A good friend was due to visit me and my baby and whilst I couldn't wait to spend time with her and her baby, it was stressing me out!
I didn't need to impress her but I wanted our home to be clean before she arrived. But this would have taken hours and it was bedtime. I kept running over in my mind as to how I could quickly remove the stains off the rug and run a hoover over the house before the morning arrived but sleep won the day (and we had run out of hoover bags!)
I went to bed, woke up, fed baby, had shower, helped older one to get ready, exhorted (ok, nagged) her to tidy up some of her bits and meanwhile the hoover stayed in the cupboard and the stains remained on the sofa and the carpet and the rug. I started to rehearse my speech which included the one word that I find myself saying a lot... that one little teeny tiny yet ever-so-loaded word that I hear myself and many other women say every day.
I could hear my thoughts clearly... sorry about the mess... ah yes, sorry about the stains... sorry about the piles of books, sorry that the rubbish is still in the kitchen as is the recycling, sorry that the hallway has some stuff in it and suitcases that we still haven't unpacked from arriving home from living in China six months ago, sorry, sorry sorry!
Wow! I was practically starting to hyperventilate! Right! I told myself there and then that for once, just for once (and perhaps this could be the start of a beautiful new habit) that I would not say sorry at all when my friend came round. I would not apologise for the stains, for the paper and piles of stuff, for the rubbish, for anything. My mind was already starting to battle this and I wanted to say sorry. I don't know why. It is something I have been accustomed to doing when anyone enters our home.
It was five minutes before my friend arrived. No time for hoovering, (feeding baby again). No time to sort anything. No time to quickly go upstairs and fold three laundry loads of washing (just in case they wanted to go up into our bedroom!) No time! This was it! I was about to have a friend over and not say sorry!
Do you know what I am talking about here? Can you go through a whole day without apologising or is it really just me? Of course when we do do something wrong, that warrants a 'sorry'! But how about just for existing? Hmmm...!
As soon as my friend arrived, the experiment started. I had to go out to meet her without fastening my bra. I wanted to apologise for this for some reason but kept my lips shut. Really... it was tough! No kidding! She was 15 minutes late (I didn't care) and she said sorry for this and also sorry about her trousers (I am not sure why as they looked really cool to me).
I suppressed the extreme urge to apologise for living in a gated community. But rules are rules! I turned it round with a story... 'I love living here but I do find it frustrating that we have to put in a code to get in...'. What I really wanted to say was... you guessed it!
We walked into the house and again, it was all I could do to not say 'sorry about the mess!' This friend has three beautiful children... I know she does not care but I still wanted to say it. I refrained. She complimented our home... how lovely, how warm, how sweet... (you haven't seen the stains yet!) We ventured past the kitchen (sorry about the rubbish) and into the lounge. More exclamations from my beautiful friend. I tried to see the room from her perspective. Was it really that bad? Not one single mention of piles or stains!
We chatted nineteen to the dozen for an hour straight. She said 'sorry' for various things along the way, each time me giggling to myself and also thinking that if I wasn't conducting this experiment, that I would have also said sorry a few hundred times by now.
We had a great time. She brought gifts. She said sorry about the gifts. I was so happy for the gifts (but am truly sorry that I ate them all and didn't save any for my family!)
Then... she put baby on the rug. I eyed the stains. Would she notice? Would she give two hoots? I knew she wouldn't but I really wanted to apologise to validate that I knew what she possibly knew. Her baby vomited over the carpet. "Sorry!" she exclaimed.
She left and I was sooo happy to have spent time with her. I love her to bits!
Next time I catch myself saying sorry (sorry I am overweight, sorry I have a milk stain on my top, sorry I am not wearing make-up today, sorry my carpet has bits on it, sorry my car has rubbish everywhere, sorry that I have a spot on my chin, sorry that I am using this wipe to clean my cup when you just saw me mop up my baby's vomit with it, sorry I smell of garlic today, sorry that I am feeding my baby out of a pouch and not home-cooked food, sorry that you just saw a quick flash of my breast when I was trying to feed discreetly, sorry that I am eating this chocolate when I am on a diet....) I will just give myself a hug and make a cuppa instead!
Posted originally on www.mamababado.com