Monday, March 26, 2012

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

There is no daily chore so trivial that it cannot be made important by skipping it two days running. ~Robert Brault

I am tired of myself. I need a make-over, a re-do, a real change. No, I am not going to drastically cut or color my hair or buy new faddish clothing. This change is deeper, under the skin, not really noticeable to anyone but the members of my family, who live with me.

I have had this pestering thought in the recesses of my brain for the last year or so...maybe two or so, actually. I decided that I have not been teaching my daughter something rather important. My mother did not teach it to me as her mother did not to her, but it is something I do want to pass on to my daughter, so I have to change my ways so that it will have a chance to be passed on to her, at least.

Homeschooling--I still dislike that term! Home education is not just about academics. We can impress society, or at least try to, with test scores, but what is the real difference between the public school student and the home educated child with the same test score? The lifestyle, learning at home and on the fly, and all those life skills that cannot be shown on paper but make all the difference in being prepared for one's independence in adulthood.

I decided to stop thinking about all changes I need to make, which were too many and overwhelming, as I have to make everything as complicated as possible so I end up being paralyzed and do nothing towards making that change! Better yet, I tell myself that I have to have certain things in place first before I can begin to initiate the change. My mind is a very scary labyrinth, so now you are trapped into my thinking processes, not just wondering to where I am going but about what I am writing.

Organizing, cleaning, and loving my home. A few years ago I tried Flylady, which is a wonderful for many women and I admit it gave me some very good ideas but overall I am not not the flying type, it seems; I just cannot get that obsessed with wearing shoes all day in the house or with shining my kitchen sink, which is clean most of the time anyway. Flylady may be different now, but I was overwhelmed by the daily deluge of emails after I signed up. I have looked into alternatives, but I realized I really want the impossible: something I can step into with very little tweaking and yet tailored to what will work for me.

Yeah, I can be rather hopelessly idealistic at times. So, I was back to making my own, which I have been far more than just reluctant to do, because I, being me, wanted to create an complete system that would keep me on track. I tend to make things far more work than they need to be sometimes. To add to my complications (you know I like adding complications), I like the idea of routines, but I feel limited and even smothered by them so this system really has to be of my own making.

Being truthful with myself (as I should be having taken a truth promise for this year) what appeals to me most is something like the original S.H.E index card system on which Flylady was initially based--I do have a thing for index cards, oddly. Plus, I need something far more flexible with our crazy weekly schedule yet did not make me feel terribly guilty at the same time.

Instead of devising a complete system before I started using it, I decided to start out simply with just our regular morning chores with a few extras added. A new one is the swish and swipe of the bathrooms. I showed the Princess how I will be doing mine and watched her do hers, which is far more important because it is the guest bathroom and the one which ends up looking the worse when I do not check it every day. It took her less than ten minutes and I think she will get faster at it with practice. I want her to start taking ownership of that bathroom and see it as her responsibility solely. This new chore will not be done every morning: on Tuesdays, we have an early morning at the horse barn and it would probably be better to do the the bathroom swish/swipe after showers.

I like the brief description in large letters on the cards and I think I will use that same line on a daily check list that I will make soon. I also like having the detail on each card to remind me and for the Princess, should she begin to help or take over the chore. However, I get bogged down on check lists that have too much detail on a sheet of paper. I think the combination of the index cards and a paper check list will do very well for me. I will eventually add weekly, monthly, and other chores each with their own index cards to rotate. I have a bill organizer that will serve nicely for this.

For now I am writing what I have done today on a paper so that I can work on developing a list of chores by room and frequency. Also, the list helps me to realize how much I have done and can do each day. I have decided that bite-sized chores work best for me and to keep most jobs under fifteen minutes at a time. Better to do just fifteen minutes of something than to be paralyzed by a job that I think will take two hours or more to do and not even start it.

The best motivation for me is not just a cleaner home in which I will readily invite guests, but that my daughter is learning some very good habits that will help her when she is responsible for her own home and family.

~ My Lord, help me to teach my daughter to be more organized with housekeeping by being better at it myself. ~


  1. Hm. Like you routines smother & depress me. I really hate massive predictability ~ which is why our chaos doesn't distress me more. However any sort of a routine ~ & we all need some, gets shot out of the water by the unpredictable nature of Star's music. I have yet to find a solution. Hope you have done better.

  2. It is difficult to have balance. I can feel smothered by routines but I also go crazy when it all piles up on me because I overlooked it all for too long. Since I finally designed a homeschool schedule that works for us with the horses, 4-H club, piano, errands, and my husband's unpredictable work schedule, I think I finally have found the balance that makes me happy, or at least not so smothered and/or crazy. So, I am going to apply those principles to my housekeeping as well with my own priorities in mind. The thing that was driving me the craziest for the last year has been the guest bathroom so we shall see how it goes with that.

  3. Replies
    1. That is a complex question to answer not knowing your equipment in comparison to mine. I wish I could be more specific, but most word processing programs have settings for printing on index cards, even if only by the size, and most printers nowadays have a special tray for photos or will have a hand feed with an adjustable tray for aligning the cards for printing.

      When I switched from using Microsoft Word to Open Office, I had to change the way I put the cards into our laser printer, but it is an old model. I had less problems with alignment using our newer inkjets, although the ink is far more expensive.


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.