People Over Pride


People over Pride Whate Really Matters at ASlobComesClean pin 2

Last year (less than a month ago), I predicted I’d have my Christmas decor down on January 1st.

January 1st came and went.

So many of you were gracious and assured me that NOT taking it down was actually good and wonderful and much more actual-Christmas-honoring since January 6th is the true end of Christmas. (12 Days of Christmas, epiphany, etc.)

But January 6th came and went.

January 6th was a Friday. Who spends Friday night taking down Christmas stuff? Not me! That’s a weekend kind of job.

Then the weekend after January 6th came and went.

And that was when I started to feel bad. I felt the strange, pulling-on-my-soul guilt that accompanies missing a self-imposed deadline and knowing from experience how long things can go ignored in this house if I’m not careful.

Christmas Tree People Over Pride at

So all week long, in the week AFTER January 6th, seeing the Christmas tree or drinking from a Christmas mug nagged at me.

I kept thinking, we’ll do it next weekend.

Then “the weekend” started filling up. And not just filling with activities in general, but activities that needed to happen at my house.

Like, a Girl Scout meeting.

I have flaked so hard as a Girl Scout leader this year. Partly, I blame the book launch for intensifying my TPAD. Mostly, though, I blame the fact that our girls are now super-mature fifth graders involved in all sorts of stuff. They have, between the seven of them, some sort of activity every day after school. As I stressed over when to meet, we didn’t meet.

But I was determined to get going in 2017.

I put out an email to the moms and asked if we could do Saturday morning. The very next Saturday morning.

Everyone was in. Brunch and a craft time. Yay!

But oops. My Christmas decorations were still up, and there was no space in my week to take them down. Especially since one of the days was unexpectedly deleted from my control by the need to take my father-in-law to the doctor.

What went through my head as I realized we were going to meet in my still-decorated-for-Christmas-in-mid-January house?

Several of the Girl Scout Mamas bought my book.

At least one of them actually read it.

I took a deep breath and reminded myself that people matter. Not my pride. Or perfection.


Having 7 girls in my home to giggle and play and learn has absolutely nothing to do with impressing anyone.

And then I had another opportunity to focus on people over pride.

The Cowboys were in the playoffs.

We normally lead a group of high-schoolers on Sunday nights at our church, but the playoff game was going to be on during the time we meet.

So we hosted them here.

In my Christmas-ey home.

In mid-January.

They were teenagers (who seem to be like me in their lack-of-noticing abilities), but they can’t drive. So they have parents who pick them up.

Again (deep breath), people matter.

Dumb things like still having Christmas decorations up on January 15th don’t.

But, on that day, it was more than just a tree in the corner of the living room. It was also dishes in the sink.

sink full of dirty dishes but people matter more than my pride at

LOTS of dishes in the sink.

Right. That was my sink when the teenagers came over. I’d had it all nice and clear for the Girl Scouts, but in the midst of our G.S. meeting/baby-shower-more-than-an-hour-away/basketball game Saturday, we never ran the dishwasher. The rhythm got completely off and I was left with all THAT after filling the dishwasher before the teenagers arrived.

Again, I reminded myself: people matter.

More than dishes.

Allow me to get a little melodramatic/completely-honest-about-what’s-going-through-my-head.

Opening my front door meant opening myself up to be judged.

Letting people inside was handing them information they could use against me.

I knew these people. They’re nice people. But there’s a very real icky feeling that comes with the risk of exposing myself to criticism. Even unspoken criticism.

Avoiding potential criticism would have been as easy as not letting anyone come inside my home.

But people matter. More than my pride.

Having people in my home who might judge me is only going to hurt me.

But not hosting 7 girls and their mamas in my home (because I’m protecting my pride) would hurt them.

Not opening my front door would mean ignoring the very real responsibility I feel to nurture the relationships between those girls as they grow toward their teenage years.

And not providing a place for a bunch of teenagers to hang out while watching their favorite team lose in the last thirty seconds? That might protect the image of myself that I’d love to project to the world, but it hurts them.

It would hurt my relationship with people if I made it uncomfortably obvious that I cared more about things they don’t care about at all than I care about them.

P.S. I did get Christmas decor put away on Monday, the 16th. It could have been (and sometimes has been) so much worse, y’all.


People over Pride People matter more than dirty dishes at


--Nony get-how-to-manage-your-home-without-losing-your-mind-wherever-books-are-sold


  1. 1

    I so love this post!!!!!! I have sometimes not wanted to host things for the same reason 🙂 I just got done reading your book this morning & enjoyed it alot. I am different in the fact that I can keep the dishes done & the house picked up (the visual part) but the rest is where I struggle w/ my slobbness (word not sure). So guess what I will work on the rest of the house in small increments. Thanks

  2. 2

    I think this may be my new mantra– people matter more than pride– I stopped having adults over years ago due to the general messiness of my house— kids are fine!!! I need to find a way to let adults back in.

    • 3

      God bless you and thank you for sharing…
      I hear people say that most people do not have others over to their respective home as often as in times past… I remember so many people in our home when I was a child… My husband would be the first to tell you that I am usually a nervous wreck when we have people over for dinner. I have to let things go and I guess this is the year!!

  3. 4
    Christina says:

    I haven’t let ANYONE in my house for over 10 years because I’m afraid of judgement.after reading your book I was finally able to do the two week company is coming routine and nervously opened my door to visiting relatives. ( They stayed in a hotel, not with us) but the feeling of being ” sort-of-okay” with people coming was nice.

    Now my house is back to an embarrassing eyesore and I’ve got to get moving. I have a son who’s been diagnosed with autism and missed a lot of school. We are having full time ABA help and a tutor come but I’m less worried this time because I did it before.
    Thanks Dayna!!!
    Ps My Christmas tree is still up! lol I’m Russian Orthodox so our Christmas is on Jan 7th but it’s Jan 23rd!

  4. 6

    A great reminder for me next time I’m hesitant to host a last minute play date.

  5. 7

    God bless you and I just have to say I feel like I should be trying to start some type of fellowship group for women with a focus on outreach (our church is small). The main reason I am stalling is some of the things you mention in this post. I do not want to be judged for what I have or do not have.. Our current home is not as elaborate/historical character, etc., as our past home and I still miss that home I am ashamed to say.. However, the purpose of opening our homes is not to impress but to welcome, encourage and make memories! I pray that God gives me the strength to forge ahead…. Anyway, your post was like a small little wake-up lightening bolt, ha…. Take care—

    • 8

      I love hearing this, Joann! I KNOW how hard it is, but I’ve never regretted letting people in. And the more regularly I let people in, the neater my home stays.

  6. 9
    Kathy Stallings says:

    Thank you for making my day! I am pleased to report that Christmas is in the attic at our house as of yesterday morning 1/22. Got everything boxed up and taken down last weekend. Hauled the tree out and wrestled with the tree stand screws on 2 different days. Almost, threw the stand out with the tree but was determined to get it off my front porch (where I took it to wrestle). Put it out for the garbage on Friday and husband asked me if I recycled it. I said “Yes, of course, the Christmas Tree recycling truck was nice enough to stop right in front of our house and take care of it.” I would have preferred we take it down in time to haul away to the Christmas tree mulching place, but maybe next year. Got it done.

  7. 11

    So, we hosted our daughter’s birthday party on January 15. We got our Christmas stuff put away on the 14th. Or so I thought. I looked up during her party and noticed that our Christmas stockings were still hanging up.

  8. 12

    Thank you. I needed this today. Not about my house, although I’m sure it’s applied to that before too. But about my weight. I lost a lot and kept it off for 4 years. Now I’m fat again and avoiding everyone who either saw me lose it or met me after I did. And in doing that I’m avoiding social occasions important to people I love. I’m going to try to suck it up. Not to mention that fear of criticism, even unspoken, is making me anxious which makes me eat. People are more important than my pride and protecting my image hurts those I love.

  9. 13

    I love you!

    • 14

      This is exactly what I wanted to say, but thought it wouldn’t make sense. Dana, I love you! The true meaning of grace and kindness is keeping those words (people over pride) always in your mind. Our Bible class lesson this Sunday was about pride, so your post hit me even harder. And your blog always is about so much more than a cleaner house.
      I’m scheduled to have bariatric surgery next Monday. The only people who know about it are my loving, wonderful husband, our grown son, and my sister. I haven’t told anyone else because of pride. There are a lot of people in my family (both earthly and church family) who will be very hurt when they find out I didn’t tell them about a major surgery coming up. I THINK you’ve inspired me to get over my pride, be a big girl (ha!) and tell them about it. People over pride!

  10. 15

    Dana, you don’t know how it thrills me to know that even tho you have a real book, that I held in my hand when I read it!!, published about how to manage your house, you still struggle with the same things I do.
    Thank you for staying real! Even after all these years of working on your house! Please never change!!

  11. 16

    Very good reminder, and yet it is so hard. I got my tree down last Saturday (Jan 21)… but before it came down my son brought a friend over that hasnt been over in 2 years. I had the house “ok” but still quite embarrassing plus the tree. I could tell even though he was a teenager, he kept looking and taking a second look like he couldnt believe it. They left, and I spent 3 1/2 hours in a cleaning frenzy to clean enough so I didnt feel like I was dying inside. It was still bad but there was a clean bathroom and trash everywhere was picked up and dishes clean and I cleaned up mold that had been growing too….all things I had been meaning to get to, but having the motivation helped. When they came back it was such a better feeling although still far from perfectly clean. I think mine was bad enough to actually give a teenager culture shock. Maybe just keeping the house reasonable would be a goal and then my pride wouldnt matter? Or should i have just let it be?…and not done anything? Not sure, but this is a really good reminder that people are more important every time.

  12. 17
    Lisa Patrick says:

    People do matter more. My mother’s house was always warm and inviting when I was growing up. She made everyone feel so welcome; I never heard mention of the Christmas tree and creche still up after January 7th (Orthodox Christmas. My Godfather was Serbian.) People realized that Christmas was special to us. Those who were Orthodox appreciated that. We helped decorate and take down the tree, and we helped keep the house clean (even after we got a housekeeper.)

  13. 18
    Christine says:

    As women, wives, and mothers, we need to be able to differentiate between entertaining and hospitality. When we are in the entertaining mindset, it all needs to be perfect- food, house, decor- and that holds us back, because who has time for perfection in all those areas at the same time while in real life! Hospitality is focused on people, conversations, and fun, not surroundings. Just like you said Dayna…..people over pride. I remind myself of this a lot! I am sure all the parents that dropped their youth group kids off were thinking they were so glad that they weren’t hosting the group and probably admired you for having them all over without having a perfectly organized and uncluttered home. You were setting a great example for kids and parents alike in showing hospitality! People won’t remember what your house looked like nearly as much as if they were welcomed warmly and had fun. Great post!!

  14. 19

    I have so much trouble with this! I run around like crazy, cleaning, before my parents come over for dinner. In the meantime, I drive my husband and kids crazy!

  15. 20

    I so needed to read this today. Like others I have had no people over in years. I am currently trying to get my house in order one little section at a time. My daughter who lives on the opposite coast is coming to visit in March. I am feeling a little panicked. She grew up with my messiness and is almost OCD in keeping her house clean. I have to remember this is my daughter and it will be OK.

  16. 21

    I have my Christmas decoration till Candlemas (02.02) 😉

  17. 22

    For the first time ever in my entire 40+ years of life I was actually on the flip side of this this year and I can’t begin to describe the feeling of relief and accomplishment I got from it. All of Christmas was vanquished before New Years Day! We are home the week after Christmas not doing anything, and unlike years past I didn’t want to have the tree, or random Christmas stuff still lurking come May (and I am so not kidding!) So we worked on it a little at a time (think 5 min pick-up) ornaments 1 day, lights and tree the next, mantle & stockings, living room, kitchen and so on. Not to mention putting up the presents. There were no piles of presents to be put up, or things to assemble and try “when I get the chance.” Which of course never happens.

    Having my house back to normal was like a breath of fresh air that helped us kick the new year off right. We had company for Christmas so the first floor at least was in good shape, and not having discouraging piles of stuff, and a 10 mile long to do list despite being a totally over the top holiday decorator, encouraged me to keep the house up. You were so right about the Visibility Rule! We are now a month past Christmas and I’d have no stress at all opening the door (something I NEVER in a million years thought I’d say or would even be a possibility for me.)

    Not that there are never bad days… It’s Pinewood Derby this weekend. And we have 4 blazingly fast cars that we’ve been building with lots of TLC over the past 4 weeks. So last night there was stack of dishes piled up on the counter waiting for the dishwasher to be emptied, and bar covered in sand paper, spray paint, axles, wheels, graphite, you name it. But I didn’t lose hope… I did the dishes. 🙂 And spent 5 minutes doing the easy stuff – throwing away the used sandpaper, picking up leftover pieces and parts, wiping down the counters. And when my 5 minutes was up I was able to turn the lights out with a satisfied smile, and sigh of relief.

    There is most certainly HOPE. And I know what to do to get there. THANK YOU!

  18. 23

    It’s funny but I haven’t even realized that I still have Christmas stuff up in our house. Not a tree, but cards, ornaments, a huge star on the wall etc. lol. I guess it is time to take it down but I’m still enjoying it. 🙂
    This was an excellent post! I do tend to go a lil overboard and stress when having (certain) guests over and my husband has to rein me in! Glad to hear a post about what’s important instead of trying to create a “magazine worthy” home for a few hours just to impress someone.

  19. 24

    You took down decorations the same day I finally sent out our Christmas letter! It was on Facebook instead of mailed out, but I wanted to have one from this year to look back on. So, at least it’s something!

  20. 25

    I just found your blog today and we are soul sisters for sure! I have gotten to the point where I can have people who really love me in the house when it’s not “all it could be”…. and it’s such a relief to let that go! anyway, your post reminded me of this one, about “scruffy hospitality” (which got me as far as I am now) so I thought I would share, in case you hadn’t seen it yet! I’m excited to read your book and today your post about taking things where they go NOW turned my afternoon around. CHeers!!

  21. 26

    Love this! It’s so important and so true.

  22. 27

    By the way, for what it’s worth, I love having Christmas things up in January. I don’t know why, but I like to put up decorations late, and keep them up late. It’s all so joyful, the lights, the greenery, and winter can be so dreary… If I were a little braver (or had less stuff to clean) I think I’d keep my Christmas things up until it was time to start seedlings for my garden, which would tide me over until spring came. Not that that was the point of your post – I’m happy for you that you got things put away the way you want. I’m just saying I like Christmas things in January. 🙂

  23. 28

    People in our homes are what make our homes beautiful.


  24. 29
    Brittani A. says:

    My mom always harpped on me for having Christmas lights up until Easter. Told me I had better have them down by my birthday (in May.)
    They are still up today, the 1st of February.
    Part of it is that they are more difficult to do alone. Part of it is cold and rainy days. Whenever she mentions it, I tell her I have until mothers day.

  25. 30

    Although I also ALWAYS feel guilty about my could-be-cleaner-and-less-messy-house and feel uncimfortable when having guests, I remind myself that I never look if other houses are clean when I am over there – maybe most of our fears are just in our heads?!

  26. 31

    Absolutely wonderful! Thank you very much! This might actually become one of my New Year’s resolutions: people over pride. Because I’m such a control freak I don’t really enjoy having people around. You’ve changed the way I see it. Thank you!

  27. 32

    This post reminded me of one of my favorite acronyms-CHAOS for Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. My house is definitely in chaos but I am committed to working on it in 2017 and beyond. To me the key is to celebrate the small victories and not get overwhelmed by the daunting size of the task.

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