Today was a busy day - we ended up visiting two different families and we were out of the house from about 10.30 am to 5.30 pm.
The first family we visited have 3 children, 1 cat and 5 kittens, 2 dogs, 2 chickens, 1 guinea pig and 3 goldfish. They live in a village in a converted barn with a very rustic and tumbled-down sort of garden. It is noisy, a bit smelly, and full of every sort of interesting thing you could imagine for a child.
The second family we visited have 3 children and 1 cat (that was in hiding the entire time we were there). They live in a town, in a house that's probably no more than 10 or 15 years old, and their garden is neat and tidy with a trampoline, slide and swingset. They have a 3 televisions and plenty of toys and books and lots of amusements for children.
It is interesting to me to experience such a stark contrast in the way people live in a single day. I wouldn't say that one family is doing things "better" than the other, but they are doing it very differently, to say the least!
I personally enjoy visiting someone's house that is on the messy side of the scale. Number one, it makes me feel more comfortable about the mess that's waiting for me at my own home. Secondly, I feel like my disdain of housework must be more universal than I first imagined, and so can confidently claim that the kids are being raised in a normal household. Normal-ish, at least.
But I like visiting very tidy houses, too. I'm always taking mental notes like "Oh, I like that hand soap," and, "I wonder where she got those wicker baskets," or simply, "How on earth does she keep her house so clean?!" I'm always impressed, and have to wonder what people who live in such neat homes would think of my house. Would they feel comfortable? Would they be silently judging? Or do they think "Whew, my house usually looks like this, too, it's just that most people don't see it because I tidy up before they arrive!"
I think it might be that, for the majority of us. I always clean the house before I have guests, and if I ever get surprised, I can't help but scurry around and straighten up while they are sitting there wanting to have a conversation with me instead. It's silly, really.
Personally, I don't think I'll ever overcome my hoarding tendencies to the point of reaching a completely uncluttered and permanently tidy existence. I was recently unpacking a few boxes of books onto a shelf in the garage, and I just can't get rid of them. I probably won't need them or read them at any point in the near future, but they are BOOKS. They are filled with stories or facts; they have in intrinsic value that I can't quite put my finger on. I am surrounded by books in ever room of the house, sitting on shelves, in plastic boxes, on the floor, on window sills, at the back of the toilet, under pillows, everywhere.
I hope that when someone comes to visit my house, they get the impression of books everywhere. I think that would be a fantastic way to sum up my priorities in life.