Cleaning out my closets

This is a theme for me these days.  Our house, for the past six months, has been in a constant state of change/upheaval/mess.

First came the renter in October, so the office went buh-bye. So did our dining room, which became the new office. So did the TV room, which became the new dining room. The living room stayed the same! Woo hoo! Good news!

The bad news… we had to get rid of 600 square feet worth of junk, not to mention that the kids had to choose what they valued most from their  treasures in the TV room and consolidate it into their shared bedroom. Which has not shelves.

Which meant hallway linen closets had to be rearranged. (Do we really need 923 towels from 1974? I think not.)

It also meant that the kids had to throw out some of their treasures when it all didn’t fit in the hallway closet.

There were, to say the least, lots of tears, fits, anxiety and tantrums. I eventually wiped the kids’ eyes though and helped them see this as a learning experience. Tourette truly taught me this.

Ask any of my friends, and they will tell you that when Stink was first diagnosed, I was a basket case. Every tic was cause for alarm bells. No doctor could see me fast enough. No amount of “It’ll be OK” shoulder rubbing would suffice. I wanted perfection (no tics) and I wanted it immediately.

Of course, this didn’t work. I had to come up with a better game plan. And while it wasn’t easy, I started viewing his diagnosis as a marathon, not a sprint. I started having joy in the process. I mean, if you’re going to embark on killing your family with gluten-free bread, why not subscribe to Pandora and teach your kids the art of show tunes while you bake? If you’re going to sit in traffic for 2 hours on the way to UCLA, why not get Harry Potter on tape or count sky scrapers and explain what it means to be an architect or bring your mom along who can point out the area of UCLA she used to work in back in the days of the covered wagon? (Sorry, Mom. I had to.)

I say all this because, finally… dare I type this… my house is sliding into place again. And with that place — and space — I am finding peace. But it wasn’t instantaneous. It took patience and time and work and, yeah, a few tears. But no one could do it but me. I had to set the tone — for my kids, my husband, my friends (who pitched in) and for, most important of all, ME.

It seems that as women we are bombarded with what it means to run a tight home and have successful kids. But what is the point of perfectly waxed floors and an organizational system to rival Martha Stewart — along with a tic-free child — if we are miserable in the process? Why not submit sometimes to the chaos and give yourself the grace that you, your child, your home – YOUR LIFE – is a work in progress?

And then, rather than berating yourself for your less that stellar outcome or getting into credit card debt for perfection that doesn’t exist, you can make slow and steady progress, small and steady goals, and look back over your progress and think, “Damn, I’m really growing as a person! Nice job, me!”

What about you? Whatcha thinking? I want to know!

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