Friday, January 7, 2011

Quotes To Live By - The Year Ahead

"To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to consider too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help in everything is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his or her work for peace.
Thomas Merton

I don't do new year resolutions, I don't see the point really. I do take the time to contemplate the year passed and the possiblities that lay ahead.  Having all of us together at home over the Christmas /New Year break brings those thoughts to the surface regardless of the fact that it is a time of new beginnings.

A time to remember all of the blessings that the previous year held, but also a time to let go and move forward, to look ahead and not look back (too much). It is a time where I do make plans and general overall goals for myself for the year ahead.

The quote above is one I read not long before Christmas. I think it was on one of your blogs, but now I can't be certain. It spoke to me, in more ways than one. In fact it reached out, grabbed my heart and slapped me in the face! I printed it as soon as I read it and have it hanging right above my computer.

You see I am a multitasker, always doing a myriad of things at once. I love, in fact I need to be busy, my mind goes stir crazy if I don't have projects to work on, plans to create and build, activities to organise.

I always knew that when I became a SAHM that I had to do something, just being a mum was never going to be enough (silly I know as being a mum is way more than enough). Blogging happened, homeschooling fell in my lap, running a homeschool support network , having more children (we only thought we'd ever have the 2), creating work units and learning printables, joining online communities to enhance my knowledge, starting online communities for local homeschoolers and the list goes on really.

Now in many ways being a multitasker is not such a bad attribute to behold. However just because one is a multitasker does not mean that all of those tasks are done to the best of one's ability. There are always times that things suffer and for me those 'things' take turns in the old suffering department, so I guess at least it isn't just the same one or two things all the time. Or at least that's how I justify it all.

When we first began homeschooling 3 1/2 years ago, we were never home, we had an outing or an activity to attend every single day of the week. We loved it, the kids were only nearly 6 and nearly 4 so we didn't need to be concerned with academics at all really. When C came along I knew we would need to slow down somewhat and over the past two years we have slowed down considerably, to the point where this past six months I made the decision to not be out of the home more than 2 days per week (during the week) and stuck to it. We have experienced a lot more peace as a result of that.

However that doesn't stop the busyness of everything that can happen at home. The one big area that has really slipped for me over the years is organisation in my home. In fact it is also one huge embarrasment for me and something that I never mention on here and never even considered mentioning until I read this post and I felt compelled to blog about it.

On the face of the things, our home is ok, it is fairly neat and tidy and when I am expecting guests it always comes up quite nicely. However, do not ever drop in unexpected (I simply do not do unexpected guests well hehehe) and do not look in my cupboards or behind any closed doors, for you may never, ever emerge from the abyss.

Before kids I was a pretty organised person, I always had comments at work regarding my organisation and even when we first married my filing system was so utterly well organised that it was kind of anal really. Then the whirlwind of children happened and moving house, not once or twice or even three times but five times since we have had children. Boxes get packed and some of them never got unpacked, stuff gets accumulated, toys and general children's items, add homeschooling into the mix and my absolute love for books and lets just say that there are a few spaces within the home that are completely out of control.

It is overwhelming and has always been easier to just shut the door than to tackle the mountain in front of me. After all I have always had plenty of more important things to do, but finally, like a brick landing on my head, it has hit me, cluttered home - cluttered mind, stress and disorganisation in the home infiltrates the entire home and all of its' inhabitants.

This is the year that the quote above will be what I read and strive for every single day. This is the year to declutter, get rid of the stuff and organise the stuff we wish to keep and to choose my projects and tasks wisely.

The year where I will ask myself, "Will this benefit my family or cause us stress" before I say yes (even to my own ideas and thoughts). I know this won't be easy for me. Organising the support network has been my ministry of sorts over the past few years and it has grown and blessed so many families. The community is open and embraces all homeschooling and parenting styles, which is something that I strived for - acceptance of all.  The network has grown with the philosophy that we all have something to offer and we can all learn from others regardless of how different, from us, they may first appear to be. It has been a very humbling experience and whilst at times it has been stressful it is also one that I am truly thankful for.

The network has  grown to where it is now being looked after by a committee of dedicated mums and it is in very capable hands, I just simply need to be able to not have to say yes to every single activity that is on offer (which is very hard to do).

The same rings true for the pressure I feel in our homeschool. I truly think that each and every homeschooling parent feels it, afterall we have really deviated from the mainstream and I think that during our homeschooling years we all feel certain degrees of pressure.

I gain far more from the blogging community than I lose (and lose is not a great choice of words) but I often feel an immense amount of pressure to perform, to show off all of these wonderful exciting experiences I am giving my children. To prepare units of learning that everyone oohs and ahhs over.

To spend hours putting together tot school activities for one child that he may use only once. All the while knowing full well that he doesn't really need any of it, he gets far more than he needs just by participating in our acitivites and being with us every day. (hence you have probably noticed a lack of tot school posts from me of late)

It's keeping things in perspective, using what works and leaving what doesn't. Knowing that we can never do it all and we will never be able to do it all. Knowing that there will absolutely be gaps in my children's education and that will be the case for every single child, regardless of where they are educated and that that is ok.

It is continually reminding myself that we are doing ok, we are moving forward, we are learning (all of the time) and we are growing together as a family. It is taking the time every so often, to reflect on where we've come from and to see how much we have grown.

So in saying all of that (and oh my if you got this far, bless you) -

Unless I can declutter and organise I know that I can never truly move forward and perform to the best of my ability.

Unless I can reduce the things that I 'have' to do, instead of 'need' to do than I can never truly perform to the best of my ability.

Unless I can stop and just enjoy life then I can never truly be the person, mother, wife friend I truly want to be.

I hope to continue to share my 'decluttering journey' throughout the year.


Christy Killoran said...

I LOVE this post. I can relate to this post in so many ways. Honestly, I want to print the whole post and hang it on my refrigerator. I am inspired.

Jenny said...

Great post! I am like you in the way that I feel like I always have to be doing something. It takes me forever to go to sleep, because I'm thinking of all of the things I should do the next day.

I look forward to reading about your organizing journey!

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Very interesting post. I always tried to be protective of my time for exactly the reason above, but sometimes I still feel that a lot of time gets wasted. I will be following your reorganization journey.

Basia - United Teaching said...

Well said, Kylie.

Mozi Esme said...

I can relate to so much of this!

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

Oh goodness, Kylie, this was so beautifully written, and was exactly what I needed to read. I have many of the same thoughts, but haven't taken the time to clearly voice them as you have here. This really touched my heart, more than you can know. I remember reading that same quote and it was very meaningful to me, but I guess I had forgotten it. Thank you for reminding me. I've saved this entire post to re-read from time to time. I also need to focus on decluttering and freeing up space (material space as well as mental). Thank you!

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Good luck! I think this is every mother's challenge!

Michelle said...

This is an ongoing mission for me. I was also quite organized before children, but things get out of hand so quickly. Good luck this year, I'll be cheering you on!

Together Time 4 Families said...

Keep the great blogging going Kylie. Always look forward to what you do that sparks my imagination and blogging life. Happy New Year!
Susan at

Kylie said...

Thanks for your thoughts ladies. I am very glad to see that I am not alone. :-)

Anonymous said...

Yay Kylie, I look forward to hearing how u go with this one!!!

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