Principle 10: I Aim for Cozy, Not Perfect
This is such an important principle to me. I know so many moms who really struggle and pressure themselves over what their homes look like. Yet, when I talk to people about their favorite childhood memories (or the childhood they wish they had), they always talk of times of family closeness, times when they felt safe and connected to their most important people. That’s how I define coziness.
If you search “cozy” on Pinterest, you’ll get beautiful pictures of blankets, warm socks, hot drinks, twinkle lights, and candles. Honestly, I love those things. But not all of us have the time, money, or aesthetic for that. It can also be too easy to put focus on the decorating aspect of coziness and forget who we are trying to create a cozy atmosphere for, our family and ourselves.
I was raised around a neighborhood of women who approached their decorating and housekeeping as though they were competing in an Olympic sport. I have a vivid memory of being a young teen and going to dinner at my older sister’s new fiance’s parents’ home for the first time. Since it was a special occasion, his mom led us into the living room, at which point my future brother-in-law’s brother said to him, ”Have you ever been allowed in here before? I’ve never been in here before!” “No way!” he answered, “I’ve gotten in trouble for just looking at it!” Then they both dissolved into laughter. I learned a lot at that moment about the difference between decor and actual coziness.
Coziness is about being present to each other, focusing on one another, making comfortable eye contact, avoiding distractions, and really listening to the other. Those moments can happen anywhere - working on a car engine, cooking dinner, folding laundry, as well as cuddled up in front of a fireplace, under a soft blanket, reading together. True coziness is about togetherness and feeling safe and connected. We aid that by creating an environment of respect, kindness, acceptance, and love. It’s when we feel those things that happy, cozy memories are made.
I know so many moms, sometimes myself included, that can fall into discouragement if our home is not immaculately clean or decorated to social media perfection. But when we allow our thoughts to run that way for too long, we are removing ourselves from relationship with our family, inhibiting the cozy connection that helps our family be close, resilient, and strong.
By all means, create a home that is aesthetically pleasing to you within your means, but don’t think that the work you do on creating that aesthetic will automatically create a cozy family life. Beautiful, cozy-looking spaces are only the staging. It’s the interactions that happen in those environments that really matter. Putting the effort into building or healing the relationships that exist within your walls will be what creates inviting and cozy moments and memories for all involved.