Saturday, February 23, 2013

Organized SAHM: Organizing

When you have kids, organization is a journey - not a finished product.

Back-story: My friend J sent me an email asking questions concerning common SAHM concerns. Her email didn't focus much on organization, but it was an underlying issue. You can read part one and part two to catch up. This post is what I've learned about keeping a home (ahem) organized. 

One time, my home was neat. Dishes placed on clean shelves. Vacuumed carpets. Polished mirrors. The bed was not always made, but a surprise guest didn't phase me. My house was ok.

Note that I said "bed." That is because my husband and I inhabited our home. That's it. Then we brought Ty home from the hospital.

At first our house was spotless from my nesting instincts and we kept it neat with our new little person who did not move around and destroy. I remember that first year with him and thinking that a clean house was manageable. I worked, but he still took naps. I worked, and we could afford a cleaning service periodically. His toys were pretty simple and I kept them in a tiny little container.

The downfall started, slowly. The family took small naps together rather than cleaning. We left a few dishes out. We never caught up on sleep though, and Ty had his own ideas about the house. He had his own room that he threw his toys around while "napping."

Clean and vacuumed carpet. No toys hidden under chairs.
Then we had a series of events that went something like this: Ty learned to walk, Christmas, Ty's first birthday, morning sickness with Za. And it was over. We had a ton of toys, and I was too sick to care or clean.

And I want to tell you the organization situation at my house is better, that I figured it out. I didn't. I won't. The only message I can give other SAHMs crying because their house no longer looks post-wedding-esque is that once I accepted my house was done looking like that for a good twenty years, I felt better.

Feel better, because you are not a magician, you are a parent raising little humans. I know my house will not be organized all at once right now, and I will not have that "finished feeling." I do involve my kids in cleaning though, because:

1. I am not a maid.
2. they made the mess.
3. they have to learn responsibility.
4. like all humans, they like the feeling of accomplishment, or a job well-done.

I make my kids pick up. They bring me their plates when they finish eating. They put toys in boxes. They put books on shelves. They put away crayons. They recycle. My house is still messy though. They are learning to clean, and sometimes when they are learning, I remind myself that learning is messy even if the lesson is about cleaning.

I attempt to organize, a closet or a shelf at a time. Some days I only accomplish going through the mail. I remind myself that they are this small once and tomorrow they will be in college and again, I will return to my house from work, and it will be spotless. 

I chip away at the mess daily, and I do not feel defeated at the end of the day (ok, most days) because I can say, "I accomplished ____ today." Even if it is loading the dishwasher I know that with little kids, tending to their needs is a full-time job, and no matter how boring or discouraging, I will keep at it tomorrow.

My house is not a finished product, an organizational masterpiece. Organization with kids is a journey, a constant process.