Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Place For Everything, and Everything In Its Place

I've always considered myself a pretty organized person.  It was at the top whenever I was asked to list what my strengths were.  Growing up I kept my room neat and tidy, papers were always kept in tabbed three-ring binders, and there was a system in place to keep track of everything important.

But now, after having two kids, organization is just a long word that starts with the letter "O".  I try to be organized.  I make lists, monthly menus, and put important dates and appointments right on my Google calendar.  Still, despite all my best efforts, I find that I can't really get my act together.  I walk into a room and forget what I came in there for multiple times a day.  Colton's preschool projects, mail, and other papers threaten to take over the kitchen table.  I haven't put anything away in the filing cabinet in months.  Our basement is starting to look like it could be featured on Hoarders.  Dinner is often a last minute thought, and I cannot for the life of me make it out of the house on time.  Ever.

My life is really not that complicated.  I'm not over-scheduled.  I do the same exact things, every single day, with little variation.  Why, then, does organization seem to elude me?  I think the answer lies not in my ability or will power, but in two small but fierce opposing forces.  My children.

I begin a task on my list and Child #1 starts a litany of requests for tv watching, eating a snack, playing, etc.  I tell him to wait until I'm done and go back to the task at hand.  Then I am interrupted by Child #2 needing a new diaper.  Then I need to discipline Child #1 for taking a toy away from Child #2.  And 30 minutes later, I've finally emptied the dishwasher.  Often I feel like I'm being pulled in a dozen different directions all at once, which makes focusing on anything nearly impossible.

It's just the nature of having two little kids who are always around when I'm trying to clean, or cook, or blog, or whatever.  Inevitably, after picking up and organizing the play room the two tiny tornadoes will trash it again in no time.  There will be two chubby hand prints on the freshly cleaned mirror.  The recyclables will be emptied all over the kitchen floor since my 15 month old thinks that the recycling can is her own personal treasure box.    

What I am learning is that I need to be okay with it.  The house cleaning and the laundry will always be there, but my children will not always be this small, nor will they always be around.  Someday, though it seems like YEARS away now, they will grow up and move out.  And my house will be clean and organized again.

This isn't to say that I should just neglect our living space, either.  Our family needs a safe and relatively clean haven to dwell.  However, I can't make organization my idol or get so wrapped up in having things "just so" that I see my kids only as mess makers instead of the beautiful blessings God has given me.  I need to be content in and grateful for the season of life He has placed me in, even though it may be disorganized and messy.  My best laid plans of having a clean, orderly house will continue to be thwarted daily by a preschooler, toddler, and medium-sized dog who sheds like crazy.  Thank goodness the saying "cleanliness is next to godliness" isn't actually true, right?

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