Okay, really quickly, for my own accountability, more than anything, I want to give a housecleaning update.
Things are moving along. The "daily chores" are habit enough that I never skip them. It's great especially for days when my energy is very low (which happens) or when the house is drowning in clutter because it gives me a place to start when I feel overwhelmed.
I always, always start with the kitchen. In the morning, I start there, usually to unload the dishwasher and just wipe counters after preparing breakfast for Ada and John. And in the afternoon before dinner prep, I make sure that I am starting with a clean kitchen. It's working, because these days you would rarely walk into my house and see a messy kitchen. It is my "constant" in the sea of clutter ;) Granted, I am still a messy person, which means, after dinner it's a disaster, because I am a "messy cooker." Some things just may never change.
The rest of the routine in the morning, is after I have checked the kitchen and cleaned it if needed, I start a load of laundry and make the beds. Then, I keep the laundry going all day. When a load is dry, I put the clean clothes on Ada's bed, and I fold them. I wait until the end of the day to put them all away. These are the three things that are sticking--kitchen, beds, and laundry.
I still don't have a great solution for toy clutter. The big picture is that I need to get rid of lots of toys. The thing there is making the time to sit down and do that after the kids are in bed so that they can't fuss about it. I am trying different things right now--having certain points in the day when we all clean up, cleaning up any time we leave the house, etc. etc. Reality is, we are usually rushing out the door, though, and it doesn't always work out. I hate the 5:00 hour when there are toys everywhere, and I am exhausted, and I need to cook dinner. I get very overwhelmed at that point in the day, and I usually lose my temper--to be really honest ;) Especially when I get the phone call that Scott will be working late.
So, the toy clutter is an ongoing battle. I pray about it a lot, trying to figure out how much is just part of this season of life and how much is, in fact, in my control. Lately though, I would rather be okay with the clutter than yell at my children. So, at 5:00, I pray and remind myself that toys everywhere is not damaging to my children--yelling at them is.
The thing that I have been trying to implement for a couple of weeks and that I think is going to stick, is "daily jobs." I am hoping these will become as automatic as the everyday chores. On Mondays I clean the bathroom, on Tuesdays change all the sheets, on Wednesdays mop kitchen and laundry room floor, on Thursdays clean the front porch, and on Fridays grocery store so no extra jobs. Saturday is vacuum house and clean out cars, and of course, Sunday is rest. I just want some automatic things happening so that I don't waste energy trying to decide if I should do a certain job on a certain day. I just want to do it, and it be done. If that makes sense?
So there is where we are. I can definitely see a huge improvement over six months ago, and I don't feel nearly as buried under the burden of getting my house clean. I just continue to pray that the Lord will help me to do this job well and maintain my sanity in the process ;)