If you read here very often, you know that the tension between order and spontaneity is a recurring motif in my life. (And if you think it is mentioned in these pages with tedious frequency, just think how tedious it is for me.)
My natural inclination is toward disorder and spontaneity. Yet I know from experience that order is better.
He may be overstating it a little. But let’s face it, unless you have someone seeing to the orderliness of your life, you don’t get clean laundry, balanced meals, and renewed car tags.
So yesterday, it being the first day of the month, I was looking at my calendar and seeing yet another stressful month. I must emphasize that we are not talking about “stressful” as in foreclosures, root canals, and court dates. It is stressful as in lots of changes, lots of excitement, and lots of stuff going on. More road trips. Opening a second store. “Eustress,” they call it, those who like to make up new words.
And then comes summer. Summer is the busiest time at work, and with two stores and — so far — no additional workers, it may be a challenging summer. Summer at work is always hard, chaotic, and tiring.
At home, with the kids out of school and me out of energy a lot of the time, summer is characterized by much higher levels of mess and much lower standards for nutrition. This year, there will be just four of us for the first time — me and my menfolks, who would be fine with eating pizza from cardboard boxes, in their underwear, in front of the TV. Surrounded by mess
There is nothing like coming home after a really tough day to find your kids lying on the sofa in a welter of snack wrappers, sports equipment, dogs, and old sneakers, playing video games and asking what’s for dinner.
We also find that there is a general sinking into lassitude as the temperature climbs into the 90s and above which makes it hard to approach the necessary tasks of living with the same vim and vigor we show in cooler weather.
I have always relied heavily on my girls to help me keep the level of civilization up in the summer. This year there will be no girls.
I’m not generally much on routine. I figure, if you’ve been doing something the same way for a while, there’s probably a better way to do it. Also, I get bored easily.
But it may be that a Flylady housekeeping routine and a Saving Dinner mealtime routine and official times for the gym and the grocery will allow me to finish the stressful spring and move into the summer with less stress than otherwise.
So the month of May is for getting into the habit of it. I will also go for a minimalist look in the house, putting away as much as possible. By the time school is out, I should have the basic household systems running like a well-oiled machine.
You may laugh if you like. But did you know that the average Italian woman spends 21 hours a week on housework, not counting cooking? For the average American woman, it is four hours a week. It must be that there is a higher level of efficiency operating. Or that the average American household is weltering in mess, sports equipment, and snack food wrappers.