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Friday, 31 August 2012

You Can't Do It All, All The Time...

Do you ever feel like you're maybe keeping on top of things, perhaps even making headway, and then suddenly have your illusions shattered and find yourself plopped back into reality?

That was certainly my experience last week. I was feeling pretty good about my productivity and domestic organizing: somehow I was keeping on top of the dishes (well, within a day or two), holding my own against the laundry, accomplishing some culinary feats of skill, making inroads into the pervasive clutter and not yelling (too much)!

I must have been on a high. I certainly developed visions of grandeur: a clean house --dusted, vacuumed, toilets shining-- and tidy kitchen; creative and nutritious home-cooked meals (no more cereal for dinner! and, why, I think I should start baking my own bread!); abundant clean clothes with no articles left to languish eternally in the hamper; and a place for everything and everything in it's place. Foolishness, I know...

Looking back on these euphoric days, I can see now the warning signs of an imminent reality-check. The newly-bought labels for the kids' toy bins that wouldn't stick and whose curling edges invited swift peeling off by curious little fingers. Laundry going up on the line and not coming down until after it had been rained on, and dried, and rained on again. And, of course, my own single-minded focus on "accomplishing things;" ah, that's a slippery slope, that one!

The first disruption of my domestic-diva bliss was (as is so often the case) illness. Nothing renders your brain mushy or saps your energy more decisively than staying up all night with a sick child, am I right? Then multiply that a few times as the virus made its rounds.

The ultimate sign that my streak of efficiency was finished was when I dumped an entire casserole into the garbage. I had cooked it before we all fell ill, carefully using up some leftovers to boot, and it had remained untouched for the better part of a week while we shunned solid food. When I finally went to serve it for dinner, I detected an unappetizing aroma. The whole thing had gone bad.

As I spooned the offensive casserole into the bin outside, I thought about how it illustrated the fact that we can't truly be in control, fully organized, on top of everything, especially when it comes to family life. Too many variables, too many rogue agents, too many germs.

Today, I looked around our home with the dishes piled in the sink, pet fur massed in the corners, homeless bits and bobs blanketing random surfaces, stacks of clean laundry abandoned on their way upstairs and heaps of dirty clothes strategically collected along the baseboards. For all intents, it appeared as if my efficient streak had never happened. Ah, well, the memory remains, which is proof that it was real. Right?


  1. Great post. My reality check is always illness. No matter how far ahead a virus which takes over one or four puts us two steps behind. It actually makes me realize what is important, good health. Happy labour day weekend!

  2. Yes, good health makes everything easier. That said, it seems that sometimes we're destined to not have that solid base (at least for a season or two)! Thanks for the comment!


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