Thursday, March 29, 2012

Organizational Skills (or lack thereof)

I am a messy person.

I hate to clean and it shows.  I am a very busy person so most people are surprised when I classify myself as "lazy".  I am so busy in fact, that many of my friends wonder how I keep everything in the air.

It's simple.  I do nothing at home.

I love to bake and cook.  There is nothing more fun to me than creating a good meal from scratch, right down making the noodles from flour, egg and milk instead of a box.  But, when the time comes to clean up the mess, I am the one who says, "Oh, I'll get to it in the morning."  But, I never do.

I love clothes.  In fact, much to my personal shame, I have become a clotheshorse.  When all of my clothes are clean, I don't have enough closet and drawer space to put them all away.  I still have bags packed with clothing from the last time we moved, almost two years ago, that haven't seen the light of day since!  I have to admit, there are times when I have "needed a new outfit" when what I really needed was to excavate my hamper and wash a load of laundry.

I keep all kinds of papers.  One never knows when the program from last year's Easter Vigil might come in handy, but instead of putting it in to a file where I will be able to find it immediately when I need it next, it goes into a pile on the piano.  From there, the cats knock it to the floor, along with all the mail from last week that my son put on the piano so I wouldn't miss it.  And, since I am too busy to stop to pick it up to make sure there's nothing important in that pile, the electric bill gets lost and remembered only when the man shows up at my door to turn off the power.

Such are my housekeeping skills.  I totally fail at being a housewife.

I don't do this in any other place.  At work, I have come to be regarded as a well-organized and responsible person.  When I left my job as a Customer Service Coodinator, they begged me to stay because I was very good at what I did.  In that job, I made sure that bills were paid, people were sent to fix things, parts were ordered, people were called and everything was ready for crews to go out of town: cars rented/serviced, hotels booked, and parts and statements at the ready. And all done with a smile.

Why can't I do it here at home?  What is so different here from running an office or a music program?

What's different is this:  If I don't do it at home, no one is going to fire me.  There is no imperative to perform because, if it doesn't get done, someone saves me from my mistakes.  This is a huge problem because it's much deeper than just having a messy house.  This failing of mine affects everything and everyone that I touch.

The tools I have developed for dealing with my distaste for housework are bankrupting my family.  Rather than face down a sink full of dishes after a good meal, we eat out.  Often.  Far too often.  And, in addition to being expensive, it's been pretty hard on our health.  Rather than mess with doing the laundry or mending something that has been torn, off I go to the store for replacement.  Rather than keep my bills organized, I end up paying for re-connection fees and late penalties.  All of this, in turn, leads to more money going out than we have coming in.

It's not that we have no money.  We are not well-off by anyone's standard, but there is just enough.  But not if I am going to be so disorganized about handling my duties as a grown-up.

Taking care of the home must come first. It's like the commonly used analogy of the people on the plane:  When the cabin loses pressure and the oxygen masks drop out of the ceiling, who gets the oxygen mask first, you or your child?  You do, because if you're passed out from lack of oxygen, you can't help your child.  If I am worried about whether the power is going to be on when I get home, I am not concentrating on the task at hand when I am out.  Not only that, but if I am not well rested and recharged from being at home, I am not giving my best to the world.

It's time to be a grown-up and run my house as if it mattered.  Because it does.

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