I am not sure if organization is in my nature, but it is definitely not in my nurture. Because of this, organization, de-cluttering, eating something that isn’t on the dollar menu, showing up some place on time, balancing my checkbook (or even looking at my checkbook), going shopping before the house runs out of toilet paper AND paper towels, and a thousand other bigger and smaller things is not second nature or something that I think about with longing or even a begrudging chore that pops into my head when I see the laundry stacking up. Organization has to be an active and conscious choice for me.
My parents love me and tried to teach me all the things I would need to know to survive in this world, but here is the hard truth about growing up below the poverty line: When you are poor there are things you have time to teach your kids, things you don’t have time to teach your kids, and thing you don’t know that you need to teach your kids. I would love to get into the nuances of this problem, maybe I will someday, but that is not what this post is supposed to be about. This post is supposed to be about how I am dealing with my part the consequences of that problem.
So what I’m not organized? I’m not disorganized. So what no one ever taught me time management? I was taught how to get my work in under the wire and work well with my back against the wall. So what I was never good at keeping to a budget and saving? I’m great at making sure all the bills are paid and none of the checks bounce. Besides, what would I be saving for anyways? This was how I lived my life. I got by, I learned some, I became an adult, I got married, my husband shared what he knew with me and I shared what I knew with him and together we got by a little better. Time marched on, my husband turned out to be very talented and very hard working. Together we became what some might call successful. We started to save, if for no other reason than I couldn’t think of anything else to spend our money on than seeing movies together, eating out, and the occasional road trip. We bought a house, something I didn’t even know people strove for until my Junior year of college. We grew, learned, lived and loved together and did pretty well if I do say so myself. We are still doing pretty well, but pretty well can only get you so far.
When my husband and I move, we tend to spend a week unpacking the essentials. We find the cookware and the silverware, our clothes, and all the electronics. Then we just stop and leave the rest of the boxes stacked up in the garage. We get our house good enough and then just move on, and this is how we lived our life as well. We got it good enough and then just kept going.
April of last year my husband and I went home to Oklahoma for a family funeral. I was pregnant with my son and at the end of my second trimester. As I looked out of the car window my mind began to wonder. I thought about my life growing up in Oklahoma, I thought about what my life was now with my husband, and I thought about what my life was going to look like in a few months when someone small, pink, and helpless was totally dependent on me for everything. Then a sudden thought hit me. I don’t want my son to feel the way I did growing up and I don’t want him to struggle as much as I did when I first became an adult. Sure, there are things that I loved from my childhood that I desperately want my son to know, but there are other things that I don’t want him to have to touch with a ten foot pole! Not to mention the huge gaps that I have in my knowledge and understanding of how the world works. I want him to know consistency and safety. I want him to know that he can depend on dinner being on the table. I want him to grow up in a home that has order and direction. I want him to be able to invite his friends over. I want him to feel a sense of ownership and responsibility over his home. I want him to want to come home. I realized all of these things in an instant and then I realized that my husband and I had done a lousy job at making our house feel like a home. Our home life had been drifting and unfocused for years. Our careers and life outside the home seemed to have a direction but the inside our home seemed to be full of love but no purpose.
I wanted my home to feel comfortable and safe. I wanted my home to feel like it had purpose. I wanted my son to grow up knowing and feeling these things. I did not know how to get there. These posts are the chronicle of how we got there, how we are still getting there. Some of the things we have done will seem small and petty and some will seem big and inconvenient. Not everything will work for you and, truth be told, not everything has worked for us but we’re trying. This is the story of us trying.
Kayte vs. Part 1