My grandmother is a force to be reckoned with. Even at 80 she still runs circles around me. As a child she engraved on me “A woman’s beauty lasts only as long as her disposition stays sweet.” She is THE essential girl’s guide to modern manners, etiquette and grace within a home. Never mind the fact that she bottled her enterprise in the 40′s, it is still ever present in her home today. Polite with a capitol “P”, her dynasty built entirely on class, sophistication and a 1950′s Continental Mark II Lincoln, Grandma is the template of homemaker perfection, even Martha Stewart would deem her second to none.
Achieving such grace today with two working parents, kids, schedules and pets, may seem daunting, but it is attainable. All throughout my twenty’s I struggled to find balance between family, work and home. It felt like a constant battle that would never end and I was forced to choose one over the other. But it wasn’t necessarily that complicated. It was the expectations I put on myself and the perceived expectations of others. Now as I approach 40, I still lack the class and sophistication that Grandma encompasses, (not to mention a sweet ride) but I can honestly say I’ve got the grace part covered.
Learn to be OK with the ebbs and flows of life, it will never change. Some weeks will be harder than others, but if you have a routine in place, it will help systematize the order in your home. Don’t make it complicated, if you do you’ll never get started or worse– just be too hard on yourself. De-clutter every where you can. As humans we have an intimate connection with things. Get rid of what you don’t use and simplify your life. Why take the time to go through the trouble? Because the outer things in our lives reflect the inner things in our personal world. External order and harmony reflects internal order and harmony. In other words, grace.
Last year due to my divorce I was forced to auction off everything I own, including my car. It was both terrifying and liberating to have nothing but a suitcase and a cat. As I settle into my new life the purging of my goods taught me to be very mindful of what enters my new home. I only buy items that I absolutely love. Is my home perfect? No–far from it. In fact my twenty year old, OCD, neurotic self would be freaking out. But it is important to me that all my things uplift me, bring me immense joy, and hold my spirit. Learn to simplify and live with less. Curate rather than accumulate and decorate with intention. I may not be the template of homemaker perfection but according to Grandma, I’m undeniably perfect and so are you.