So it’s week three of the school term and my life is starting to take on a concerning and rather familiar theme. Chaos.  I have often referred to the general mayhem that we exist in as ‘happy chaos’, probably trying to gloss over the fact that I am hopelessly disorganised by making it sound like it’s fun. But actually, if I’m really honesty, it’s not fun, and the chaos is not happy but an altogether unhappy experience that I swore this year wouldn’t be the overriding feeling in our home and our lives.

In my simple new existence, there was just not going to be chaos. There was going to be smooth sailing from dawn until dusk and everywhere in between. I was going to be smiling serenely as I moved from my position at the stove, stirring wholesome goodness in pots of love and making early morning muffins, greeting neighbours as I walked the children (and various pets) calmly and early to school, playing endless hours of creative play dough with my girl, going about my shopping and cleaning whistling a happy tune under my breath and greeting my husband with delight and sweet shiny,faced children lined up when he arrived home to hang up his coat at the end of each day.

The trouble is, I hadn’t factored in that to make all the changes in our life, I would have to actually change the biggest thing of all, me. Completely. I am, by nature, disorganised and impulsive, hopeless at cleaning up after myself or keeping a schedule. If I were to record the most common things my husband says to me I feel sure the top two would be, ‘have you finished with that?’ and ‘slow down’. I move from one thing to the next with lightning speed, no time to put things away when I’m finished with them, there are new tasks to be tackled. And so, it is no small wonder, my children are largely the same and my poor tidy, schedule keeping perfectionist husband spends a large part of his home life in despair (the other part I hope, in joyful delight at the good bits). I know all this, yet am still surprised when after a day of cleaning and tidying, the house returns to its ‘just been ransacked’ state within a matter of moments and I feel dejected and frustrated and yell at everyone, demanding that they start picking up after themselves.

I tried scheduling chores for the boys and regular ‘spot tidying’ during the day last year but it didn’t last longer than a week. I have reminders in my phone to prompt me to look at my diary, so prone am I to forgetting appointments, although I’m actually still using my 2012 diary so it’s not much help at the moment.  I haven’t quite got around to getting a 2013 one, it’s only mid February after all, and they’ll all be on sale soon for sure. Our family planner sits lonely and unfilled in on the back of the kitchen door with notes for school activities pinned hopefully to January. I live in fear of being the mother who forgets to send money along with her child to the annual Mother’s Day stall and kind friends have been known to (regularly) text me on the morning of casual day or excursions just to remind me.

I don’t want to be that person anymore. Just like I don’t want the crazy in our lives and have made massive adjustments to create a simpler existence, I don’t want the chaos in me. I’m happy to be a little crazy now and then, but I need for our home to be peaceful and organised, for me to be peaceful and organised. For me to reach my small, modest goals each day (like using the gym membership I’ve had for seven years for more than stopping by the cafe for a take away coffee) or taking teddy for an early morning walk each day which I scheduled last year and did once.

I have my moments of brilliance. It’s just that they are very short lived. I start with so much enthusiasm and determination and then it just kind of evaporates after the initial burst. I think perhaps, I need to list the most important changes I want to make, turn them into small achievable goals each day and give myself time to change the habits of a lifetime. I know that order creates freedom. I know to give myself the time to do things I want, I need the structure in place to deal with the things I need to do first.

I want my friends and family to stop expecting me to forget, to be late, to not be able to rely on me. I want them to suddenly realise one day that I turned up every time, that they didn’t have to step over a million toys and piles of laundry when they came to my house, that I wasn’t frazzled, wasn’t rushing, that I was peaceful, happy, calm, organised.  I want to open my diary every morning and not be surprised and not have that sickening shot of adrenaline hit because I forgot someone’s birthday the day before .

On Saturday, I saw an elderly lady being walked into a nursing home, bags and boxes of belongings coming with her. It made my heart break a little bit and I thought about her all morning. Was she happy? Was she satisfied by the life she was leaving behind. Was she at peace entering this final phase? Did she have enough memories to sustain her? Had she lived her life?  I want to be everything I can be, the best version of me, and give myself, and our little family, a real chance to be and have this beautiful life we trying to create.  When I enter old age, I want to look back and say ‘Wow, I really gave it everything I had’ and smile. I don’t want regret. I don’t want to be held back by my habitual lack of organisation. I can change. One small step, one tiny achievable goal at a time. Every single day.

Everything I want for me, for us, depends on me finally, really, permanently making these changes. The biggest obstacle to our dream life is me and I don’t want to be in the way anymore. I have David Bowie on repeat in my mind and I know I can do this.

It’s time…


(any tips gratefully received ;)