Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Clutter, clutter, everywhere!

Join in the discussions at Minnesota Mom and Waltzing Matilda concerning the battle over clutter (and visit Small Treasures and drool over the lack of clutter at Kristen's house! She amazes me... she truly does...)

This will always be a struggle for me. I detest visual clutter, and being a stay-at-home mom of 6+ ENSURES that there will always be stuff "out of place."

I long for a peaceful, tranquil home and wonder how my home can ever be that way.

I envy moms who have larger houses, who have luxuries like, oh, a coat closet... or a linen closet... or a basement.

My mom kept an immaculate home but, as she always reminds me, she didn't have us at home all day, AND her houses were always substantially bigger. Everything HAD a home.

I don't want to be a toy Nazi.

I'm glad that my kids create amazing things out of blocks and Legos and bionicles. I am thrilled that drawing at the kitchen table is a "many times a day" occurence. I rejoice in my boys setting up elaborate wooden train tracks... or my girls enjoying a day of dress-up...

...but is it wrong to just want to have a place for all this?

We're in the process now of trying to add on, so that we can finally have a bit of breathing space here. Unfortunately, after talking to the bank, I didn't get the news I wanted to hear (are interest rates really THAT high???), so we're going to have to scale down on what we are able to do.

sigh.

I'm sorry this post is heading downward. I know there are so many more important things in life to be concerned about. I know that God has promised to meet all our needs. I know He wouldn't give us all these children and then fail to provide for them.

But sometimes I lay awake at night and ask Him, "are we on the same page as to what my "needs" are?"

I don't think we are.

So, it's the never-ending struggle for me. Needing space to breathe... not having it... trying to pare everything down to live more simply... trying my darndest not to burst into tears or scream out of pure jealousy when I see people with larger homes who can put everything away easily.

A dear friend of mine once told me that "we pick our luxuries." Our luxury is our children, and I am truly SO grateful for them. I just need to remember that the next time I step on Legos, or cry out in utter frustration over the plastic "coat box" that sits in the middle of our floor.

This will end one day. May God give me the grace to handle this all... well, gracefully!... so that my children will have a blessed home life, filled with laughter, joy, and peace... that they won't remember the clutter, but instead remember the magic of their childhood.

7 comments:

Beth said...

That's a great post. We are starting to have that problem too. We really have hardly bought ANYTHING for our kid, except one piece of furniture on clearance (changing table/dresser). Everything else has been given to us. However, it still looks like Babies R Us exploded in this house! We could do without so much of this stuff and be fine. Actually most of it (swing, bouncy seat, etc) just sits around and hardly ever gets used. If we're not holding her, she is usually on the floor. We also have a ton of stuff in the garage that we haven't even brought in yet (like an exersaucer, high chair, etc.) I think I need to get rid of a lot of stuff. Thanks for the reminder.
And by the way, I really hope to fill my house with kids, and not stuff, someday. You know how it is in Carmel though - everyone has huge houses. Sometimes I feel a little jealous. But I'm mostly a little jealous of the people who don't have to work. However, I'd rather work than have my husband have a job where he's gone all the time too. That's what happens when these people have huge houses and don't have to work - they never see their husbands.

Sorry for this long, rambling comment!

Jennifer F. said...

Ouiz -

Thank you SO much for sharing this. This is exactly what I needed to read right now. I'm actually sitting here reading blogs because I'm procrastinating because I feel so down about the fact that our house is still in chaos after our move (THREE months ago) and we have so much junk and I just don't even know where to start -- and I only have two kids!

Anyway, sorry for rambling, just wanted to thank you for sharing since I can really, really relate to how you're feeling right now.

Ouiz said...

Oh, you both are so wonderful -- THANK YOU!

I was feeling guilty about whining yet again about lack of space and clutter.

I really do struggle with this. I really do try to be gracious... and then, like Beth mentioned, I go over to someone's house and it turns out to be one of those HUGE McMansions, and I feel the tears just well up in my throat.

It's not that I want THEM to suffer (not at all!!)... I just walk around these huge houses with space to BREATHE and places for the kids to hide away and think their own thoughts, and I start asking the Lord, "why? Why do You cram us into a dinky house when there are things like this available?"

Like Beth said, either both spouses have to work long hours to afford these things, or the husbands are working night and day and never get a chance to see their families -- all to afford these amazing homes.

I would rather have my children then a big house. I wouldn't give them up for ANYTHING. I have been amazingly blessed... I know people who have the big houses, that would trade it all tomorrow for the chance to have more children.

So I know that deep down. I really, really do.

I try to change my prayers at this time to, "Lord, please help me to use the space You've given us wisely. SHOW ME how to make this work. SHOW ME how to turn this into a restful, peaceful home. Give me the grace to give away cheerfully, to do without when necessary, and to create a pleasing home that will bless my family and those who visit."

Red Cardigan said...

Ouiz, I only have half the number of children you do, but the clutter wars are pretty constant around here too.

One thing I try to remember is that my values aren't always the same as my children's. I remember when our oldest was a small, determined toddler, and every time we came home from some all-day outing she'd walk into the unnaturally clean living room, frown, dump some toys out of her toy bucket, go into her room and drag out a few more, and then sigh happily as if to say, "There. Now *that's* better."

To me, it's about finding balance between what mom would love (a clean, orderly, well-decorated home) and what the kids need (stimulation, creative play, and the freedom to make a few messes). When things get really out of control, I try to remember how short a time I'll have with them before they've grown up, accepted a vocation, and moved out.

Matilda said...

Thank you for the link. I loved poking around your blog and will have to add you to my daily reads.

I totally sympathize with your pangs of envy. Our house is fairly spacious for right now, that is to say, we consider it "growing room". But our older neighborhood is tucked into some newer ones with houses that start at 3000 square feet and go up from there! And inside, you find 2 adults and maybe two of three kids and you think "It's not fair!!!" I think it is especially hard for us homeschooling moms who look at that space and think "Do you know what I could DO with this space????"

Your prayers are the right way to go! I need to remember to say them too!

Kristen Laurence said...

Your children will indeed remember the magic of their childhood, just as they will remember the magic of their beautiful mama.

I am saddened here when I see couples with no children living in huge homes. I think to myself, "But I have kids that could actually use that space!" Not that I want a huge home, just something with a little more room and a big yard for my girls!

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

Great post, Ouiz...Clutter needs it's own room here.