In June, I was lamenting that the chaos in my kids’ room had breached my level of tolerance. After a short pause, I uncovered that it wasn’t their fault that their room was typically beyond what I call “tidy”. They had simply outgrown the space as it was. I had a choice… get creative to use the current space more effectively, or make a new space so we can separate them.
Amid the chaos, I thought that the option of separating my daughters into two rooms wasn’t feasible. (The downstairs room was our spare/guest room. It would be inefficient to heat full time. Once we start down the road, this endeavor was going to cost more than a few gallons of paint and a throw rug.) After playing with lots of logistics, budgets, and ideas, we reconsidered.
This realization started a series of plans now underway. We’ll be remodeling a room in our basement and enclosing a staircase to keep it warmer downstairs. We knew this was a logical next step. What didn’t completely occur to us was all the shuffling that we’d endure to make it happen. I say “completely” because I had a sinking/exhilarating feeling that this “pause” in my well thought out plan was larger than we’d made it out to be.
My work plans shuffled – I delayed my launch of new Julz of Life products and took a short-term contract with a consulting firm. This ensured less financial chaos. The kids’ plans shuffled to short-term storage and purging and planning. Contents of closets shuffled to accommodate their new uses. Major mental and physical purging happened as we unloaded years of memories (some our own, some my in-laws’ who stashed treasure the closets before us). We are blessed with storage spaces in this house, but it have used it inefficiently and have held on to TOO MUCH JUNK. Shuffling of priorities happened as we unpacked our desires for our home as we see it, not as it has been used in the past (my husband grew up here.)
My daughter will be in high school next year. Years are flying even if days might drag at times. It was a necessary decision, but in the thick of it, there’s a lot of stress. I’m packaging this stress into the box of “temporary chaos.” There is an end date.
I’ve said before, I pride myself on keeping things together and finding the lost bits in 3 or fewer tries. This applies to things as well as thoughts. I’m putting plans in place to make this fly.
We had a family summit about the plans. This won’t be a “bibbity bobbity boo… here’s your room” kind of deal. We’re in this together. The kids have been told to purge and manage what comes into the room. (Do I need this thing I’m about to purchase/bring home??) And their contributions need to be tended to during our uproar or we can pull the plug on it. Everyone in the house will be making sacrifices. You can kiss Mama goodbye for a while as she’ll be heads-down working to fund the endeavor. Dad will need help with moving and cleaning bits and parts and there should be no complaints. We set the expectation of hearing “how can I help” when they notice flurries of activity.
The kids were so grateful for the opportunity that it really changed attitudes. They have been more kind to each other and helpful to us. They can count on a solution at the end, so they are less frustrated. They’re dreaming with us and suggesting cool solutions.
This is helpful for me. As the self-appointed “finder of things,” I’m not good with large-scale shuffle. I’m tucking in and keeping my eye on the prize. My hope is that I don’t become resentful of the process. Keeping my eyes open for the joy and the lessons.
Operation “Temporary Chaos Code Orange” underway. I’ll keep you posted.
Where might you benefit from a pause?
Julie Ford is a certified life coach, speaker, writer, facilitator and trainer. She helps organizations support their high performers through parenting transitions. With one-on-one and group coaching, she helps her clients to define what matters most in their lives, and to realize what is and isn’t working. Collaboratively, they move through a customized plan to find more joy and less chaos in the everyday.