There is a time for everything… a time to keep and a time to throw away. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 6
I just finished up what is, in my opinion, one of the worst chores of motherhood: the kids’ seasonal clothing turnover and purging that every mother in New England dreads. No matter how hard I try, it always equals umpteen loads of laundry, and a week and a half of clothing strewn all over the upstairs hallway. The piles are mind boggling and hard to keep straight: what gets handed down to my nephews’ kids who are smaller, what still fits, what out of season clothing needs to get rotated to the top shelves of the closet, what of Zack’s goes into the attic to be worn later by Mason, what hand-me-downs that Jocelyn has received from family and friends that fit and don’t fit, what goes to Goodwill, and what I had to buy to fill in the gaps. Multiply these piles by three kids, and my hallway is a minefield. Then add to that the usual laundry that needs to get done and I’m buried under it. Please tell me how mothers of seven or more kids ever complete this chore?!!
I am someone who, if my outer world looks chaotic, my inner world is a disaster. Needless to say, I’ve been frazzled for over ten days now! But knowing there was an end to the project kept me plowing through. I couldn’t wait to get to the other side: where my hallway would be clothing free again, drawers would be filled, tubs of clothes would be back in the attic, and what needed to get passed on would be in the hands of those who could benefit from them.
I kept thinking that once my outer world was organized, my inner world would become peaceful again. But then I started tripping over all the piles in the hallways of my head and heart: routines that my kids and I have outgrown and aren’t working anymore, toxic relationships that are exhausting to maintain because they’re so imbalanced, habits I’ve developed that are taking me off course, and laziness in certain areas that is holding me back. In the face of working through all this, I’d much rather wash load after load of laundry and side-step piles of clothing in my path.
However, if I want to become the person God envisions me to be, I have to do the hard work. I need to spend the time to develop new routines for who my kids and I are now, so that I’m teaching them responsibility, independence and team work, and I am being productive. I have to either step away from some relationships and let them die their natural deaths, or if they have the potential to be healthy and balanced, invest the time and energy to make them so. I need to find the self-discipline to reverse my bad habits – knowing that I’m role modeling everything for my kids. What they see is what they will become. Furthermore, I want to demonstrate for my kids that it is possible to overcome laziness, fear, self-doubt, and whatever other obstacles there are between me and becoming who God wants me to be.
I’d be embarrassed if my kids were walking around town with pants up to their shins and shirts two sizes too small. By no means do I want them to become vain, but I do want them to take pride in their appearance. God created them amazing little beings; they should carry themselves with dignity.
So too, I don’t want to be embarrassed before God, walking around, still stuck in my old ways that don’t fit anymore. He made me an amazing being too. I shouldn’t disrespect that by clothing myself in old routines, bad habits, and laziness. If I want to hold my head up high, carry myself with dignity, knowing deep in my heart that I’m doing the very best that I can, it’s time to do the hard work of purging on the inside.
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Oh Friend, I too dread that seasonal change and purge but the inner purging is the hardest part. I am putting it all off right now by prepping for the holidays. It is a busy distraction to all the true work that has to be done and will be waiting for me in January if I don’t get to it. Thanks as always for your honesty!
I do love the new hope that the new year brings. Maybe we can write our New Year’s Resolutions together and support each other in the hard journey… 🙂
So true. Change of any kind is always tough, but changing on the inside is by far the toughest. It seems like you have recognized what you need to change, which is equally as hard. You are an amazing being and you will figure it all out. You have definitely inspired me to look inside myself to see what “junk” I need to get rid of. Thanks Claire!
Thanks for sharing this journey with me Pam! It’s friends like you that inspire me to work harder to be a better person and mom. 🙂
What is wrong with me? I love purging old stuff! I love the feeling of order from junkiness, of lessening our possessions until they fit neatly in everyone’s dresser drawers and close completely and smoothly.
We live in a small house, so there is not a lot of space. If I can get rid of something, it gives me back some spaciousness.
I also don’t have a lot of time for cleaning, so I feel like the less stuff I have, the less there is to maintain and clean!
Good for you Deborah! Glad you’re good at purging. Maybe I need to take a page from your book!