Monday, March 12, 2012

Sometimes Something Has Got To Give

Someone came to my house last week unexpectedly. As she stood in the hall, I cringed. She had a clear view of the overflowing boxes that are part of a playroom reorganization project I never finished, the toys spread across both the living room floor and the havoc in my home office. I said what I always do when faced with messy home guilt.

"Sorry, it is so messy. I've been very busy this week and am in the middle of reorganizing."  
It's a believable excuse. I work full time, have a 3 and 6 year old, an slight Disney obsession, blog posts to write, a a novel I'm trying to finish and , oh yes, a husband who occasionally likes to spend time with me. Life is busy. So although I am not even close to a hoarder, cluttered is an apt description of my house right now. And last week, and maybe even last month. After she left, I swore (once again) that this weekend would be the weekend, I would get it all done. My home would be immaculately organized.

The days ticked down to the weekend. My husband had to work that Saturday. I found myself musing over what to do with the kids. Disney? Busch Garden? A trip to the park? A movie? Maybe a nice arts and craft project? So many fun options. Then I looked at the pile of boxes, and the toys, and my half-done office. I really needed to organize this weekend, right? Well no.

Back in February, I listed my promises to myself.  When I wrote the list, I wasn't trying to make resolutions. I wanted to pick things that really mattered to me and would make my life better in 2012.

Both of these made the list:
  • I promise to appreciate the moments I have with my children even when they are driving me crazy. They are ours for too little time and tomorrow will come before I am ready.
  • I promise to treasure my relationships. Family, friends, partners, loves it what life is really about.
Here are a few things that didn't make the list:
  • Skydiving
  • Making Fashion Police's best dressed list
  • Cooking gourmet meals every night (Okay, cooking every night didn't make the list either)
  • A home that looked like the pages of Better Home and Gardens

In the end, we didn't do anything exciting that weekend. I played princess with my daughter and helped her make a card for Grandma. I helped my son find movies  to watch about strange prehistoric beasts and sea monsters. And yes, we did clean out two of those scary, overflowing toy boxes. I turned it into a game where the kids had to choose keep, throw away or donate.We all had a great time as they competed for the "keep" items.

As the weekend came to an end, I realized that when I made promises to myself, I established the priorities in my life. And I have to make time for those priorities. Years from now, I won't be worrying about what my house looked like when that visitor showed up. I probably won't even remember. But I will remember my daughter dancing in her princess dress. I will remember my son earnestly explaining the power of the Terror Bird. And  I will wish I had just one more day like that before they grew up.

In the end sometimes something has got to give, so make up sure you make the right choice.

What are your priorities? Are some negotiable? Are some set in stone?  What is the "give" in your house? Is it housework like me or is your house always perfect neat? (If it is, please lie to me!) Do you give up tv? Is a Disney day worth skipping cleaning? (This one is a trick question. The only answer to that one is an emphatic yes, unless you have house guests the next day!)


  1. But I WAAANNNT a clean house! I wonder how well roomba does with pet hair?

    1. I want clean too, but I guess I can live with cluttered. Unless we find that cleaning fairy. I knew someone who had a roomba a few years ago and she wasn't impressed, but they are still being sold. Maybe they got better?