Shop the fall collection ➔

Amid this COVID-19 crisis, learning to enjoy the sanctity and the privacy of our own homes all day, every day has become a necessity and sometimes a struggle. But for some, like me, it’s second nature.

I’ve always enjoyed staying at home. I always preferred the quiet, slow pace of my daily routine to the fast pace hustle and bustle of the outside. It was never a problem for me to trade in my gorgeous, sexy party dress for my oversized, overused, comfy pajamas. Or to cancel plans with my friends if I changed my mind about going out.

I have always treated my home as a sanctuary. My safe shore from the raging seas outside. And as my sanctuary, I’ve never liked having people over. I’m not big on receiving and hosting people. On catering and tending to guests. On people invading my private, personal space. I would much rather meet friends outside than to have them over at my place.

Some people might call me anti-social or a snob even, but I am a direct product of my upbringing.

Growing up, my house was always filled with people. Opened and ready to receive family and friends and strangers even. And not only the fleeting, evening guests, but long-term residents taking up space in my home, my life, my sanctuary.

RELATED: Before You Give up on Hospitality

My parents were always picking up strays and welcoming them into our home. People from church who needed a temporary place to stay, newly arrived immigrants and their entire families, friends over to spend the holidays. Any relative who had a falling out with the rest of the family. Our house was always opened to whoever was in need.

I would voice my disapproval to my parents with persuasive arguments about the place being too small. About the dangers of having people we barely knew over. But my mom always came back with the same reply.

“Your grandma lived in a house made of dirt and brick and had far less than we do, and, still, she would always welcome people in need into her home,” she would say.

My mom, too, is a product of her upbringing. But unlike my mother, this apple fell very far from the tree.

I’ll never forget the morning I woke up bright and early to watch cartoons. I opened the door to my bedroom and walked to our living room to find it filled with unknown relatives my mom had brought over from our country. I knew family was coming over, but the fact they would be this many and would crash in our small apartment was never revealed to us kids.

I was shocked, then anger and resentment toward my parents crept their way in. I walked back to my bedroom and climbed back into my bed and waited. I waited for them to wake up so I could dare make noise in my own house.

RELATED: Stop Apologizing For the Mess and Invite Your Friends Over, Mom

My parents never consulted their children on whether we agreed with this open house policy. They simply expected us to behave, be polite, and share. Share our time, our space, our toys.

At first, being a kid, it was somewhat easy to bury my resentment under my youthful, carefree attitude. But as the years went by, their openness and generosity had an opposite effect on me.

Instead of becoming warmer and more welcoming towards these guests, I became distant and cold.

I avoided them whenever possible and studied at school and delayed the time I would come home.

This place I once called home was no longer that. It became some sort of inn with revolving doors where people would check in and check out. My house was no longer a haven. It was just the place where I lived.

To this day, my parents still receive people at their place. They always host for family and friends and strangers, and they still don’t understand why I didn’t turn out more like them.

RELATED: I’m Not Planning Any Milestone Celebrations Right Now—And That’s Fine

I don’t invite people over. I don’t host the occasional dinner party or have family or friends over for coffee and a good chat. I don’t share my home with people who don’t live there or are not part of my inner circle. I’ve done enough of that through my childhood and my teenage years. I also, if I can help it, don’t often accept invitations to other people’s houses.

My home is, once again, my sanctuary. My safe shore away from the raging seas. My haven from the outside world and my refuge from people.

Perhaps, my children will also be a product of their upbringing. Maybe they, too, will fall far from the tree and will enjoy having people over. Will open their homes to family and friends.

And I’m OK with that.

Tania Lorena Rivera

Armed with a degree in animal biology, Tania set out to work in research. However, she chose to be a homemaker once she became a mom. The journey into motherhood allowed her to visit another passion of hers, writing. She spends her days taking care of her family, who is the inspiration for most of her writing and photography.

My Daughter is Almost the Age I Was When My Grandfather First Molested Me

In: Living, Motherhood
Back of little girl's head with braid and ribbon

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse My daughter is swinging, head tilted up to the sky, pondering the shape of the cloud—is it a puppy or a tiger? Or maybe a dragon? She picks a flowering weed from the yard and brings it to me, so proud of her gift for Mama. She sits down and draws one of her imaginary kitty superheroes and the tale of how it saves the day—her lips pursed, then open, then pursed again—concentrating as though it’s the most important story she’ll write in her life. I pull her close, breathe in all of her joy and...

Keep Reading

When Storms Come: How To Help During Hurricane Ian

In: Living
When Waters Rise, You’ll Struggle to Put One Foot in Front of the Other. You’ll Do it Anyway. www.herviewfromhome.com

When waters rise and spirits fall, you’ll listen anxiously to weather reports from your neighborhood. You’ll watch angry waves swirling on the sacred ground of familiar streets. You’ll feel a sickening, sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You’ll try to grasp fleeting thoughts of hope that maybe, just maybe, they’re all wrong. Surely it won’t be as bad, as devastating as they say. You’ll try to overpower Mother Nature by sheer force of will. But she is a determined and destructive houseguest. You’ll understand futility.  You’ll go through motions, completing necessary tasks in response to catastrophe. You’ll cry,...

Keep Reading

Things I Wish My Therapist Would Say

In: Living
Little girl looking out window

Things I wish my therapist would say . . .  Welcome. Sit down, have a tea or a big coffee. The latest studies say caffeine does wonders for your anxiety. Now, tell me everything . . .  You’re not crazy. But if you are it’s okay, all the best women in history were crazy. You don’t need medication. But if you do, it’s okay—I can get you some right now. You don’t have to call a thousand pharmacies or drive or wait, here it is. It will work right away and has zero side effects. You don’t have to change...

Keep Reading

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s…Jupiter?

In: Living
Boy looking through telescope

It’s a great week to gather the kids and train your eyes on the night sky—the planet Jupiter is bigger and better than ever! Well, at least it’ll look that way this week.   Jupiter reaches what’s termed “opposition” during the final week of September this year, and that makes for some fun stargazing conditions. Quick science lesson time: “opposition” is when a planet is directly opposite the Sun in the sky. And all those orbits out there in space have the Earth sandwiched between Jupiter and the Sun right now too, meaning our Solar System’s gasseous giant is closer to...

Keep Reading

I’ll Find Her Again One Day

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother holding baby at night

It happened again. Took 15 months this time. But I found myself in the same spot I said I’d never be in. Lost, drowning, on the brink of a mental breakdown—however you want to put it. I was gone in motherhood. With the diapers piling up around me, I was getting mad at my husband for nothing, screaming at my oldest son, crying along with the babies, and in a fog. RELATED: To the Woman Who’s Lost Herself in Motherhood I couldn’t do anything—literally—I couldn’t even pee without hearing a demand. When my children were quiet, my house billowed with...

Keep Reading

I Want Friends Who Grow Old with Me

In: Friendship, Living
Friends laughing

When I grow older, I want my friends to come with me. I want us to sit on porches sipping tea and watching the young walk by. I want us to scoot around on our scooters or on golf carts because none of us want to walk back home from the beach. I want us to sit in restaurants and order whatever we want because life has become too short and we know it, so cheesecake it is. RELATE: Life is Too Short for Fake Cheese and Fake Friends I want morning strolls together to get the willies out, and...

Keep Reading

To the Mom In the Trenches: Make Room For Yourself

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach black and white photo

“I need to make room for myself,” I think quietly as I shove toys aside with my foot and toss the dog-hair-covered blankets onto the couch behind me. This endless carousel of shuffling clutter weighs on me, but I try not to dwell on that fact right now. Clearing a space for a quick strength class between Zoom calls requires almost as much effort as the class itself. Plastic play food and melodic baby toys lay strewn about the room (the whole house, really). Scattered LEGOs and Hot Wheels wait to attack unsuspecting bare feet at any moment. To say...

Keep Reading

“Old” Seems Less Old the Older I Get

In: Living
Mother and teen daughter smiling

Growing up, my grandparents hosted birthday parties that involved all of my dad’s aunts and uncles gathering around the kitchen table with a deck of pinochle cards dealt among them. After a few games, a “lunch” of sandwiches, cake, and hot cups of coffee would be served.  I remember looking at the people gathered around that table—wrinkled fingers raking in cards, deep, scratchy voices calling out bids and naming trump, laughter mingled with German words I didn’t understand. The kids were never invited to the table, only allowed to watch from the outskirts.  We were too young. And they were...

Keep Reading

I Love Being a Mom, But I Miss That Party Girl Sometimes

In: Living, Motherhood
Girl at bar in black tank top

It’s 7 p.m. on a Saturday night. Freshly showered and ready to take on whatever the night brings. I’ve just gotten dressed and am finishing up my makeup when the phone rings. “Hey, I’m about to leave in half an hour. Do you want to meet around 8 p.m.?” “Sure! I’m almost ready. I’ll be there at 8!” I say excitedly. I finish my makeup and start working on my hair when a text comes through. “Hey, Ash! Just wanted to let you know we’ll be there around 9 but we’re definitely going to make it! I can’t wait to...

Keep Reading

Christmas + ’90s TV Nostalgia? Yes, Please!

In: Living
Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin, Andrea Barber Full House friends at wedding

Why is it that the older I get, the more nostalgic I become about the ’90s?  Maybe it’s because it was a simpler time: No social media. The only cell phones we’d ever seen belonged to Zack Morris from Saved By the Bell and Macaulay Caulkin in Richie Rich. The height of cool was owning a hair crimper and that clear corded phone (bonus points if it was connected to a dedicated teen line). And you knew it was going to be a great day when you started the tape recorder in time to get all of MmmBop! on your...

Keep Reading