There's something about having a third child that has really forced me to do some soul searching and figure out who I am and how I operate. I'm not a natural homemaker. I seem to create clutter everywhere I go and I'm content being surrounded by it. It really doesn't bother me if things are somewhat messy (that is until someone is going to come over to our house!).
But, since Gustin was born, the tolerable amount of clutter has turned into an intolerable mess that is completely unwieldy. I just can't seem to keep up with even the basics of housekeeping. I've been forced to my knees over this issue and through prayer and much soul searching, I've been blessed with some insights about myself. The first was that I am not a multi-tasker. This realization led to some changes with how I do things that are really helping.
A second realization came quickly after this first one. This time I learned that I am a perfectionist. I know that statement seems to contradict everything I said in my first paragraph, so let me explain.
My perfectionism manifests itself in a several of different ways. For instance, I love following the rules, task lists, organization systems and schedules. I also like to do tasks, but only if I can do them thoroughly, completely and the right way. The "but" in the previous statement is what leads to much of the chaos and clutter in my home. If I don't think I have time to start and finish a task correctly, then I just won't start at all. I'd rather something not be done then for it to be done incorrectly or incompletely. And, if it's not perfectly complete, then I can't check it off my task list. With three young children in the house, I rarely have the time to complete an entire task so I either don't start one or start and never get finished. By the end of the day, nothing is marked off my task list.
I've tried all kinds of different schedules and task lists to help me be more productive. Finally, I've come up with a system that works for me. I call it a micro list. Instead of writing down a big task like "clean the kitchen", I write down each component of the task, such as: unload the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, wipe off the table, wipe down the counters, etc. This way the tasks are broken up into 5-10 minute chunks that I can start, finish, and mark off the list before a small person interrupts me. I get such a feeling of accomplishment. I can focus. I get things done. I start tasks because I know I can get them done thoroughly and correctly. I'm slowly becoming a decent homemaker!
I hope this isn't the end of the realizations about myself that God will bless me with. I've come a long way in recent weeks, but the is still so much farther to go. I can't wait to see what I'm going to learn about myself next!