I'M A NEAT freak! Not only do I like everything in its specific place but I am also a chronic scheduler and planner. In preparation for our first son I quickly realized how this would be a challenge - babies come with lots and lots of baggage! Then when both kids arrived I knew my standard of neatness - and my planned out schedule - would need to be altered or I would drive myself crazy. The other option would be to start gluing items in their place where I wanted them to remain.
Yes, I was frustrated that my neat world was going to change and be altered by somebody else. I quickly found out babies are not too capable of moving themselves let alone things. But as every parent soon knows all too well - there are many support items that are needed for young lives and they take over family space quickly.
There was once a living room here...
This week our family was hit with a major challenge to our daily schedule and routine. With little notice my mother, who provides full-time care for our 1-year old and part-time care for our 4-year old, needed to head out for physical therapy on a damaged shoulder.
I had a moment of panic about this change. My partner and I are in the process of creatively structuring our workdays to insure that our work responsibilities do not have any major set-backs and our children do not need to spend full days in paid care. As a product of this new arrangement I recently was at home in the early afternoon with our sons and in the kitchen. I was putting away a large grocery trip and prepping for the evening meal. Our oldest inquired about an unplanned play date with the twin neighbors age 6. I placed a call to their mother and within 10 minutes they had arrived and were ready to have some fun! For the next 3 hours my projects were serenaded by the voices, shouts, and screams of our sons and their neighbor friends just playing and being kids. From time to time I would check-in and take glances around our home and the four areas that had been targeted with their play. As I expected they would need clean-up and organizing attention.
Hit the deck, kids!
As I journey into year five of parenthood I still have my standards. I rarely go to bed without the house in reasonable order and I usually know what the logistical plan is for the next day and the coming weekend. I also now go to bed with the new appreciation that my sons have given me. Unplanned and unscheduled activities can be even more fun and rewarding as the planned - as long as we remember to relax and enjoy the moment.