I am discouraged.  Today has actually been a pretty good day, got schoolwork done, and Xavier complained less than he ever has and had a great attitude throughout.  Just for that I should be in celebratory mood.  It’s a beautiful day.  And I took the kids out for a very yummy dinner tonight.  My knitting is progressing well.  Yet, I seem to be concentrating on the things that aren’t going smoothly.  And that in and of itself is discouraging.

I know that I will never have a house that looks like Susie Homemaker lives here.  Housework will always be my nemesis.  And more days than not I’m okay with that.  However, I’m still trying to do better.  I have a dream of what my house could look like with the proper care and attention.  I also know that the little chores are easier for me if everything has a proper place.  So I’m trying to spend a little time each day perfecting my home.  And up till today, I had been okay with my progress.  My junk closet (second only to organizing my garage in order of scariest job to be tackled in this house) is almost done.  This is a huge task because so much belongs in there.  From extra kitchen appliances and cookbooks, to games and puzzles, a train set, school books galore, art supplies, science materials and paperwork.  It’s all in there, I use it often and it gets out of control fast.  It gets out of control because I haven’t finished putting everything away, so everything doesn’t yet have a place, and then things just kinda get put in piles and then those piles outgrow the empty spaces and start to intrude on those things actually organized and then those things get unorganized.  And with so much in there I’m going in and out of there several times a day.  Until I get so fed up that the things that belong in there start piling up in the counter because I don’t want to go into the closet of horrors.  And then the rest of the house gets to be a disaster. It’s a vicious cycle.  So I’m working on fixing it.  But I’m coming to the point where it’s just not moving fast enough.  Why isn’t it done already?  Then there’s the disasters the kids make.  I’m at the point I don’t know what to do.  While the weather had been colder the kids got into the habit of bringing down their blankets off their beds.  This drives me crazy.  Mostly because two out of three of them never bring those blankets back upstairs, and then expect me to help them out.  (Clara is sleeping with only one blanket for this exact reason.  She normally sleeps with a minimum of five blankets.  But I wasn’t getting the blankets for her, and knowing her, it would have taken at least half an hour to retrieve one).  Trying to stop this, I brought several extra blankets down to the living room.  We now have three blankets down there for them to use.  But no, those won’t do and somehow bed blankets are still coming down stairs.  I stop it when I know it’s going on, but I’m one person they are three, I can’t keep an eye on everyone all the time.  Then we have their rooms.  I went Clean House on all of them last year.  I know that I need to help remember to pick up their rooms, but even when I tell them to pick up it doesn’t seem to get done.  When I have time (read when I get my stuff in order), I’m going to pick up their rooms for them.  It won’t be pretty, there will be crying, but I will cull their toys until they are down to what they ought to be able to keep picked up.  But, considering Chase is gone, and he helps with chores and is a much better enforcer than I am, the house isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.  In fact, the dreaded closet is more organized than ever before.  There are days when the house is out of control, but then we get it back together.  For the most part the house is showing a general trend toward getting to a more organized normal.  This should not be all that discouraging.  I should in fact be encouraged.  But it’s not yet perfect.  Even in that I should be encouraged.  I read a blog posted to Facebook by a friend about how the longing for perfection is normal.  We are longing for the perfection in heaven.  But we have been kicked out of Eden long ago, and won’t see perfection until we get to heaven.  But the longing is perfectly normal.

I’m also discouraged with parenting.  It was a pretty good day until bed time.  Tried to teach Xavier to knit.  Yeah, ummm, manual dexterity is not Xavier’s forte.  So I taught him finger knitting.  Now the problem is that he is very good at that and has made himself a bevy of scarfs.  The problem: have you seen finger knitted scarfs?  The texture is very feminine.  VERY feminine.  I don’t want to discourage him from being creative, but I can’t let him wear those scarves out of the house.  We are back the to problem of the knitting machine.  Pretty things that just aren’t very usable.  We will be headed back to Michael’s soon to find something that he can do, that will make projects he can use. But that isn’t the discouraging part.  Tonight, when I put the boys in bed they started playing and passing stuff between their bunks while I was reading.  I put the bookmark in the book, said goodnight and left.  Now I am overwhelmed at all the stuff I need to teach my children.  Respect, how to clean a room, appropriate behavior in public.  And I realize that I should have been doing a better job of these things all along and I’m overwhelmed at the thought of doing all that, and teaching them school stuff and cleaning house and, and, and, and.  But here too, I need to realize that my kids aren’t that bad.  They aren’t perfect, but no child is.  And they could be much, much worse.

The truth is that there are always things to be discouraged about.  But normally, when I get in a funk (especially a funk that really isn’t warranted), I have Chase around.  First, he’ll do his best to make me laugh.  Then, he’ll suggest an activity to take my mind off everything.  Watch Lie to Me, or Deadliest Catch or something.  He’ll encourage me that I’m not doing as terrible a job as I think.  He’ll also come along side me and help out.  He’d organize some of his paperwork in the junk closet.  He’d do the dishes.  He’d be the creative disciplinarian making the boys to PT for disrespecting their mother.  So I guess the real issue is not all the stuff that isn’t perfect, it’s that I miss Chase.

Now, I guess all I can do is ask God for help.  (Really, all I can ever do).  Help to get a good night’s rest so I can awake refreshed and ready to go in the morning.  Help to get a better attitude.  And help doing all that needs to be done.  And help knowing what it is that needs to be done.