I’m not normal. I know that.
But I still live with this delusion that someday, Normal will happen. Specifically, that my life will be normal.
That I’ll get a routine figured out and that routine will work for the rest of my life. The rest of my entire life. No adjustments needed.
I know better. Really, I do. But I still struggle with this delusion.
My oldest is now in Jr. High. 7th grade. And as of 6:30
this yesterday morning, his life dream has been realized. He’s playing football.
This year will be like no other I’ve had as a parent, and there is no going back.
Did you catch the 6:30 a.m. thing? Did you feel sorry for me? O.K. good.
I have to find a new normal. A new temporary normal.
Last winter, I started working out at 5 a.m. That was a new routine for me, but it worked. I’d gotten used to it and honestly . . . I liked it. I especially liked how working out when I’d normally be sleeping added time to my day. I would get home at 6:05, drink my coffee and do my Bible study time. I loved being done with those two REALLY important things before my kids even got out of bed.
But that much-loved version of Normal is over.
Yesterday morning, I came home at 6:05, awakened my 12yo, helped him find his socks (that he was sure he’d put out the night before) and then looked at the clock and realized it was time to GO.
I’m not complaining one tiny bit. I’m just taking a deep breath and talking to myself and trying to slosh my way through until we figure out how this new (but temporary) Normal will work.
Because even when Normal happens, it doesn’t last long.
I interrupt this post about how Normal never happens to me to share what made me stop writing with that “So here’s” up there.
Right. At 10:15, in the middle of writing my first post after my summer break from blogging, the school called. It seems some crazy kid had injured his arm while playing Wall Ball in the very first recess of his fifth grade year. The nurse was concerned it might be broken.
She was right.
So my “back on track” day was completely derailed and I spent the rest of it at doctors’ offices.
BUT, I’m still proud of the things I did before 9:30 AM.
Getting back on track means cleaning up the kitchen. During summer’s survival mode, I ran the dishwasher. Almost everyday.
And emptied it. Pretty much everyday.
So that before picture at the top of the post? It could have been soooo much worse.
Notice that dishwasher is empty. And dishes AREN’T piled higher than the top of the faucet.
That’s a victory, folks. Because as long as “cleaning the kitchen” only means putting away the things I’ve left out and straightening and such, it’s takes at least 75% less time to “clean the kitchen” than it does when I have to wash every dish we own.
Lickety-split, the kitchen looked like this:
Is it perfect? Nope. Is this mama happy? Yep!!
But the best part is that I got to enjoy the benefits of time spent getting back on track. When we finally got home from our day of x-raying and casting, I made dinner. And it wasn’t stressful. When the counters are clear, it’s so much easier to throw something together.
It’s also easier (and more natural) to clean up the tiny bit of mess created while making dinner when the kitchen is already mostly clean.
Yay for understanding routines enough that it’s easy to get back into them!! Because that’s what it’s about. Routines.
Routines keep our house (and me) sane. And routines can be transferred to any schedule. Really. They (OBVIOUSLY) work better with schedules that are a little more predictable, but they are necessary no matter what crazy curveballs this gig called Life throws my way.
Have your kids started school yet? Are your routines falling back into place?
If you don’t even know where to start creating routines or if you want detailed guides, check out my books: How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind and Decluttering at the Speed of Life.
Oh, and I also made a video:
(If you can’t see it here, go watch on YouTube!)
Heidi Johnston says
I’m looking forward to school starting next week to get back to our “normal”. WIth one starting middle school, this will definitely look different than it has in the past-she won’t get out of school until 4:05. The little one gets out at 2:50. That’s a BIG difference. I’m also looking forward to our weeknight stuff like Kids Church, LIFEgroup and gymnastics starting up again.
Thank you for being “my normal” it’s not just me kinda thing.
At least I know I am not alone in the world! My counters look like this often. I love your site!
I don’t have kids, but this last month has been really hard… with lots (emphasis on LOTS) of fun/stressful/hard-work things that just pushed me to my limit and (occasionally) beyond what I should have done. There were days I would come home and just stare at the computer in the AC in a daze… not much got done but the laundry and my DH would rotate the dishes on a fairly regular basis.
I have Thursday to Tuesday off… Thursday is my ‘kick-the-house-a-new-one’ day and Friday is Payday-running-around-get-the shopping-done so that I can kick back and enjoy the beginning of College football without a thousand little voices nagging me that I should be up and doing something…
“Normal” is a setting on the dryer… and a big fat lie… thank goodness!
The kids started on Wednesday, so yes, I”m trying to find the new routine that is this school year. I’m finding I really need to get up a little earlier to get the dishwasher unloaded BEFORE the kids start getting their dishes dirty!
Great video. Loved it!!
Dear Nony! You look much healthier with your 5. a.m. workout routine ;-). I follow your blog for exactly 1 year. Thanks to your blog , with ups and downs, my house looks much more better . I started to have pleasure from cleaning!? You have changed my life. My husband is rejoicing!
May God bless you and help your boy’s arm heal correctly. Please post your affiliated links more often 😉
Yea! Welcome back! Your kitchen really wasn’t bad, it only took you 24 minutes to clean it. I would spend that much time dealing w/ the pile of papers in mine.
Nony! I hope that your son is coping with his arm in t he cast. Thanks for your posts. I purchased your 2 ebooks last week and I’m getting started. I too do so much better with a routine. I became a sahm in Feb when my daughter was born. Its so tough to get on a schedule with a baby, and now my dh is home too. Your habit of sweeping ua huge for me. Thanks for the encouragement!
you seriously inspire me. i am definitely a victim(?) of slob vision, but i think about the stuff you say everytime there’s something i need to do around the house. i recently changed jobs from working evenings a few times a week to going t work every morning by 8 and it has put a cramp in my progress, BUT… i will not let it get the better of me. i will keep working on my slob vision and building things that i can call routines to help keep my house under control. if you have any suggestions on making it work with the new schedule i have, i would definitely take it. 🙂 thanks for everything you’re brave enough to say.
My kids start school next week, the day after we move to a new town 3 hours away. Since I work Sep to June I was hoping for a routined summer, a little less chaotic and more relax but in the middle of looking for a new place, well that didn’t happen. I have literally 15 days to pack 8 years and four kids worth of stuff and go, with 6 days left, I’m not even half way done… You are a real inspiration and I’m looking forward to following all of your wonderful advise (once I move). Hope your son recovers soon.
Meg M. says
Nony… I love the video. The video keeps it real! You are helping me get out of the biggest deepest hole I have ever dug so I hope you find making the video helpful. No need to edit.
Thanks for being brave and sharing with us. BTW, I did buy a broom. I am on day 16 of the process and I’ve even used my broom a couple of times. 🙂
Kate @ The Beautiful Useful Project says
Poor little guy! I think your kitchen looks great. I always put the big stuff behind my sink too. I tried to put a plant there to stop myself from doing it, but it didn’t work.
Gosh, I love you! I need to clean my kitchen but I really don’t want to empty the dishwasher…only 3 minutes!? Really?! Let me go check…You were right, under 3 minutes. In 25 minutes I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, hand washed big stuff, wiped counters, stove and dining table, swept and took out trash and kissed my husband good night. Thank you for the motivation. I look forward to coming into a clean kitchen in the morning!
I am so glad you’re back! I found this blog in May and spent most of the summer reading it from the beginning. It was my inspiration to re-declutter my house. I would read a bit and then clean a bit. It worked great! I finished reading it around the end of July. So, August has been kind of
Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore says
So looking forward to you being back online Nony!
Loved the video. 🙂 Running the dishwasher at night and unloading every morning really does make the difference. I have been working on that routine myself. Thanks for sharing your real-life experiences. Inspirational. 🙂
Ugh, finding a New Normal. I’m in the middle of that challenge right now and school hasn’t even started yet.
My younger son will be in school a full day this year so I have to find a new routine/rhythm for my days. As in, the most effective way to utilize the 6.5 hours they will be gone without the 11:00 a.m. pickup time to anchor my day. I’m looking forward to it but it will be a challenge.
The bigger issue right now – and you’ll appreciate this – is that my wonderful husband and his father spent last week replacing my kitchen cabinets, counter, sink, etc.. Not only has the late 1950’s décor been updated but I HAVE A DISHWASHER!!!!!!!! For the first time in my life. Yay!
Unfortunately, I have been thrown completely off my game as I have no idea how to work this wonderful machine into my routine. Like the friend you mentioned in your podcast my kitchen is actually much messier now than it was before. I’m sure I’ll figure it out but I’m not always so patient with the learning process. Neither of us grew up with a dishwasher so loading the thing is like Dumb and Dumber between my husband and I. It drives me crazy that I haven’t figured out the most efficient way to load it.
Not to mention that not only did I lose a cabinet for said dishwasher but all the cabinets and drawers are a different size. So things don’t fit the same way they did before. Honestly, I’m so overwhelmed I don’t know where to start. I have enough space I just have to figure out how to use it. I’m trying to embrace the process and understand this may take months but since I spend a lot of time in the kitchen it’s really throwing me off.
It’s going to be an interesting fall.
Wow! You were able to get your son’s arm cast in the same day!?!? That is a world record where I live. All the orthopedists are super booked around here. We’ve had four broken bones in our family in the last four years. Yay for getting back on track. I’m here for some inspiration. I just bought your ebooks, and I’m looking forward to reading them, hopefully after I get school done with my four and five year olds.
Oh yeah, I wanted to share in your pain (the pain of a routine change). My daughter is doing cross country this year, which means she has to be at school by 6 am.
Kristy K. James says
Oh your poor son. A bright spot in that situation is that he’ll hopefully avoid the worst heat of summer. I can’t imagine how miserable it would be to be stuck in a cast for all of July and August. :/
Glad you’re back to blogging again. I need the motivation to get back into a routine, too. 🙂
I am so glad you’re back! I found this blog in May and spent most of the summer reading it from the beginning. It was my inspiration to re-declutter my house. I would read a bit and then clean a bit. It worked great! I finished reading it around the end of July. So, August has been kind of blah.
BTW… I don’t know if you ever decided whether or not you should buy the matching hangers, but in my (humble) opinion, they are totally worth it. We are a family of 7 in a house that is just under 1000 sq. ft. Our house was built with no closet doors (or upper kitchen cabinet doors for that matter – how’s that for a head whacking solution), but one way I keep my sanity is with matching hangers. It keeps the closet looking so neat and orderly. The only way I’ve found to combat my horrible slob vision is to keep everything neat and our belongings to a minimum. Then, I can see things beginning to fall apart BEFORE they hit disaster stage!
Sorry my comment is so long. I’ve been saving up since May. Praying you son feels better soon.
Good to have you back. I don’t have kids but I have a whirlwind of a husband that needs training! Hope you son’s arm heals well and quickly.
Wow. My kitchen looks like a much worse version of your before. I just don’t know where to put all the stuff that’s all over the counters and table. I can’t put it away, because it doesn’t have a home. Sigh.
Can I just say that I know how much you hate making videos, but I love them so much!!!!! I really do! And I missed your regular posts over the summer. Sorry about your son! Hope his arm gets better soon!
Just read this blog, thought about you, and laughed at myself. 🙂