Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oh, the chaos. It must end.

So y'all. My house. It is such a mess. And not just now. Always. I just don't know how to make it not be so. It's such a delicate balance between housewife/homemaker and SAHM/homeschooler. Those things, in my mind, are two totally separate jobs. Just because I'm a SAHM does not necessarily mean that I'm also a housewife. But I think that logic might be just my way of justifying the fact that I suck at housewifely duties. The cleaning and the cooking and the decorating and such, it's all so unnatural to me. If it weren't for these three little boys that I love so dearly, surely I would be destined to live a life of total simplicity and have a job which requires NO organizational skills or the ability to make order out of chaos. If I had had some forethought, I would have taken some pictures of my living room before I straightened up this afternoon. I could take some pictures of the rest of the house to show you, but then I'd have to shut down my blog, take my children and move in to hiding because then I could never have contact with or look any of you in the eye ever again.

I suppose I AM making progress. I'm actually getting slightly better in the kitchen. I'm actual starting to enjoy my own cooking and the process of cooking. Even if the rest of my family still doesn't enjoy my meals, at least I do now. And I have meal planning and grocery shopping down to an art. I am proud of that. What's more, I actually enjoy that.

A while back, I also started a Flylady inspired "control journal"/household notebook of sorts. It's still unorganized and things fall out and stick out of it all over the place (oh the high school flashbacks!), but it's all there in one spot, and I do use it several times a week at least.

But everything else is just an unorganized mess. Behind every door and in every cabinet and drawer is evidence that things are getting out of control. I keep thinking that if we just had a little extra spending money I could go to Wal*Mart or (the mother-ship) IKEA to get some Stuff to help get me organized. But really, y'all, I think it's me that's the problem. Not my lack of Stuff. I probably have plenty of shelf space and tote things and storage space to make sense of our home. I just have no idea how to get from Point "No really, we just got hit by a freak indoor tornado" to Point "Yes, we have everything under control and know exactly where a pair of scissors and a flashlight (WITH WORKING BATTERIES) are in case you should need either of those during your visit". I'm a grown-up now. With a family and responsibilities and such. My house should not look like just a larger version of my childhood bedroom (which, by the way, was also a nightmare).

And I won't even get into the actual cleanness of my home. I've tried every kind of routine and schedule you can imagine. I can't make anything stick (I could, however, make a routine stick if I just dropped it underneath the kitchen table....everything else gets stuck to the floor down there). There just doesn't seem to be enough time to do everything that I think should be done. And it's more important to me that I spend a lot of time with my kids than it is for my baseboards to be swept or my windows to be cleaned. I did talk to Sweet Hubby about this and we decided that we would take one day a week when he is off to actually CLEAN the house, not just straighten up. Once we get it relatively clean (considering we have three perpetually clumsy, sticky boys), I don't think it'll take more than a couple of hours one morning a week to get the whole family working to clean the house. So I'm hopeful (and grateful to Hubby that he seemed totally onboard) about that. I do get the boys to help as much as I can now, but they are about as good at the cleaning jobs as I am. So not much happens. But hopefully, with the new plan, I won't have to worry (or feel guilty) about it anymore and I can focus on the dishes, the laundry, the straightening up (all of which the boys help with) and just spending time with the kids and homeschooling.

But in order to start really feeling good about it all, I feel like I have to get the house straight, clean, and organized to start with. I have no idea how that's going to happen. I did get quite a bit done today while the kids were with my ILs, but there's still SO MUCH left to do. It's a tad overwhelming. Actually, it's a lot overwhelming. I want to tackle it and change and be better about the housework and the organization thing. And there are times where I put my mind to it and attempt to be better. But then I feel like I'm forcing myself to be something I'm just not and I always fail. I've prayed about this quite a bit. And I think that's where the small improvements (with the menu-planning and household notebook) have come from. But I still need big improvements.

Like a maid.

I'm not a lazy person. Why is this so hard?


Mommy Daisy said...

I do feel like this from time to time too...and complain about it on my blog. I hope that you are able to figure something out. I always feel like my mind is more cluttered when my house is a mess. FlyLady is great if you follow the steps. I would suggest doing her step-a-day one month starting plan. But if you can't add something new each day, then just add something new each week or every two weeks. For example the first thing on her list is "shine your sink". Do this every day for a week or two and just do your normal housework with it. You'll notice an improvement. Once you have that down, move to the next step. Just take them as slowly as you need. You'll feel a lot better about getting SOMETHING done. I was there last year and FlyLady helped a lot. I'm not sticking to her program now (and I know I would feel more organized if I did), but it sure helped me in a tough spot. Good luck, and sorry I got so long-winded.

K in the Mirror said...

It IS so hard! I feel like this too, all the time.

For me, the shiny sink does help in the kitchen, but it also makes me feel like I spend all my time there and even if it's nice, what about the rest of the house?

I'll tell you who I think has great routines- Sarah over at In the Midst of It. Do you read her? She's got some GREAT ideas, and three kids she homeschools, so she's a good frame of reference.

KatieBug said...

I feel your pain! My house is always a DISASTER! I am nesting right now and yesterday I just started throwing things into trashbags because I was so overwhelmed and flustered I just don't care if I ever see any of this stuff again as long as my house is a little bit more tidy.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested to see how your plan works for you guys because we're suffering from similar cleaning issues at our house. We may just totally steal your idea, if you don't mind.

Jana said...

Sorry, the anonymous was me.

Cathy said...


Kate said...

I'm so sorry! I'm with you and all we have at my house are two adults and one dog. Although, do I get points for the time she ate poop and then vomited onto the floor with cracks in it--pool of vomit with poop pile in middle. ((shudder))

From my position, there's a difference between SAHM and housewife. During the summer months, I am a housewife. You're doing all the things that moms do, plus the full-time teaching.

Oh, and I still have a hard time keeping my house clean when I'm home all day with no one but the dog. If that makes you feel any better. =)

chewymama said...

i often felt the same way. the only way ive found to fix it is to have my house on the market - its now decluttered, spotless, laundry is always folded, etc. Its like some kind of miracle. I just didnt know I was capable of it until I HAD to be. We are going to attempt to start our school year next week - so we'll see how doing both goes. Im hoping that having them sitting and focused will only help???

decluttering helps me the most. I love to throw stuff away. I bag up toys all the time and put them out in the garage - the less stuff in the house the less mess they can make. thats my only tip. just keep going through things and getting rid of what you really dont need. and ziploc bags work great for organizing drawers (pens in one, scissors in one, etc)

hang in there girl! you are normal! :)