Yesterday I finished reading a book on my Kindle. When you finish a book on the Kindle it asks you if you would like to let the world know, via facebook, that you have accomplished the often monumental feat of actually finishing an entire book. I said yes. And then many of my friends, who will be reading the same book for a book club we are in together, all expressed their amazement. I know, I was right there with them. Me, finish a book? I haven't had time to read anything that wasn't about ADHD, early life trauma, fetal alcohol syndrome, or behavior in nearly two years. Now don't get too excited for me; it was, after all, a very short book and an easy read. And it was enjoyable, providing interesting food for thought on what it must be like for an older child to be internationally adopted and removed from the only home, and country, they have ever known. I started reading it while my super six old was at China school, when all I had was time and a comfortable chair. But I was able to finish it at home thanks to the fact that I have been cleaning like a mad woman. I have been working hard to keep the toys picked up, the kitchen counters cleaned off, and the kitchen floor sparkly clean. And when all that is in place I can relax. I can sit on the sofa after the boys are in bed and actually focus on something other than what didn't get done that day. And so the cleaning routines, (thank you fly lady!) led to the ability to read for enjoyment, which led to me being relaxed, which led to more cleaning. Finally! A cycle I don't mind being caught up in!
For some reason I am really feeling the spring cleaning bug this year. Maybe it is because the boys in my life are so messy. Maybe it is because my in-laws are visiting next week to watch my super six year old play football and have offered to stay with the boys for a few hours while my sweet husband and I sneak away for some much needed alone time. (Sadly, we are only planning a quick trip out to eat, but we are both super excited about it. I will get to drink all of my ice tea with no boys stealing large gulps from me! I will be able to sit still with no one touching me, or climbing on me, or elbowing me or kicking me. I will be able to eat my dinner while it is hot. I will be able to listen to my husband and actually concentrate on his words.) Wait, where was I? Spring cleaning. Yes.
So the in-laws are coming. And then the next weekend the social worker is visiting for yet another post placement visit for the tiny toddler. Who, while still tiny, is not really a toddler any longer- he will be four years old next month! The house certainly needs to be clean for her visit! And then a day or two after that we have a baby sitter coming over so that my sweet husband and I can sneak away again; this time to see the documentary STUCK.
Who knows what, or who, has prompted this spring cleaning bug but I am feeling more in control and happier than I have felt in a very long time. There is just something about purging and organizing that makes me happy. I have cleaned out all of the upper kitchen cupboards, throwing away chipped glasses and old vitamin bottles. I have cleaned under the sink, (gross!), and added stacking plastic bins to hold the soaps and scrubbies. I have added a shower curtain rod to the back of the boys' bathtub to hang plastic baskets holding their toys and wash cloths. Thanks to the holes in the baskets the toys can drip dry and the tub stays clean! I have cleaned the huge kitchen cupboard that held mismatched plastic bowls and lids, throwing away everything that didn't have a match. Now there is no Tupperware, but there is a large space for the boys' back yard necessities like bubbles and chalk. I cleaned and organized the walk in closet in the master bedroom- we can see our clothes again!
The cleaning out of every cupboard and closet, combined with our weekly family meeting, has made me feel more in control than I have in a long time. I have no control over the issues my youngest son faces. I have no control over schedules changing or my super six year suddenly being worried about his sweet little smushed in nose. I have no control over computer issues at work or the fact that I often feel as though I am drowning in toys. But I do have control over what lives in my cupboards and what is thrown away. I do have control over some of the chaos that naturally comes with raising a family.
Maybe it's the warmer weather. Maybe it's the cleaning. Maybe it's the new organizing bins and systems I have put in place. Maybe it is the fact that we are finally getting back to having regular house cleaning help around here; something every working mother should have. I am sure it is a combination of it all, but I don't really care. I am finally feeling more in control. Which means I am feeling more able to be the mother God designed me to be. So go throw something away. Go clean out a cupboard. Go open your window and breath in the cool Spring air. Go be the person God designed you to be!