I’m a self professed “creative” and while I really believe that I thrive in an organized environment, organization does not come naturally to me. I am constantly battling a mess in some area of my home or life.
If you saw the inside of my car, and compared it to the inside of my dad’s car, you’d understand that I am just genetically pre-disposed to being messy. Turns out passenger seats full of books, and shoes, and umbrellas, and wrappers, and old mail are hereditary. Pretty sure that the fact that I often refer to our playroom as “The Pit of Despair” is not a good sign and is probably very confusing to visitors. But at the same time, I have actual dreams about empty kitchen counters and color coded toy shelves. Those things just happen to be completely unattainable for me.
The problem is that as a mom, these little idiosyncrasies that might be endearing if I were the funny well-intentioned best friend in a rom-com, pose a big problem in my day-to-day life.
I am prone to loosing birthday party invitations and scrambling at the last minute to figure out the details. I am constantly running late because I’ve misplaced the keys (again). I make multiple trips to the grocery store in a single week because my grocery list is spread across eleven different sticky notes that are either A) crumpled at the bottom of my purse that’s the size of an overnight bag, or B) mixed up on my desk with other post-it notes about other things I need to get done, ensuring that every time I go to the store I forget at least one item. And then there was that ONE TIME I showed up to a 3:00 appointment early, at 2:50 (hooray!) it was only to find out that the appointment had actually been for 3:30…the day before. Oops. It’s not pretty.
I haven’t always been this way. OK that’s not actually true. I have always been this way, it’s just that now with two kids, and a dog, and a husband, and a business, and laundry (so much laundry!) it’s gotten way worse. Busy doesn’t even begin to describe it, and that’s a feeling I think every mom can relate to at some point. My issue is that I often find myself unable to implement the basic strategies that seem to come so naturally to other moms. Like, you know, writing in a planner, or meal planning, or unpacking my suitcase from the trip we took two weeks ago. Turns out procrastination is another thing I do well.
Knowing one needs to change and actually changing are two very different beasts.
I often joke with my husband that I just don’t SEE the mess. And that’s true, lots of times I just don’t. I mean unless people are coming over, and then even the most enthusiastic cleaning sesh will only bring us to “please don’t let them open that closet” status.
But I’m trying. I’ve committed to cleaning 1o minutes a day (and, for those of you who aren’t messy I realize how silly that must sound) but I mark it on the calendar, the Seinfeld Method if you will, and then as long as I have those marks on the calendar I’m doing my job and making progress.
I also set part of Sunday aside for planning the week. A basic, loose plan, because part of my struggle is that I want to be free to change the plan at the last minute if necessary (“I’m a free bird!”). I don’t want to feel too boxed into a routine. So I get a loose idea down in my planner, just to have a visual of the week ahead, meals I intend to cook (even if I don’t) etc., which helps the week flow with a little less chaos.
I’ve learned a few things on this journey to become more organized.
The first requires constant reminding, and might be my new personal mantra: “I can do hard things” (gosh is there a better mantra? Maybe I should change my mantra. Let me just google mom mantr….NO. Focus!) “I can do hard things”, like planning on a Sunday when I’d rather be playing with the kids (or googling fun games to play with the kids).
I’ve also learned (yeah, it took me this long to really let this one sink in): Laundry is actually 4 STEPS: Wash, Dry, Fold, PUT AWAY. 4 steps. Who knew? Living out of a laundry basket is not ideal, and darn that fourth step gets me every time.
Baby steps. Hopefully one day if we pass on the street I won’t be the one with stickers on my shirt, digging through a purse for a lost phone with one hand, while holding the old cheese sticks and mismatched socks (how did that get in there?) that I’ve dredged from the depths of said purse with the other.
But I can’t make any promises.