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.
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.
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.