A few months ago, I thought about the dreams I had once had as a mother. I had envisioned myself immersing myself in my children’s music studies, hosting geography games for the neighborhood, and reading to my children every night from the best books. I realized that a lot of these dreams were not happening. I still wanted to do these things with my children, but I couldn’t find time. I felt so overwhelmed just managing the house and keeping everyone clean and fed.
Housework alone is a full-time job. In the book, A Housekeeper is Cheaper than a Divorce, Kathy Sherman cites studies that show that the average stay-at-home mom spends 39 hours a week on housework and the average working mom spends 32 hours a week doing housework. This does not include any time caring for children. No wonder we feel so overwhelmed. We’re simultaneously doing two full-time jobs.
Believe me. I have tried to become more efficient. Isn’t increased efficiency always the solution? I have had two professional organizers help me organize my home from top to bottom. While my home looked more organized, I found that some of my personal habits made it hard to stay on top of things. While I had a great laundry system, I still left my clothes on the bed. While I bought a great planner, I still kept losing it. And while we had a great closet system, nobody put things back where they were supposed to go.
I’m looking at organization a little bit differently this time. I know that I’m going to have to dig deeper and work harder. To see permanent change, I’m going to have to:
- Establish my priorities. I can’t be so obsessed with my clean refrigerator that I forget to play Uno with Ricky.
- Seek help. I can’t do this alone, and I’m going to need to pray and seek out the wisdom of others. I also can no longer see a successful woman as a threat, but as a potential teacher. I hope you’ll help me too.
- Creat better habits. These habits will need to correlate with the part of my life I am organizing. A habit takes 21 days to form so I can’t get ahead of myself.
- Seek for permanent structural changes. I need to create changes that will make things permanently easier for me in the future.
- Make these organizational changes cyclical. Every year I want to focus on four areas: personal, family, finance, and home organization. I’ll spend roughly three months on each area. The next year, I’ll start all over again, fine-tuning and working on good habits.
I’m really excited about this. Maybe you’ll join me or create your own program. I’d love to hear what you’re doing and what’s working for you. Tomorrow, I’ll start with habit one.