Thursday, May 2, 2013

The "Mostly" Organized Mom

That's me. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a bit meticulous. Okay, very meticulous. My personality is one in which I like things to be just so. Boy has God done a work in me about this, especially since having children, oh, and a husband (*snicker*) inevitably means that my house won't always be clean, my laundry won't always be done, and the dishes won't always be put away. 

However, it recently dawned on me that I must be doing a decent job, when a friend came over and asked how I keep my house so clean. It wasn't always this organized. Over the years, I have had to figure out ways to be sure that I am focusing on the tasks that are most important, while maintaining some sort of order. Surely, I could experience the best of both worlds, I just had to assess the disorganization situation, I had to prioritize my duties.

My priorities, which I like to call my "eternity tasks", consist of discipling and loving my children as well as, loving and serving my husband. You know, the ones that matter for all of eternity. These duties are most important to God's heart and thus mine as well.

If my husband and children are not happy, clean counters and baseboards are moot points. I remind myself of this when I have days where I didn't quite accomplish everything that I hoped to accomplish.

My other chores are my "sanity tasks" see where I'm going here? Yes, these are the jobs that matter for my mental health. I try my best to stay on top of my chores at home, not only because I want my husband to enjoy the peace of coming home to a mostly clean house, and but because my sanity depends on it. 

My sanity tasks are kitchen duties, living room and laundry. I can live with a dusty mantle and streaky windows, but if I am seeing dishes everywhere I turn, stepping on scraps of paper and crumbs on my carpet and being consumed by dirty cotton, well, I'm bound to cry.

Our girls are getting bigger. They are 10, 10 and 4 and are able to help with more tasks. At the moment, they are on kitchen duty almost completely by themselves. About two years ago, I got over the "I'm the mom, this is all my job" mentality that many of us fall victim to in our culture. You know, where the kids get waited on hand and foot, make messes and lounge around as someone else does all the work. 

I realized that I am not hurting my children by expecting them to take care of their toys and keep their area reasonably clean. I am actually instilling in them a sense of care for their belongings and the home that God has blessed them with. It is essentially a part of being a good steward. 

This has not only helped them become more responsible, but it has helped me tremendously and has taught them that when we all work together, everyone benefits! 

We typically do our chores in the morning because I find that when we get those things done first, we still have the mental energy to do school. However, if we do school first and then try to do our chores, I find that I am too mentally tired. For me, mental fatigue translates into physical fatigue and then my tasks won't get done.

This is what our kitchen typically looks like after breakfast. Remember now, I have big girls who are good at picking up after themselves and a 3 month old, who is not yet contributing to any mess. As our family grows, I do not expect it will look like this immediately after breakfast. I'm very much looking forward to a messier kitchen due to more blessings! ;-)

This is what our living room looks like most of the day. Now here's the caveat, we do not school in here. When we did, there were supplies everywhere! I like the living room to look like this, or close to this when Dad gets home. As the night goes on and we have family time, there are usually more toys and other items in here. I have the kids pick up after themselves and that works most of the time.

Here is what has helped me. I don't remember if I found the template online, or if it was standard on our computer but, here is a chart that I created to spread out my household tasks. This way, I can be sure that I'm focusing on my duties before the Lord but also ending each day with a little sanity, even if it's only an iota!

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