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Getting Organized

Myths and Realities

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I recently received this from another stay-at-home mom:
    "Have you ever done a feature on the phenomenon of how even though we're "staying at home" we still seem to have less time to get things done than others? T suggests that she's more organized when she's working outside the home, because the work schedule forces her to be so."

This email made me think. Yes, when I worked outside of the home before my kids were born, I was much more organized, at work and at home. Part of this is that just having kids can disrupt your life, but for stay-at-home parents, I think it goes a bit farther. At least for me, I know that I often put off getting things done, since I know that I will have the entire next day to do a certain task. This can snowball, though. I tell myself on Monday that I will do the bills, and often Wednesday is here before I get them done.

So, this week, I want to discuss some of the myths and realities of staying home. At least for me, staying-home does not necessarily mean getting more done!

MYTH:
We stay home all day, so our lives should be totally organized; we should have no problems paying bills on time, buying Christmas presents months ahead of time, and scheduling our kid's dental appointments.

REALITY:
Sure, we are home all day, but we also have kids around us. In my experience, it is very difficult to do anything with kids around. They sense, somehow, when we are trying to do something important, and they pick that time to need a book read to them, or they are hungry, or they need a drink. Anything to distract you from the work you are trying to finish. Ths same thing happens when I am trying to schedule appointments by phone. The minute I pick-up that phone, my kids suddenly appear!

MYTH:
We are home all day. We have plenty of time to clean the house and do the laundry.

REALITY:
We may be home all day, but so are our kids. Now, I only have one son at home all day now, but he can undo any cleaning I do faster than I can believe. It's just little things, like candy wrappers, scraps of paper here and there, but it is enough to make the house look messy more often than not. To be honest, I have almost given-up on housework; I feel that I clean the same room (kitchen and family room) over and over all day. I'm not sure it's worth it.

MYTH:
We are home...we can take care of the bills, taxes, and other paperwork.

REALITY:
I've always paid our bills and prepared our taxes. For the last four years, I have been running to the post office April 15 to get our taxes mailed-off in time. Doing bills, taxes, or filing papers is another activity that seems to enthrall children. The minute I open my checkbook, my youngest son is right there, bombarding me with questions about what I am doing. I'm glad he is curious, but it makes it difficult to concentrate on bills!

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