Content Amidst the Chaos

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It’s just not gonna happen March 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jps23 @ 9:33 pm

I decided today that it is never going to happen.  I am not going to be able to maintain a clean house with seven little, creative kids underfoot.  I allow a lot of what junks up our house.  I love it when they take some boxes out of the recycling box and create a home for their Littlest Pet Shop animals.  I think it is precious when they use their imagination, especially since that is a becoming a rarity amongst kids these days.  So I have to decide what is most important to me.  These are the reasons I can’t keep my house clean…

  • I want my kids to learn how to maintain a home, so they do chores that I could do much quicker and much neater.
  • There are nine of us living here, and we are home more than most families since we have a modified schooling situation.
  • We play, a lot.  Now, I don’t want my kids to think life is all play and just work when you want to, but I do want them to embrace the time that we have together.  It will go by too quickly.
  • I don’t want them to think the placement of items in our house is more important than the people that live in it and visit it.
  • We live in a home that hasn’t been updated in at least 20 years!  It looked the very same way when I moved in almost a year ago as it did when I came here for family dinners as a little girl.  We are updating it as we can, both in regards to time and money.
  • We do not have a house cleaner or a nanny.  I’m on the clock 24/7, and Superman essentially works two jobs, coming home from the bank to jump into family chef and bath administrator.  I’m also working part time right now, which I realize is quite crazy.
  • I took a “what kind of person are you” quiz in an organizing magazine, and I fit somewhere between the artsy gal and the party hostess.  That isn’t all that conducive to orderly surroundings.
  • Picasso is a pack-rat, and I say this in all seriousness, I think she is a young hoarder.  I just threw away eight tags from clothing (with size and price information) stashed in my vanity that she saved for her “tag collection”.
  • When I was a kid, I once hung Christmas lights from the posts on my four-posted bed.  That’s how I roll.  I’m just a grown-up version of that now.
  • Despite how neat my in-laws’ home has ALWAYS been, Superman did not pick up on any of those habits.
  • I have little boys, i.e. tornadoes, in this house, one of whom is a baby and requires all that extra stuff like swings, play mats, and bouncy seats.
  • I’d rather have a child in my lap than a pile of folded laundry any day!  I don’t have to read the cute poems that talk about being a mom being more important than being a housewife.  My “keep it cleaner” drive is more in an effort to please others, like guests and family members.  As long as it’s not filthy, I’m okay with things a little out of place.

I’m sure I could go on, but the point is simply that I need to realize that at least right now, it’s just not gonna happen.  Maybe when they are a little older and a little more responsible, but as I’ve told my mom many times, I’d rather my children have clean hearts and clean minds than us have a pristine house.  I want my kids to love others, no matter what their house looks like!

Tonight, while I was putting a few things away in my bedroom, Mary Lou decided to get bedtime started with the boys.  Let me remind you that she will be six in June.  She begins to tell them the story of Jesus and the lost sheep, and she told it right, with details that would excite the boys.  I heard her tell them about the “wolfs” in the woods that howled and scared the lost sheep.  And then, as Smiley, who will be three in a week, was getting ready to go get in bed, he comes in to me with his bedtime flashlight and says, “Jesus came to the world and I have my cow flashlight.  The end.”  The laundry can wait.

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Can I clock out? March 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jps23 @ 8:29 pm

By the time I have a chance to blog, I’m just too tired to say anything clever.  We’re still here, living amidst chaos.  Maybe I can manage a decent post this weekend…maybe.

 

So much to do, so little time March 10, 2010

Filed under: Our home — jps23 @ 7:26 pm

Now, I know that is a lie, at least part of it.  Yes, I do have so much to do, but no, I am not stuck with so little time.  I have the same 24 hours each day that all of you have.  The “much” to do is my own fault.  Yes, I have seven kids, and they are a lot of work.  I obviously cannot change that situation, but I could cut out some of the extra stuff.  I’m making that attempt, but I am decluttering from quite a few years of not doing so, and it’s not a natural talent I have, so it’s going to take a while and require some very intentional effort on my part.  That is why I haven’t posted recently.  The few minutes it takes me to post, I could declutter SOMETHING.  So I will not be posting quite as frequently as I did in the beginning.  Every day?  HA!  I laught at the thought now.  I’ll take you through my journey, as soon as I make some progress.  I made a little the other day, but if I can’t keep moving forward, the seven kids I mentioned earlier will just undo what’s been done (okay, just six are capable of that, but the seventh one requires me so much that I can’t move forward as quickly, so I get to blame him, too)!  I’m starting with the book The House That Cleans Itself, by Mary Starns Clark.  I will say this, I’ve read it and am beginning to implement it.  It is going to be a process.  There is no quick fix.  And the greatest part is that she was a messy, unorganized person at one time, so she knows what it is like to be me!  She is not someone born with the gift of organization who has always been good at this, so she replies to typical situations and advice for how to deal with them the same way I would.  I sometimes feel like she’s in my head as I read.

She uses a system that has you go area by area, or room by room.  Sometimes you have an area within a room that serves a special purpose (i.e. a desk in your bedroom for bill paying), and she counts areas like this seperate from the room itself.  You completely declutter AND clean that room, sorting into trash, donate, belongs somewhere else, and maybe (which I am avoiding using).  She then talks about setting up your room where the areas that get messy the quickest are not in the line of sight as you enter the room, so even if it is a little messy, it won’t be the first thing you see and then your room will appear to be clean.  She has tons of other great advice and approaches that I will comment on through the process.  I did alter her process a little because of my situation.  It is hard to declutter your kids’ stuff with them home.  Since Superman had them all out of the house last Saturday, I decluttered three rooms before I attempted to clean them: the playroom (which we are converting to a living room- I’ll explain later), the boys’ room, and the girls’ room (or at least Picasso’s area- that took more time than any of the other areas I worked in)!  If I find my camera, I’ll take before and after photos.  The missing camera is one of the many reasons that something has to change!!!  I’ll keep you updated…