Thursday, October 6, 2011

Organizing my Chaos

As anyone who knows me well will tell you, I am NOT a naturally tidy person. Actually, I really like organizing things and setting them up, but keep-up is not my friend. Which means my closet is more likely to be clean than my kitchen floor.

Last winter this became a serious issue and we started drowning in a mess of dishes, dirty laundry and melted snow. I was in such a terrible fog of grief that I could hardly remember to feed my children, much less think of what needed to be done on the housework side of my life. So I didn't do anything. God, on the other hand, sent innumerable blessings by two main roads...

My Momma delivered me God's grace in the first days following Jairus's death. She (and my sister) took care of all the cooking and cleaning and childcare that was needed. About 2 weeks later, the time came for her to go back home. I was terrified. She was confident and encouraging. And she told me all I had to do, was start by giving Hazen and Emma each 15 minutes of my undivided attention everyday. And find one chore to complete, everyday. So what if I couldn't keep up, I couldn't think straight. But I could sweep, or wash laundry, or shovel snow. And tomorrow I could try something else. Just do one thing, everyday. And I did. I knew she would ask (and she did, which I was thankful for) what one thing I had done on a day we spoke on the phone or saw each other. And that was enough to get me started again. To help me begin to focus.

Secondly, God brought women from my church. They organized cleaning teams, and every other weekend for 5 months I had Saturday mornings that included childcare for Emma and Hazen, free time for Mark and I to be together, and a team of women who cleaned our home top to bottom. I can not express in words my deep gratitude toward those beautiful women of God. What they gave my family was a HUGE weight off my shoulders and a fresh, relaxing home to enjoy (until about a week later when I again fell behind...)

Over the summer it was becoming apparent that I was in over my head. To this day I have a hard time focusing on what needs to be done on any given day, I get dates mixed up and double book myself and forget appointments way more often than I care to admit. And I was feeling overwhelmed trying to keep up with running the house, not remember what I had or had not gotten around to was frustrating and usually meant I just redid some chores and totally ignored others until they were nasty sick dirty.

So, just like I do for my kids so they know what school / lessons are going on each day, I started making myself lists and charts and calendars to get organized. My household duties are now all assigned to specific days of the week and month, I have a monthly calendar for all of us as well as weekly calendars for my stuff and the kids, shopping lists are easy to see and add to and recipes are separated from coupons so I actually use both. I also stockpile dry erase markers and sharpies when they're on sale ;) If none of this sounds like you, I understand, its not my natural way either. But it really does help me out.

Not a great photo, but an example of my monthly housework chart
A work in progress...
but you can see my weekly calendar, shopping list, character quality list
 and an entire  boat load of paperwork and pictures!
As is my natural tendency, I still do fall behind occasionally and do over schedule my days when I'm not thinking ahead. But it's much better than it was before. Better even than before we lost our son. So I am learning, slowly, to think ahead, to plan, and to make small accomplishments on a daily basis, instead of waiting until I'm in so far over my head I need to call for back up. And I'm learning to let myself off the hook too. After all, there are only so many hours in everyday.

1 comment:

  1. You didn't mention in this post how you always make your home a place of welcome and warmth for anyone who comes over! Anyone who has been cared for in your home knows you are one amazing mama, wife, and friend!