Some of you may remember my post at the beginning of the school year where I showed you pictures of our homeschool room. Here's a refresher if you've forgotten....
Yeah. That was then. This is now.
The rest of the room has a similar theme, but my lens isn't wide enough.
This is what happens when my children and I are home all day, for six months, every day, together, learning, playing, running around, chasing, dressing up, building, reading and fighting (Oops. Did I just write that?). There are trails of socks, paper airplanes, dress-up clothes, legos, drawings, paper snippets, plastic animals, books, all manner of toys, etc. My point is that it's exceedingly hard to keep things tidy when everyone is home ALL THE TIME.
I get one room organized and as I move onto the next, the kids seem to migrate into the one I just straightened. It goes on like this all day every day. It's the revolving door. No, it's ONE of the revolving doors. The others would be laundry, meal preparation, dishes, cleaning, bill paying, etc. You get the drift. It is the story of our lives. I accept this story. Wholeheartedly. But, that does NOT mean I enjoy the revolving door theme. Most days, not so much.
I do enjoy the revolving doors that are made up of things like baby smiles, little girl hugs, flashing big boy grins and giggles. Those I can handle just fine. Okay- back to how my house is a mess.
I rarely pick up a toy anymore. I stopped being a sucker (no offense if you still pick up toys) a long time ago. Instead I have the kids clean up their toys. A fabulous time for this is just prior to TV time (which is mostly videos at our house). If they know they can't watch until everything is picked up to my liking, they can be very industrious.
I've had to make some internal changes over the years. I used to be an incredible neat freak. I would dust and vacuum every week when Jamey and I were first married- when it was ONLY US! It certainly didn't need it. Now I dust when company is coming. I do vacuum a lot. I still can't stand a dirty floor. Toilets? Well, let's not talk about those right now. Ask me about those tomorrow. Or the next day. In a nut shell, I have been able to let go of a lot.
My biggest challenge these days is finding a home for all the kids' toys and crafts. Just before Christmas each year, the kids and I go through all their toys and make room in the toy cabinets for their Christmas presents. We donate their old toys. This frees up space and works great, but they accumulate a lot through out the year, too. Here is a great post about keeping your house in order. I've started adopting some of her tactics and things are looking better around here.
I've adapted somewhat to the clutter that comes with three children (and a husband), but scenes like the one above make my skin crawl for a couple reasons. I need to get a better handle.
Part Two: A Nagging Heart
So, here is what I find sad. That this is a "problem". It seems ridiculous to complain about all the nice things and toys our children have to play with that may be a challenge to keep organized and put away. But that's not the part that is really sad to me.
What really makes me sad is that our kids have all this stuff in the first place. The money that has been spent on their entertainment could feed a lot of hungry kids who are playing with sticks and stones in the dirt. We've played a huge part in this ourselves. We hold birthday parties. We make up Christmas lists, carrying out our parenting duties like (what seems like) everyone else.
Don't get me wrong. I want more for my kids than sticks and stones, but how are they going to grow up having compassion if they can't relate at all? And how are they going to reconcile their cushy lives with the lives they'll learn of as they grow older?
Stuff is stuff. It does not make children truly happy. It does not make them feel loved. Not in the ways I want my children to be happy and to feel love. I want them to be happy for and feel love for others. I don't want them to expect to be handed everything they want and wish for. That's not life for most of the people on this planet.
What am I saying? I guess I'm saying I wish things were different. I pray for the courage to set limits, to put values ahead of what would be the easier path to take. I want to be obedient to this nagging in my heart which says all this stuff is not right. Revolving door aside. Pin It