with that floor most of the time.
I had to get over the desire to clean the floor before they come once. I had such a great feeling that it was easy to do it the following event.
I know some people wonder about hosting. Does it mean we do not prepare for my guests? No! It doesn’t mean that. We do!
We clear the dishwasher because it will be full by the end of the evening. We make sure the toilet has enough toilet paper. We move the table to be ready for the food. We prepare food. We clear the dining area, to make room for people’s bags and coats. We move our personal things away from where people will hang around. We put candles and make people feel welcome.
We just not clean the floor for the guests. We clean if for us.
This was my quest to change what happened in my parents’ home to make my own family more relaxed, friendly and welcoming to guests.
Share with us yours!
Happy house opening,