"Cleaning up after children is like shoveling in a blizzard."
Ever feel that way? That's where I've been lately. Toys are strewn everywhere. Laundry is piled up to the ceiling. There seems to be no end to the dishes. No matter how much I manage to clean up, there's always another mess waiting for me.
Last Saturday, hubs took the kids out to play, and I spent two hours cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom. It was sparkling-beautiful by the time I was finished.
And then, the family returned for lunch.
In 10 minutes, I watched as a whirlwind tore through my beautiful kitchen. Coats were shed, food taken out, dishes piled up. When it was all said and done, I felt like crying.
Sometimes it's hard to shake the feeling that I'm losing the battle and the war.
So, I've been giving a lot of thought to blizzards this week. And, I've come to a few realizations that have made coping with these small "life blizzards" a little easier.
1. Blizzards last only for a season. Unless you live in Antarctica, blizzards happen in winter. Then, they disappear for the rest of the year. In much the same way, the blizzards of chaos overtaking my home these days are also temporary. With three kids age 6 and under, I happen to be receiving a lot of snowfall right now. But, it helps to remember it won't last forever.
2. When the weather is extreme, accept the fact that life won't be perfect. Blizzards bring sub-zero temps, wicked wind, messy roads and slow travel time. That's the nature of a blizzard. When I'm facing a "life blizzard," there are going to be uncomfortable moments. There are going to be moments of inconvenience. I'm not going to be able to accomplish all I want/need to do. It's the nature of the beast. I need to stop fighting it and temporarily lower my standards. Then, go back and review #1.
3. Before you roll up your sleeves, wait for a break in the storm. This might be obvious but, overwhelmed with the chaos, I find myself breaking this rule. I wouldn't try to clear the driveway at the exact moment snow is falling the hardest. That would be counter-productive. In the same way, when chaos is the order of the day at my house, that is not the time to be tackling a big organizational project (unless I want a one-way trip to insanity.) It's best to have my husband take the kids for the day, hire a babysitter, or schedule a play date at someone else's house. Then, use that quiet time to get things cleared away.
4. Sometimes, you just have to set aside your shovel and jump in. We don't get a lot of snow in Georgia. So, on the odd occasion when a storm does come our way, the last thing we think about is clearing the driveway. Instead, we head out to play. Remember #1? Blizzards don't last forever. There are times when, really, it just pays to embrace the chaos. My kids won't always be this young. They won't always want to play with me. When I scan my family room and see 500 toys strewn across the floor, I can bemoan the mess, or I can take the opportunity to temporarily "give up," jump in and play with my kids. I can't let my need to "fix the chaos" overwhelm me to the point where I can't occasionally cut loose and have fun.
So, that's what I've learned this week. Interested in what other folks learned? Head over to Musings of a Housewife for the What I Learned This Week Carnival.