I am a perfectionist, type A, Enneagram 2 wing 1, and dare I say, control freak. In elementary school when we had to do a writing piece about a friend, my best friend titled her work about me, “My Friend, the Neat Freak.” So I guess it’s in my DNA and it’s always been a part of me.
When I was teaching art in the classroom, my room was neat, organized, and labeled. Not the typical scene, as most art spaces are paint covered and cluttered with paper scraps and the like.
Now as a work-from-home mom, it translates as fairly organized closets and labeled bins in some areas. It also translates into my children ripping labels off said bins and my family not following my ideal system of organization. Just this weekend, I “Marie Kondo-ed” our coat closet. Not 24 hours later, there were four coats strewn about along with two broken hangers from my girls trying to get down coats they couldn’t reach (and didn’t even need since their everyday coats hang on hooks in our mudroom).
I have realized over the years that as a neat freak and in order to stay sane, I have to let some things go.
My children make messes, shocking I know, but they don’t really enjoy cleaning up after themselves. Perfection just doesn’t exist, especially in this season of motherhood with littles. Sometimes I try to look around at their elaborate Barbie scenes, Legos, cars, and stuffed animals all scattered about on the floor. I try to lock it in and remember that one day I will look back and miss the chaos and the mess. I’ll long to hear their imaginations running wild as they play and laugh. I lock it in and then, honestly, I still get a little stressed that at some point, it all needs to be up off the floor so I don’t go insane and my 10-month-old doesn’t choke on a Barbie shoe.
I just need some kind of order in my life. I function better when things are neat and things get put back at the end of the day or when we are done with them. Working from home has added another layer to this in that I actually do still need to be productive in my space. I have embraced the imperfect but also recognized that a clean, orderly, and organized house makes me happier and a better mom and wife. It might sound crazy but it’s true and really is a form of self-care for me. We all have things that help us to stress less and enjoy all of the moments with our families, being the “neat freak mom” just happens to be one of mine.