We've had a free and enjoyable summer. We were at the pool as much as possible. We played outside. We didn't stress about dinnertime, about getting to bed exactly on time.
And it shows.
My wall calendar is two months behind.
My planner is a mess.
I have piles of paperwork all over the bedroom.
I have piles of clutter everywhere.
What happens when a Type A organizational neat freak ends up living in mass chaos?
She shuts down.
That doesn't make sense, right? If I like things neat, and planned, and organized, why don't I go on a blitz and get everything back together?
Why am I so unable to catch up? Why am I forcing myself to pile everything onto my bed, just so I'm forced to clean it off so I can sleep? Why am I frantically cleaning up moments before the plumber or the babysitter appear on my doorstep, because I'm terrified they'll judge me? Why is everything in such a state of chaos?
Why can't I get it together?
Last summer, I had a good handle on things. I had my babysitter once or twice a week - every week. One day I'd go out and run errands and work on writing, and the other day I'd send her downstairs or outside with the girls while I cleaned their rooms, organized closets, prepped meals and got myself together. I still had a solid naptime block where I knew I could get at least an hour or two of work done - with time left over for eating my lunch, reading a magazine, catching my breath.
This year, I didn't have that reliable time. And although I had a babysitter every Tuesday morning, I wasn't organizing or writing, I was playing tennis. Nap time is gone - although I can typically convince Madison to rest in her room for an hour, that time flies by as I do the very basic catch up that keeps us from living in squalor.
I've neglected most of my writing. I have topics - plenty of them - but I keep telling myself I need a solid block of time to sit and write. If I can't get that block, I figure I'd better not even start.
I think that is the main issue. If I don't think I can finish, I don't start. And when I do finish cleaning something the girls will have it back to chaos within twenty minutes, which frustrates me to my core. So I'm not starting. And not starting. And not starting. And by my current calculations, at this point I need about a twenty four hour block with no kids, no sleep, and no interruptions.
Now I'm not making excuses. I've had some opportunities where I could have caught up, and I've wasted the majority of that time.
I'm not looking for sympathy. I was very aware that letting little things slide can turn into a mess.
I'm not even looking for help. I certainly know what needs to be done, how to best organize myself to do it, how to break down the big jobs into small ones, how to get things set, and if you offered to come over and help, I'd probably turn you down, because it needs to be done my way.
With the fall activities starting, I'm getting a real wake up call. I have to get it together. Madison's activities alone have the capacity to push our current tenuous state over the edge, and Reagan has a few things on deck for the fall as well.
I've let meal planning slide all summer - I can't do that now. We have three evenings where Madison's activity is finishing up at 6:00. If I want us to eat before 8:00, I need to have that meal planned and prepped before we leave the house.
I have more activities that I need to plan for each day. We're doing preschool at home, which means that I have to get those activities organized and plan time for them. I need to know when I can have some time alone with Madison.
So I'm taking this next week to get it together. This week is the calm before the storm - the low key week before all our fall madness starts.
Thank GOD I've got a good planner. Up until June (when I apparently took the summer off from any and all organization) I swore by my Erin Condren life planner. My parents gave it to me for my birthday, and I loved it so much I already ordered one for next year. That splurge is my motivation to get myself back on track.
That, and the spa day Adam got me for our anniversary. When the chaos at home is gone, I can indulge in some pampering. With that hanging over my head, I'm bound to get it together.
That, or I'll start a bonfire. Because that works too!