Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Clear Space

This is the blog post that I wanted to write earlier today, at 12:15 PM or so...

FlyLady says: Notice the clear space.

It's good advice, and I appreciate it and follow it. True, my nature is more prone to noticing the chaotic space, the black spot of imperfection on the otherwise crisp white cloth of my life, the things I didn't get done instead of what I did accomplish. But I know how endless that cycle of perfectionism is, and I *try* to avoid it.

But here is where my thoughts were today:


Oh, pardon me. I didn't mean to yell at you. But better I yell at you, my dear ol' blog, than at my precious ones, my little sweethearts who go behind me and make messes of areas which I've just cleaned up, my dear sons who somehow manage to make me feel like there is no clear space from the top of our house to the bottom.

As I ponder further, I realize that there are some clear spaces. Three, to be exact. One is our minivan which I excitedly cleaned out the night we got home from our vacation ("excitedly" because the clutter and crud in that vehicle was the worst it's ever been and was driving me absolutely nuts). One is Shav's room which I completely organized earlier this week as I switched out the clothes that are too small for him for the ones which fit him (and will fit him as he grows). And one is my stove top which I cleaned and scrubbed and scoured and labored over for quite a long time on Wednesday (after having procrastinated about that job for months). So yes, there are three clear spaces in my house.

If someone should walk into my house and find me standing glassy-eyed in front of my stove, keeping my gaze squarely on it and not glancing at the pile of clutter to the left...or find me laying on the tiger rug in Shav's room, looking all around his room...or find me sitting in the minivan (the parked, turned-off, in-the-garage minivan)...that person will know why: I'm noticing the clear space.

If I dare to let my gaze fall on any other square inch of surface in my house, I'll topple right over the edge of frustration and be pulled under by the wave of feelings of being overwhelmed.


This is the blog post that I'm ready to write now...

Wow! Whaddya know?! There really is clear space in my house! And it's not just those three spaces I mentioned earlier!

As I sit to write this, I can visualize my neatly picked-up living room and my kitchen with all the dishes done. I gain encouragement from the items I deleted from the computer (our computer is so overloaded, and I constantly need to be working at the task of deleting stuff from it...mostly pictures). I feel satisfied with the paperwork I dealt with in my everlasting pile, and the "treasures" I put in the right spots in my boys' scrapbook/notebooks (not real scrapbooks, but they work well for us...but that's a whole other topic). I remember joyfully that my boys had a happy evening and that before I put them in bed, we all sat on the kitchen floor when our neighbor Rosalie came over to show us a butterfly that just hatched a few minutes previously...and Shav laughed and laughed as he watched Tobin's valiant attempts to jump (which resulted in a minuscule amount of space between Tobin's feet and the floor, but it was enough to entertain Shav). I have hope that, since the new FlyLady habit of the month is laundry, I'll do a better job with my Mount Washmore in the coming month than I have in July. I am pleased that I was able to do a small bit of homeschool planning today, enough to get us dipping our toes in the waters of 3rd grade and kindergarten when Monday morning rolls around. I am content.

I am also grateful--so, SO grateful--to this lovely lady...
...without whom I would not have gotten nearly as much accomplished and would not feel nearly as hopeful as I now do.

My dear mother kept Shav at her house for several hours this afternoon so I could focus my energies on housework while Tobin was in bed. (Because Tobin and Shav do not usually have simultaneous naps, I don't often have completely uninterrupted time in which to do my household duties; and although I'm trying to get better at doing those chores with my littlest men around, it's still a whole lot faster to do them alone!) And tonight after supper, she read to them--well, officially, she was reading to David and Tobin, but as you can see in the picture above, she drew a larger crowd than just those two--while I cleaned up the kitchen.

Thank you, Mother. I couldn't have done it without you. And that's the honest-to-goodness, literal truth. No exaggeration, no hyperbole. Just a fact. My heart is much lighter tonight and my house much more organized because of your kindness. THANKS for being available.


Sally said...

How well I know the feelings! You're doing great, I am sure, despite the eternal clutter and jumbled up spaces. Your mom and her helpfulness are certainly one of your special blessings from God. I'm so glad she's willing and able to give a helping hand and entertain your children.

Enjoy your new school year! (Aren't you starting a little early, or is this your normal start-up time?)

Davene said...

Sally, we're not officially starting the new school year just yet; but we are going to ease ourselves into it by doing some Bible and math this coming week. I'm not sure when our official first day will be for this new year...depends on how that rascally old homeschool closet comes along, I guess. :)

I don't know when we usually have our official start. It changes every year! Last year it wasn't until September because of Shav's birth...the year before, we started mid-August...and the year before that, we started mid-June! That was the year that Josiah began kindergarten, and we were all just READY for that so we jumped in really early.

One thing I've realized, however, is that we LOVE finishing in April so we can get an early start on summer fun. The amazing thing is that we were able to finish in April this past year, even though we didn't start until September. Josiah was very motivated, and he doubled up on lessons to get it all finished in April. This year, by starting some stuff early, I'm hoping that we'll be able to easily be done by the end of April. But we shall see.

Anyway, like I said, we're not diving in completely on Monday...just a little bit to whet our appetites! :)

Jolanthe said...

I'm so with you on the clear spaces...they are few and far between at our house and exist for all of 3.5 seconds on average. :)

Patti said...

This is encouraging in so many ways. There are, at this moment, absolutely no clear spaces in my house and it is debilitating. BUT I now feel empowered to do something about that. As soon as I get off the computer...