Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Work, Home and Family - What's Your One 'Thing'?

Part of being a wife and mom working outside of my home is that some things just don't get done. Time to really clean out (purge the stuff en-mass) and clean (wash walls, polish furniture, etc.) is non-existent during the semesters for me. I spend my time either on family things or on school plus basic upkeep and daily chores (dishes, laundry, the bathroom, etc.).

I find that I'm usually pretty content with this if I take care of one thing: Keeping my large flat surfaces clear.

That means making the beds first thing in the morning and having the coffee table, kitchen table and my kitchen counter (all 11 ft 1 in of it!) clear when I go to bed at night. I can ignore the mess on the end table or the pile of books in the corner as long as the large surfaces my eyes land on are clean and clear.

One of the things that has helped me so much on my journey as a working outside of my home wife and mother is to pick what's important and let the rest go. Do I really care if the tops of my bookcases are dusty? No. Do I really care of my windows are spot free? No. Do I really care if there are books waiting to be read in a pile next to my favorite chair (or John's favorite chair)? No. As long as I can set my cup of coffee down or spread my papers out on the table or set the table and make dinner without having to clean up first, I'm fine with it 90% of the time.

Picking this one thing - having my flat surfaces clean and clear - and having that plus the daily maintenance ensures that my home is clean and comfortable enough for us on a daily basis and even drop in guests, without me wanting to shove them out the door as fast as possible. :) That takes a load off my mind and helps me to focus on the truly important stuff, like spending time with my children, finishing this PhD, and enjoying a meal together as a family.

Now, you may be different. Perhaps you have a magnificent view, and spotless windows are a must. Perhaps you have tiny children crawling around so a clean floor is the absolute. Perhaps you hate clutter and need everything put away behind closed doors. My advice is, no matter what you're trying to juggle, pick that one thing and focus on it until it's part of your routine. It will make your whole life more content!

So, what's your "One Thing"?

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Lea