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Real moms step on Legos

By on May 2, 2008

photo by ppdigital
During my frugal journey, I learned that simplifying and decluttering were the keys to being better organized. It’s easier to keep a home neat and tidy when there’s not a lot of stuff in it. Being the perfectionist that I am, I became a minimalist. I used to pride myself on having a spotless and near-sterile home. I once read the wisdom of older women claiming that they would rather have a messy home and spend time with family than spend their time cleaning. I rolled my eyes thinking that it didn’t take long to keep things orderly. What did they know?

A friend shared with me how she was overwhelmed with housework. She had two young children and said that between toys and papers from school, she could never get ahead. Again, I thought, come on now. Just address these issues immediately, and it’s not a problem. Surely, she must not be managing her time wisely, I thought.

I’d spend 15 minutes cleaning, a few times a day, and it was smooth sailing. Martha taught me useful tidbits like how often to flip my mattress, how to care for my broom and how to craft lacey luminarias. Did you know you should never place your broom with the bristles resting on the floor?

Then I had my third child, and life as I knew it changed. It’s not that I don’t love discovering and applying life tips, because I do. I offer practical strategies to readers and experiment with and implement new home solutions on a regular basis, but what I don’t need is guilt if I don’t take the time to fold a sheet properly, learn napkin folding 101 or, horror upon horrors, don’t make homemade tricolored pasta.

I wax nostalgic as I glance through glossy magazines and remember the “old me,” but my new motto is “dust happens.” Real moms step on Legos. We fight the laundry monster, the garden has weeds, our homes have crumbs and there are never enough hours in the day. Our families count on us. We have this incredible opportunity to leave a legacy of love. So, while decorating the perfect home in the latest color palette and organizing your life into cute compartments is admirable, it’s hardly soulful. It lacks depth and doesn’t add anything of true substance or value, does it? Somehow, I think I’ll live a full life without knowing how to choose the right duster or how to embellish my bath towels. My kids will still grow up well-adjusted if the utensils aren’t perfectly aligned in the drawer.

What greater gift can you give your family than to share your time? I’m not suggesting you live in chaos, but make time for what truly matters. Set aside the label maker and step away from the fabric-lined baskets once in a while. It’s not too late to escape from Supermom Island. I did. Martha doesn’t live here anymore. My family does. You won’t find guest slippers in my entryway. It’s even OK to keep your shoes on when you visit. After all, you might step on a Lego.


  1. Restless Housewife

    5/2/2008 at 5:43 pm

    Beautifully said.

    As much as I’ve been loving reading your post, I have to admit: napkin folding, tricolored pasta and mattress flipping are so out of my league! I’m lucky if the fitted sheet on my mattress reaches the actual corners of the mattress!

    But, I still get it. Great post.

  2. AmyBoz

    5/2/2008 at 11:56 pm

    Love this article, Sara. It definitely hits home. Three babies here, also, woke me up to different priorities, and although there may be a few muttered/shouted no-no words when I actually DO step on the Lego, the thought of who probably left it there makes me smile and makes the shooting pains worthwhile. 🙂

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