Organization Arts Should Be A School Subject

One of the things I really struggle with is organization. I used to think that I was sufficiently organized, but I was wrong. I really don’t know where I got that notion because my bags would have been a tell-tale sign that I was anything but. My bags have always been like a junk holder. When I was a student, there were sometimes even pencil shavings collecting at the bottom, and they stayed there until I had to switch backpacks.

I remember watching “Amelie” and noting that her parents were similar to each other in their hobby of cleaning and organizing their things (her purse for the mother, and his toolbox for the father) and pronouncing the characters nuts in my mind. I thought, “Who enjoyed doing that?” As it turned out, lots of people did, and their bags didn’t have months-old candy wrappers and cracker crumbs littering the bottom.

But I was a great student and, later on, worker, always keeping track of responsibilities. I was always caught up on my tasks. I was always the first one to submit requirements. And I was prepared for anything. My bag had staplers, punchers, glue, Swiss knife, pepper spray… and dried out highlighting markers, expired pain relievers, no-longer-wet wipes, etc. that I never thought to get rid of when they were no longer useful.

My room was the same. My parents had helpers all the time I was growing up, so when I came home to it, it was always clean and tidy. I had no idea what it took to keep it that way. When I started living on my own, I found out that the carpet didn’t vacuum itself, that my vanity didn’t sort itself out or dust itself, that the bed didn’t make itself…

I didn’t get the right training for the practicalities of “real” life, which is why I found it so hard to cope when I finally got to that point. Before that, I only ever had to worry about grades. Now, I wonder if I would had been such a good student if I had chores and other concerns to take care of as well.

Now, that I’m older with my own family, multitasking and staying on top of things are something I really struggle with. I often find myself inadequate and simply ill-equipped to don the many hats I have. I constantly find myself foundering as I try to fulfill my roles as a home manager, a homeschool mom, a mom of a boy with special needs, a breastfeeding mom of a very needy baby, and a part-time writer. There are other neglected hats as well, such as that of a wife and that of my own person. Good luck to me finding the energy and hours to eke out effort toward those.

I want to be like those pioneer, homesteading women, but I don’t want to burn myself out and let my family suffer while I find my way. I’ve never been good at compromising, especially with myself, but I have to learn how to bend, especially in the face of my shortcomings.

Fortunately, the years have a way of mellowing people and in my case, my arrogance has subsided and I’m no longer inclined to think that I’m “all that”. I know my strengths and weaknesses better now. I know I could use a cleaning lady and a nanny. I know that I should hire an event planner for birthdays and other major celebrations. I certainly know that I don’t have it in me to be a professional organizer. I think I have conceded defeat, which is why I am now seeking help.

The year looks brighter. I think it will no longer feel like I’m always fighting to keep my neck above the water. I’m hopeful that the help I’m looking forward to will allow a huge difference in term of my efficiency, especially when it comes to being the best mom that I can be for my kids.

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