Today I feel like indiscriminately taking half of the stuff in my house and throwing it away.  It doesn’t even matter which half.  Just take it so I don’t have to try to keep track of it, keep it clean, or put it away.  I’m tired of being responsible not only for all the people but also all the “stuff” in the house.

I suppose I am grouchy because after a long weekend of taking care of four kids (we had two of our nieces visiting for the long weekend), I am now facing a house that looks like a tornado blew through and a mountain of laundry that needs folding.  So instead of reflecting on the fun we had this weekend ice skating, skiing, sledding and playing games, I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to get the house back in order, get the kids where they need to go all week and somehow have time left over to work on my manuscripts.

I tried to get the kids to pick up after themselves, and they did somewhat, but halfway through the weekend I just couldn’t keep up anymore.  Then it became a choice between forcing them to take their extremely limited time together and making them spend it picking up and cleaning, or letting them play and enjoy themselves, figuring the cleaning could come later.  I chose the latter.

I try to tell myself that my focus is in the right place.  We place a big emphasis on spending actual time together as a family.  I cook homemade meals at least five nights out of seven that we sit down and eat together as a family.  I volunteer at the kids’ schools and participate in their education in many different ways, including reading aloud to them multiple times a day.  So, what’s the rub with the housework?

The truth is, when the house is a mess I start feeling overwhelmed, incompetent and resentful.  Overwhelmed because I start to feel like I’ll never catch up.  Incompetent because I go to other people’s houses that are immaculate (or at least more organized than mine) and their family lives do not seem to be suffering in any way.  I start wondering how they do it and why I can’t seem to.  Resentful because I start thinking that I may not be a great housekeeper, but I didn’t exactly get two degrees so that I could spend my life cleaning sinks and doing laundry.  BUT – I like a clean, organized house just as much as the next person.  I do believe that an outer environment that is orderly and serene translates to greater inner calm and serenity.  Space outside=space inside.

So tonight I am sitting reading the book, Living Simply with Children.  I don’t know if getting rid of lots of stuff is the answer.  I don’t know if reading this book will help, but at this point, I’m willing to consider any and all ideas.  So what are yours?  Do you have methods to deal with the household madness?  Any magic bullets you’d like to share?  I know there are many intelligent, hard-working women out there with careers and children who still manage to keep their homes looking nice.  Pearls of wisdom?  Anyone?  Bueller… Bueller…

Categories: Family, I Need Wine Pronto! · Tags: , , ,

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2 Comments

  1. I think you do kids no favors if you don’t ask them to clean up. You are not the maid, and they should be thinking of your convenience as much as you think of theirs.
    Make it fun. My mother made us do chores in a mean way, so getting out of them became the goal, and for many years I was a slob. When you have them do chores, make it fun. Show them how, explain in a kind way why you do it like this, or read to them, or make it a race. Teach them kindly and thank them sincerely when they do it even if it isn’t perfect.
    The other day my 12 year old grandson, who always brings in my groceries when he is out for the weekend because I have asked him to help since he was little, came up to me as I was doing the dishes and said, “Let me do the last few, Grandma.” So I did.
    His mother taught me that being polite to your own kid makes him naturally polite (instead of yelling at him to be polite which is rude). I used that to teach him to be helpful..

    • True. I really do need to start following through on making my kids pick up after themselves. I’m not consistent enough about it now.

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