August 27, 2007

Important “Stuff”

I’m not sentimental about “stuff.” So – in preparation for the return of my daycare charges and our homeschool year – I spent my free time last week de-junking our home. I threw out 10 bags of garbage, donated another 10 bags of clothing and housewares, and carted off a box of books to the library. I now revel, especially in my office, at what remains – each item in its own logical place, available at a moment’s notice.

I like order in the rest of my house, too. But I’ve learned since becoming a mom to temper my penchant for organization. So I’ve actually become content to allow the household “chaos” that comes with children…as long as things can usually go back into place at bedtime. But, since it’s appropriate to teach children to clean up after themselves, that’s a win-win situation.

Of course, my daughters’ interests sometimes stretch my patience in this area. For example, Rachel loves creating collections – cutout photos of American Girl dolls, educational card sets, sticks and rocks. And she often needs to display a collection…by spreading out every single piece of it in the middle of my living room floor. She’s good about cleaning up when asked; my task has become holding my tongue until that is necessary so she can explore and learn according to how she’s been wired.

And Abigail has become quite enamored of cutting, pasting, and taping. She amazes us with her ideas, created from scratch in her imagination and then implemented without any instruction from us. Problem is, all that cutting leaves paper bits all over my kitchen floor, all day long. Not to mention what the paste and tape do to my table! But I’m learning to let it go, for her sake. It’s enough to sweep the floor once a day. Paste and tape can usually be scrubbed off…but so what if some remains?

I have children, and I want them to develop their God-given strengths. If that means my home cannot rival Martha Stewart’s – or even Rachael Ray’s – well, so be it.


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