Friday, June 15, 2012

The Tortoise and Hare Conundrum

You remember the story of the tortoise and the hare?  Slow and steady wins the race, right?  I am a few weeks into my quest to organize and simplify, right now.  On the inside, I want to be like the hare--I just want to zip around and do everything, take care of it all, get it all done NOW!!!  The problem with this is, of course, that I'm in danger of burning myself out when I do this.  I have seen it happen to me before in so many areas--not just home organization.  There have been many years of homeschooling in which I have gotten us involved in too many things, or attempted to do way too much.  These years have brought burnout and guilt.  I won't say "failure" because I wouldn't call setting unrealistic goals and not meeting them "failure." But guilt is most definitely a byproduct of this formula.

 The other part of me wants to just keep it up slow and steady.  Work a little every day and slowly see things coming together.  But the "hare" inside me keeps telling me that it's not enough.  It's not fast enough.  I'm not making enough progress.  The progress that I am making is going to be destroyed as always because I won't be able to maintain it.  All the books I have read and even programs I have followed in the past have said that you can't do it overnight.  So, I have resolved to go ahead and keep plugging away at things slowly.  I am trying to make new habits, to look at things differently.  I am learning to look at the things that enter my home with a view to how this item will affect the space it will occupy.  Will it push something else out of the way?  Will it become lost in a pile of things I don't really need?  I am honestly trying to develop new habits.  This can't really be done the "hare'" way.  It's slow and steady wins the race, slow and steady wins the race, slow and steady wins the race.  Thus the new habits will be instilled in me (and hopefully the rest of the family as well).  I press on towards the goal I have set, and I see character building opportunities all around me!  :)

All this to say that I truly can see the improvements, slowly coming to light.  I smile when I open my kitchen cabinets and drawers and see less stuff.  I can find things again.  It's easier to see where things actually go!  Yesterday, I finished cleaning off my husband's small desk which is tucked into a little corner of the kitchen.  I threw away tons of clutter, much of it things I was thinking I would "get to later." Now the desk is serving it's function again, which is to provide a surface upon which to work.  It had been weeks since my husband could actually put his laptop directly on the desk!  Now it feels so good to have let go of all of that stuff.

 The biggest challenge for me right now, really, is getting the kids to help keep things picked up.  I'm also trying to balance being the mom who encourages creative play (building forts, playing make believe, etc) with keeping things picked up and organized.  Does anyone out there have any ideas?   Most of the time, I try to let the kids create and build and be free (yes, they still have to do work and chores), and then we will have massive cleaning times once or twice per week.  How do I balance the creativity with also keeping a pretty neat home (with no good places to really leave forts and other creations for long periods of time--we'd be tripping over them too much)?  I'm beginning to think that those two things don't really go together.  I would rather have happy, creative kids than a home I can "be proud of."  I really do feel that I can still declutter, which will help us at those cleaning sprees to put things where they belong and not have to cram loads of things that aren't useful in along with the things that we really care about or want.  More thoughts on that soon.  If anyone has ideas for me, let me know.

 We're off to Florida for two weeks of vacation!  I hope to have lots of time to write from there! 

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:12-14

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