Ever heard of them? When I was little, my beloved Nanna taught me how to make a bed with ‘hospital corners’.
I was very proud of my ability to make a bed with seamless and flat lines, tucked into the nth degree.
Over the years, though, I have struggled to maintain this standard, finding that keeping a bed pristine is just a tiny part of my day. But instead of just not worrying about it, I would leave my bedroom – mine and my hubby’s personal sanctuary – a total mess with not just an unmade bed, but a room filled with chaos.
And my emotions swirling around: frustration. Disappointment in myself. Self-disgust.
I don’t think I really understood the deeper reason behind why making a bed – hospital corners, or not – is important until the past week or so.
It’s not about making the bed.
Or even about keeping your sanctuary tidy.
It’s deeper than that.
It’s about self-respect.
Wow. As I write this, it is sinking in even more deeply. The years that have gone by that I can now see I had little self-respect.
I didn’t understand the power that comes from respecting my own space; that being clean, tidy and organised isn’t about keeping up with the Stepford Wives, but about truly loving who I (and my family, by extension) am.
I was chatting with a friend about this topic and his words were so perfect on this topic that it just has to be shared. Here is what he said about the value of making the bed:
For me, it wasn’t ‘hospital corners’; it was ‘tight enough to bounce a coin’…
I’m a little slack with this. But I can tell you that the days when I at least throw the cover to be ‘made’, at a minimum, end better: and that means the next day starts better…
The point is that by making the bed we show ourselves that we are allowing ourselves the time to ‘fix errors’ especially if we are going through a busy period. This one small act:
Shows us. Shows the world. That we have the patience to resolve an issue.
I’d say you are more likely to make the bed when you’re swamped and hospital corners may come out!
On that point, it’s also about activating the parts of the memory for the day’s events. I prepare the day with an act of simple patient organisation: this act will seep through all my deeds. As I look back through the day (and the longer I take to make the bed) I rest my memory on a deed of neat, organisation.
If I come across a problem and think ‘I want to go to bed’, the bed was made: it will help me to think of ways to resolve the problem.
Arch Angle Studos
I’ve chosen today’s made bed to show you something. There are no ‘hospital corners’. It’s just a made bed. The pillows are just thrown on there.
And that’s okay.
Because it’s about self-respect, and today, tired as I am, have made my best attempt. And I am at peace with that.
Tomorrow I might have hospital corners. Or I may never choose to make that effort again.
But I know now that I will respect myself. And if that starts with a made bed, so be it.
Miriam E. Miles is a prolific writer, establishing her personal blog in 2006, RedLine Writing Services in 2013 and Christian Mental Wellness Australia in 2016. She writes poetry, music and prose about reconciliation, family, faith and mental wellness and is currently working on her first novel, Reconciled. A wife, mother and grandmother, she’s passionate about family and living an authentic life. &nsp