My house is perpetually in some state of disarray.
I have a two-year-old and four-year-old. They’re energetic and creative. We’re all busy. Enough said, right?
That jumble of dolls and cars that greet me when I walk in the front door? That pile of my daughter’s coloring books and markers that somehow made their way into my office? They’re more than that. They feel like a true distraction to me.
Clutter seeps its way into my brain. I need to focus, though, because I have work to do and (here’s the rub) I work from home.
Yes, I’m trying to teach my kiddos how to clean up after themselves (and be better about this myself).
Yes, I’m trying to Marie-Kondo my life (if only I could make it through the audiobook).
But in the meantime, here’s how I stay sane without adding more to my to-do list:
I love that my kids are active and creative and that sometimes, they want to pretend my office is a boat or a cave or Australia. I used to let them, but every single time they would end up exploring my desk or typing on my laptop or coloring over my to-do list. I needed to draw some boundaries for my own sanity, so playing in my office is now a firm no.
Look, I can step right over that pile of dolls and cars, right? I can ignore the fact that there are dishes in the sink and a pile of laundry on the dining room table. So that’s exactly what I do. And I spend five minutes at the end of the day tidying my office so that next time I walk in, I can forget that the rest of the house is not exactly so sparkling.
You know where it’s never messy? Starbucks. Panera. If I just can’t focus at home because all I see is a long list of things that need to get done, those are the places I go. It’s always clean and there’s always coffee.
If I lose focus throughout the day and start paying too much attention to what’s going on around me, I park my butt on my meditation cushion for 11 minutes. Not only do I stop noticing the mess for a little while, when I’m done I actually care less about the mess than I did before.
As much as I try to streamline my closet and weed out my kids’ toys and stay on top of the laundry and, ahem, lovingly sift through the pile of the artwork on the counter, the truth is that I have two little ones who undo a little of what I do each day.
I can’t let the things they undo be the undoing of my clarity and focus. Nor can I change the fact that messes mess with my mind (believe me, I’ve tried).
So instead of trying to change them, or me, I just create focus as best I can. Or I let Starbucks create it for me.
MotherHustle panelist Stacy Firth is a writer and content strategist who helps moms who are small business owners and solopreneurs create online content that keeps it real. She also leads workshops that help mamas lead a lit-up life, and is mama to two. You can find her on her website or on Instagram at @stacyrfirth.
Access our free Members-Only Portal + get exclusive stories delivered weekly