Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I am SOOOO real... it HURTS!

I'm getting ready to be totally real with you -- lest you think I'm perfect, organized, and ... well ... perfect.

This past Sunday, a friend of mine confessed to me after church that she felt so much pressure to be a superduperdeeorganized mom like many of the blogs portray. She felt like she wasn't being all she could be and basically, measured short.

I'll take a few seconds to allow you to get passed the fact that I actually do have friends in real-life.

Anyway, I empathized with her, because I know of what she complaineth (I mean... confesseth), because I've been there too. Let me give you some background on her life ...

She is a SAHM with three kids (one is a special needs child) all under the age of 5. She homeschools her oldest. Her home is clean and organized, her children are well loved and cared for, and she is involved in church. Folks, as you can see... her hands are full!! She is indeed, superwoman.

Now -- admittedly, there ARE people that have the gift of organization, have the same or similar type of family life, and are able to stay on top of everything. I know there are. My mom is a great example -- she has always had the gift of organization, and she can take chaos and turn it into order. Laura is another great example of that. And while she is super organized, she's a very encouraging, and supportive person, and she is so helpful in motivating people to tackle tough jobs. She does it with a spirit of love and gentleness and is TOTALLY non judgmental and completely Christ-like. Her skill of organization is a gift... and I'm willing to bet she has areas of weakness she would readily share.

I, however, am NOT one of those organized people that can look at a pile of mess and make a wall of organization out of it. I would LOVE to be, and my friend admitted the same thing, but sadly, I doubt I'll ever be. I look at a mess, and get totally overwhelmed. TOTALLY. I don't even know how to begin tackling stuff like that -- it takes me a while to work up to it and to come up with a game plan. Just so you know -- Laura has personally been a great help in this front. She always has awesome tips on her blog, and she's just an email away. It is so good to know that there is support and encouragement out there.

But it dawned on me that if two of us were voicing our desire to be something we're not, then there must be many out there! So, here's my advice to you (which I shared with my friend):

"God desires us to be orderly, clean people. When there is chaos in our lives, it becomes more difficult for us to focus ourselves on Him, or even to HEAR Him or communicate with Him. Its true. Chaos equals distraction. Trust me. So, while I wish I had an organizational chromosome,
I don't, and many other women don't either.

It is important that we strive to be the women God made us, honing our gifts for HIS glory, but maintaining a semblance of order in our homes."

And you can quote me on this!!

Now, I'm not giving you a green light to be filthy people -- heaven's no -- but there are some common sense things we need in our homes that I've learned by both my parents, and organizing friends like Laura and Barbara (praise God for women like them!!!):
  1. A place for everything, and everything in its place
  2. Cleanliness
  3. Orderly living
  4. LESS is more
Notice, I did not say perfectly organized, and I'm sure Laura would agree. Further, I told my friend that what gifts God has given some, he hasn't given all (if that makes any sense with my poor grammatical structure). I truly think God has given some people the gift of being super organized to help motivate people like me -- and in turn, God has given me gifts that they lack in that allows me to compliment them. Sadly, though -- despite Laura's best efforts to encourage me, I did not get this done in time for her Monthly Organizing Roundup. I just couldn't bring myself to take pictures of my room and closet, let alone ... SHARE them with anyone! Oh, the shame.

Having said that... my parents are on their way from North Carolina for a week-long visit... can you guess where I'm going with this?

RIGHT!! I cleaned and organized! It took me 5 hours to clean out and organize my closet. And, NO, I did NOT take pictures -- war are totally NOT doing a tour of homes right now! My bedroom was so disgusting, my bathroom even worse. My husband scrubbed our bathroom while I waded through hip-high piles of clothing, etc. I took out all my winter stuff, put in my spring and summer clothes, got rid of two bags worth of old clothing and shoes, and everything is beautifully folded, color coded and lined up. There's a place for everything. My room is tidy and the carpet was steam cleaned by my father-in-law. My mother-in-law helped by folding laundry for me, and watched Hunter for us. We spent about 5 more hours cleaning and putting in order the rest of the house with the exception of two rooms -- my living room, which has all my yard sale stuff, and our den, which is pretty much a storage room right now. My father-in-law steam cleaned our family room carpet too. Oh, how the black water did flow. Who knew apple juice and a dog could cause so many stains?

When we finally collapsed in bed late last night, I sighed heavily and said, "well, at least we've got another year." To which he said, "another year for what?" And I replied, "another year before we have to clean again." OH I JEST. Actually, I told him that even though my back was killllllling me, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my chest. My home is clean, my room is clean-ish, and I feel much better now. There was just no excuse for the chaotic state I had allowed our home to get into. I'm on a roll now, ladies! My next goals: removing clutter, simplifying our lives, getting rid of knick-knacks. I'm half way there.

The moral of this whole convoluted story? If I have a place for things, and put things away where they belong, I won't have this massive headache of a deep clean to do, and I wont have to sacrifice over 10 hours of my life to cleaning in one crazy marathon. Of course, this is the fourth time in 10 months that we've steam cleaned our carpet...

You can go HERE to see other people's messy closets...


Anonymous said...

I used to get so frustrated with my lack of organization, and still do sometimes, but it helped me to think of it as an area of growth rather than a destination to arrive at. I'm learning, I'm better at it than I was 20 years ago, but there are still more areas to conquer.

Laura said...

Oh my sweet Gibee, what a beautiful heartfelt post you've written here. I do think you are being a bit hard on yourself though. Gosh I remember when I worked full-time outside of the home. IT WAS HARD, no doubt about it. At the end of a long day you are tired and by the time you get your little guy into bed you are ready to just go to bed yourself. I remember it well. The motivation just isn't there. Yet look how motivated you got when you knew your parents were coming to visit. You got it done! Once you got started, I'm sure it was easier to keep going.

I don't necessarily think there is an organizing gene that we're born with. I've learned to love organizing for how much easier it makes my life. I love that feeling of not carrying the weight on my shoulders that you described.

There are things that I never thought I would every enjoy doing, like baking for instance. I've figured out it was because my expectations were always too high - if it couldn't be perfect I didn't want to do it. Turns out that a few burnt cookies here and there never hurt anyone and I've kept at it. I'm slowly learning to enjoy the process, not because they always turn out, but because I'm learning to appreciate the lesson God is trying to teach me and the happy faces of my family make the agony of getting to the end result worth it.

As you are attacking your clutter, visualize how much easier things will be with less stuff. Cleaning is easier, organizing is easier, less time on those things means more time for things you do enjoy. When deciding to get rid of stuff, think of it like a bandaid, yes it will hurt for a bit but soon the pain will be forgotten and you will eventually breathe a sigh of relief that it's gone.

This advice is for myself too, I keep procrastinating the cleaning of my kitchen floor. Thinking about the job sometimes is worse than the job itself.

One day at a time my friend, that's all we can do!

GiBee said...

See what I mean? Laura is so amazing. Y'all just HAVE to visit her website!! http://orgjunkie.com/

Beth/Mom2TwoVikings said...

Our mantra around here over and over when either DaHubby and I feel the need to compare or compete: will this matter in 20 years?

And, I've learned after 40 years of feeling the misfit that I am to grasp the Truth that God made me this way and loves me just WHERE I am and just AS I am.

And, just as you said, that is not a cop-out to be messy but it injects a little grace into situations where I hear that internal voice saying I don't measure up.

God loves ME and my ministries to my family and those I participate in which will hopefully flower to His glory are WAY more important than maintain MY "glory" and the mirage of being the super-mom! LOL

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