I tend to spend quite a bit of time thinking things over before I do anything about them, especially if those things are important. I like spontaneity, but I’m a better planner. Having said as much, I explained to my family the other evening about how I have spent several days ruminating on multiple things and arrived at a conclusion: these several things all stem from one, single thing.
Allow me to explain.
I am not a neat freak. I prefer things to be neat and tidy, and I am a little (ha ha) obsessive about organization, but unfortunately, my house has never, ever reflected these tendencies. If I was on my own, I would most likely have no problem making sure my living space…well…lived up to my particular standards. But I am not on my own. I have a husband and two children. Let me just say: it's hard to be two adults raising two children in a barely-over-1000-square-foot home with one potty.
Anyone with children understands no matter how old those children are, you always seem to be cleaning up after them in one way or another. They also tend to go right behind you to wreak havoc on any spot you just cleaned. It is their way. Up until now, I've barely kept my head above water when it comes to the state of my house. Ok, who am I kidding? My house is a DISASTER AREA! No, really – it is. I could make the full-time job excuse, but said excuse would be labeled avoidance.
Boxes are stacked in the living room due to items we have no place to store, yet, for whatever reason, refuse to get rid of. We are not hoarders by any stretch of the imagination, but to the innocent bystander it may easily be misinterpreted. With regard to clothes, we lack storage of the closet kind and of the dresser kind, too. Granted, we desperately need to go through our clothes (all of us) and reduce, reuse, recycle. Kids grow. Clothes simply stop fitting. Why, please tell me, do we need to keep the ones which no longer fit? You get the picture.
The washing machine complains about every load we feed it and expresses its displeasure by leaking water all over the kitchen floor. The dryer sneakily vents warm air around the seams at the door and in other places it thinks we don't know about. The refrigerator is cracked and broken in several places. Who can afford to replace three major appliances at once, might I ask? Certainly not I. (Sorry – just needed one small paragraph to whine a little bit. I’m done now.)
Anyway – last night I read aloud a letter I had written to my family about some desperately needed changes within our family and with our daily routine. Up until now, we have been inconsistent with our kids about chores they are responsible for. Those inconsistencies ended last night. Each kid (adult kids included) now has a clearly-defined list of expectations. Mommy (that’s me) also made it clear there would be no more excuses allowed. This sounds harsh, but it was presented in a positive light; the best way I knew how: by writing it out. Here's just one small portion of the letter, shown to you as an example:
"I am sorry, but I will no longer be OK with complaining or excuses. This is our family. This is our home. We are all responsible. We are a team. I would be perfectly happy to get rid of it all and start from scratch, but I don’t think that will be necessary. I think we can do it!"
We'll see how well this goes over, but I know very well I made an impression on everyone. I am hoping 2015 can be a year of good, positive changes, and one of those changes will be making our home into a place not just where we sleep, but where we live.