I want a house with a crowded table…


This post is sponsored by Flexsteel. As always, my thoughts here are my own.

A few months ago I watched my old, hand-me-down table and chairs leave in the back of someone’s truck. The table was far from perfect and the chairs were missing a lot of paint as well as the stability you might expect from a chair.

The next day I leveled up in adulting when my new, and I mean actual new not just new to us, Flexsteel dining table and chairs arrived. I was so proud to have something that wasn’t just new but also good quality.

That night we sat down to dinner at our new table and had a completely boring meal. It was a meal that I had cooked with the thought of not having something spill on my new table and chairs. Although Silas has long graduated sippy cups I gave him his milk in one, just because I was afraid of the what a spill might do to my perfect new furniture.

I wanted to take photos of my new table and share them on Instagram. But every time I snapped a picture, when I looked at it again all I could see was the clutter and the dirty window behind our new, beautiful table. There wasn’t a filter button that I could press that made it all look perfect.

Crowded Table Lyrics

Then the thought occurred to me that maybe it was weird that we don’t have place mats on our table. Don’t most people who have their lives together have place mats? Even if I did clean the windows and the clutter, would people know I don’t have my life together by the lack of place mats on my table? The next thing I knew I was googling place mats with matching table runners.

I pushed on to the next thought of what wasn’t Pinterest perfect in my home. Does the big window in my kitchen needed curtains, or maybe blinds? What did I need to do or buy to make our home look good enough to have people on Instagram not question my life choices. What did I need to do or buy for our home to feel good enough?

As I scrounged around the house looking for a tape measure so I could measure the window for curtains or blinds or whatever window treatment might make a simple photo of my new table and chairs the perfect photo that showed the perfect life, something clicked.

Flexsteel Table

I’ve never pretended to be perfect. I’ve never hidden the chaos or the crazy that is my life. So why was it all of a sudden so important for me to appear to others like I live a life with place mats and window treatments?

Instead of measuring for window treatments that day I sat down and thought about the exceptions I had for a piece of furniture. I wanted my chairs to look nice but I didn’t want to be the mom who freaked out every time someone spilled. The table is a little big for the space we have and we only need 4 chairs for our family but I ordered six, because I want friends to have a place to sit at our table, even if it means we have to crowd. One day when I am gone, I hope my boys argue about who gets mom’s table, not because the finish matches the paint in their kitchen, but because of the memories it holds. These seem like more reasonable expectations for something made out of hardwood than projecting the illusion of a perfect life to everyone who comes across my Instagram feed.

I have a beautiful new table. I’ve made a beautiful life. The table is perfect. My life is not. My kitchen doesn’t have to be perfect to deserve a new table and my life doesn’t have to be perfect to deserve anything… and neither does yours.

So if you’re imperfect like me, I invite you to come have a cup of coffee and sit at my beautiful new table. I’ll top your mug off with Rumchata and we can talk all about how hard it is give ourselves grace. We can tell each other who we stopped following on Instagram because they made us feel less than. We can swap stories of giving up a perfect photo for a crowded table. But before you sit down at my beautiful table, I should warn you that it’s probably sticky from last night’s dinner.

16 Comments on I want a house with a crowded table…

  1. Robin Zdroik
    December 8, 2019 at 9:50 am (1 month ago)

    Table is beautiful…put some memories on it and do NOT worry about what other people think….

  2. smdsmyl
    December 8, 2019 at 9:56 am (1 month ago)

    I love this so much. Your table is beautiful and I love the look with your tiled floors! I don’t have Instagram for the reasons you talk about here, but I too question my photos before sharing… There’s a counter on each side of my table that both tend to turn into catch all’s… Pots too large for the dishwasher drying, mail, recently used tools, diaper bag, kid’s art, etc. It just makes clutter in the back of the photo, but it’s ok. Our table was new when we bought our first home about 8 years ago and we tried to keep it nice. Now it has dings on the edge from the old garage door, dents on top from the kids tapping with the handle of their forks and spoons, and a spot in the varnish where a friend spilled nail polish remover… That’s just the character of life, we all age, but it’s still a nice table…

    • dairycarrie
      December 8, 2019 at 2:28 pm (1 month ago)

      Glad I’m not alone!

  3. Janet Quarles
    December 8, 2019 at 11:39 am (1 month ago)

    One thing I’ve found about me getting older is that I care less and less what people think about me. I haven’t worn make up in years and anymore, I rarely dress up. Same pretty much goes for my house. My house will never be on the cover of Southern Living. Right now there’s a box of bills from 2018 on the table that haven’t made their way to the basement along with two flashlights we used last night feeding hay and the sheep barn. Gloves and sock hats regularly adorn the surface as well as vaccines and medicines. Quite often things are just shoved aside to make a place for the plates and forks so hats off to you! I can see the surface of your table. Being true to what you are and being honest about it is probably one of the best gifts you can give to yourself. If someone out there wants perfect, let them look somewhere else. I’d rather have a home where if you come to visit and you still have your boots on, it’s ok to come in the back door and sit down. That’s a house that truly means what’s on the doormat. WELCOME.

    • dairycarrie
      December 8, 2019 at 2:23 pm (1 month ago)

      I think our table is the only flat surface that you can see in our house. And I’m getting more ok with that every day.

  4. Dor Koin
    December 8, 2019 at 11:56 am (1 month ago)

    Dear Daughter bought our old house when we downsized and an old table with 9 leaves went with it. I was thrilled to see EVERY leaf in it for Thanksgiving. This is what we remember!

    • dairycarrie
      December 8, 2019 at 2:21 pm (1 month ago)

      That’s so cool!

  5. Tiffany
    December 8, 2019 at 2:13 pm (1 month ago)

    I have my parents wooden round table. Right now it’s in storage because I dont have room for it. Love all the memories that comes with it.

    • dairycarrie
      December 8, 2019 at 2:21 pm (1 month ago)

      So glad you have their table!

  6. jojo
    December 8, 2019 at 3:21 pm (1 month ago)

    Every once in a while… i seem to ‘nest’… and do the same. Look around at my farm house – the one with petrified goat berries under the sofa ( i find every so often so old its petrified). Dog hairs embedded in the sofa, or the cobwebs in the corners. with NO window treatments. I’ve measured my windows dozens of times over the past 18 years here. lol. Then the moment passes, i put the measuring tape down and go feed… lol… And just so you know, when my mom died the ONLY thing i insisted on was the kitchen table that actually sits 12 and is too big for my house – is sitting in the garage!

    • dairycarrie
      December 8, 2019 at 10:14 pm (1 month ago)

      It may be in the garage, but you still have it and the memories that came with it.

  7. zetschka
    December 8, 2019 at 4:34 pm (1 month ago)

    Your husband looking at one child, the dog under the other’s high chair -> a perfect picture.

    • dairycarrie
      December 8, 2019 at 10:13 pm (1 month ago)

      If only Hubs and Silas weren’t in a battle of wills over eating breakfast!

  8. Jenn Zeller
    December 9, 2019 at 7:06 am (1 month ago)

    Love this so much! Life isn’t perfect, and frankly the Pinterest-perfect homes come from people with too much time on their hands, imo. My kitchen table almost always has something on it: bills, my laptop, vaccine, you name it. But it was built with love by Zach and his brother – out of old corral panels. And I love what that represents.

  9. Dave Fisher
    December 9, 2019 at 10:28 am (1 month ago)

    You and your family are awesome….old school country thoughts and values….. priceless

  10. Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids
    December 10, 2019 at 2:37 pm (1 month ago)

    Great post. Sounds like to me that your table is part of making your house a home for your family and friends. Enjoy the new table and try not to think too much about the first scratches…