Having four kids in such a short time ensures a messy house. Perhaps there are those of you out there who have a handle on it, but I do not.
And it bothers me.
It has been scientifically proven that a neat and tidy space improves concentration and peace of mind and relaxation as well. That explains so much about me.
So I have been on a slow quest to conquer the messies. It has not been easy. And some days, the battle gets put aside. But that is okay too! Why? Because life is not perfect. I am not perfect. And sometimes I need a reminder of that.
Now in my war I have had a decisive victory – my enclosed porch. It’s not insulated. The windows are falling out literally. But it is charming! For too long, it was controlled by the four dictators I like to call Nattie, Mere, Sophie and Buddy. Their reign of disorder was overwhelming, but I figured it would end there.
These dictators wanted to take over more, and more, and more of my land. Let me tell you, I was about to throw in the towel. A surge of resolve came over me and I came up with my battle tactic. It was quite unusual, actually, because it involved attacking the headquarters, head on. Most tacticians would say that is awful strategy.
The attack was what I like to call the “Clean Sweep” approach. I entered the porch, ironically with the dictators in tow (except Buddy – he was sleepy). The dictators and I pulled EVERYTHING out of the porch into our front yard. Then they left. It was too much for them to see a clean, empty room. Too boring.
So I proceeded to put everything in three categories: keep, get rid of, and toss. My dear neighbor friend thought I was having a yard sale…. I was tempted to put up a sign and be done with it. BUT NO! I conquered the garbage – two bags full. Many little shoes, useless things my husband thought “we might need someday… you never know”, paper, paper and more paper were all on the casualty list. Sad, but there are always casualties in war.
Then I put back only what was needed. I took the former dictators into the room and said the following words, “See this? See how clean and neat and tidy this is? This is how it will remain. And I will make sure of that. You are not allowed in here anymore without permission. This is now mommy’s space. Understand? Repeat after me…”
And it was over. The treaty was made.
Don’t get me wrong. It has been difficult to maintain peace. I catch the little dictators in there, trying to dump books on the floor or take toys in there. But I am on them like Barney Fife. Nip it in the bud! Please don’t feel bad for them, they still have plenty of territory. On occasion, I will let them in – but at my discretion.
So now the porch is mine. Stephen has even gotten excited about it. I use the room, when the weather is right, to do my Bible study, or to eat a candy bar (bye, bye bathroom!), or to read the paper. A sanctuary. Ahhh…
And I have become convinced that every mom needs a sanctuary. A place where the battle cannot be fought. A place to think in quiet. A place to be alone with the Lord. The bedroom might be your place, it has been mine for years. But now I find it more special to have a place apart from where I sleep, cook, shower… you know what I mean.