Photo by / Kues

Giving Myself Grace

There are two different types of people out there: those who find housework calming and enjoy the process and people like me who loathe having to tidy up and curse their way through the torture. As the only adult in my home who must take responsibility for its upkeep, I’m learning to give myself grace – especially during the holidays.

The only motivation that forces me to get this job done is hosting a party. I am the total I’ll get to this later kind of person, which means when I finally get to it there are so many piles of clothes and papers that the task is daunting. Yes, for many years I told myself if I just tidied as I went, or made sure to get each pile organized promptly, it wouldn’t be so bad. However, my brain clearly doesn’t function that way as that strategy hasn’t worked for me once in 53 years. I discovered in my 30s the trick of hosting parties. When it’s just me, I have the choice to put it off, but when I know several people are coming over, I’m forced to get it done despite myself.

Being a single mother can mess a place up, and somehow this year I’ve put off organizing things. So, to motivate myself, I’m planning to have a post-Christmas gathering. Now, I’m the only one who knows about the party so far, because I need to see how much headway I make before letting friends know about it. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but I really have my work cut out for me this time.

For instance, there are my son’s second grade materials on the bistro table in the kitchen. Mr. Carter is currently mid-way through the third grade, but for some reason when I dumped his backpack of items that were sent home on his last day in May on this table, I decided to wait to do something with them later. I think part of that procrastination is due to the fact I’m unsure of what to do with them since tossing them seems sacrilegious at this point.  Don’t worry, I purchased some boxes to store them in, flat boxes that have been leaning against the wall since the summer.

Then there’s the dining room table, where we rarely eat. It has been used more often as either a Lego workstation or a homework area. Sometimes I’ll use the table for arts and crafts, yet all the above have remained there, only to be shoved to the side when something new is set to be tackled. On the kitchen island sits mail, kinetic sand and its accoutrements, a sweater, and tiny items collected from his school’s reward toy box. Don’t worry – I’ll get to all this later.

You see now why I throw parties. The deadline keeps me from making any excuses and forcing myself to find a place for all these items. (Or, if I no longer want to keep them, then I either make the time to go to a recycling or donation center.) Somehow, some was, I always manage to have the place ready for my event. And no, I can’t just shove everything into a closet to hide them. There’s no more room.