I'm sure I am responsible for at least an acre of Amazonian deforestation with all the half-finished journals I have lying around my house. Here's the thing, it's fun to start new projects. And new journals are especially thrilling those of us who write (or want to write). But so often, ideas get moldy and the fruit flies start swarming, until it's easier just to throw the whole thing out and wait for the next stroke of inspiration.Read More
I actually don’t mind laundry. There’s something inspiring about an empty basket that keeps me motivated to cycle through the loads relatively quickly. (SAHM with too much time on her hands, you ask? I wish.)
But I HATE folding laundry. So I just don’t bother.
Please don’t judge. I swear not folding makes things so much easier. It means our mornings are hassle free, the boys dress themselves, they come downstairs smiling and singing, eat their breakfasts without spilling, and wipe themselves up afterwards.
HA. Of course they don't. I didn’t say it was magic.
But it does mean that choosing clothes every day is not a problem or a fight. If you're interested, I'll explain.
First I bought two of these over the door large-pocket organizers for $7.99 from Amazon (one for each boy):
Then I wash the clothes and let them pile up on the floor of the closet until there’s a stack big enough to warrant a sorting, or we run out of outfits. This usually happens around the same time. (Usually once every 7-10 days).
Then I stack the clothes in piles, and make some outfits. If I'm not in a hurry, they might match.
Then I stuff them in the pockets and voilá, I’m set for at least another week.
The leftovers just get shoved in the drawers. (remember I don’t fold).
Is this lazy? Heck yeah. Messy? Yup. But it makes it easy and we just lay an outfit on the floor every night before bed. On good days, my older boy will come downstairs having dressed himself. And on not-so-good days, it’s easy enough for us to grab the outfit and help him dress. (And by help I mean: sweet-talk, strong-arm, entice, pin down, coerce, bribe, struggle, chase, and cajole. Do you have those mornings too?)
I’m sure some could argue this is not the best way. That I should be modeling responsibility and teaching the importance of taking care of our things. That I should let him choose his own outfits and give him ownership of that part of his day. And they’d probably be right. (See, I DO pay attention in those Montessori parent trainings!) But for now, this means we can get out the door with minimal thought about what we look like in less than 45 minutes. And that’s another lesson I’m happy to teach.
I have no idea what I will do when their clothes get too big for this method. But you still won’t catch me folding them.
adjective: makeshift; adjective: make-shift
1. serving as a temporary substitute; sufficient for the time being.
noun: genius; plural noun: geniuses
1. exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability.
I am decidedly NOT a genius. Let me just put that out there first before you think me arrogant and click away immediately. I am FAR from a genius. But I am a mother, and I am a writer, and therefore, I makeshift a hell of a lot. I have to. Don’t we all?
So I call it my makeshift genius.
I love the idea of a makeshift genius. Not the real genius, the kind with exceptional intellectual or creative power – but the kind that is temporarily sufficient. The kind that will do, that will allow us to survive and – if we’re lucky – kick ass and take a few names along the way.
I like to think of this makeshift genius as my muse. The one I ply with dark chocolate and red wine after the kids have gone to bed to keep her happy and working for me.
The first few years I sat on this concept, I thought of it in terms of the creative ideas I’d come up with in a pinch. This was before the BuzzFeed and Pinterest era that gave us all the solutions for life’s problems in the form of chewing gum, or cardboard toilet rolls, or dryer sheets or maybe bacon. Strokes of makeshift genius, if you will.
More recently though, the idea has morphed into something slightly more meaningful to me, even if that means it’s less BuzzWorthy.
If motherhood has taught me anything about myself, it’s that I know how to get shit done. I always got shit done, don’t get me wrong. But now I can do it with less sleep, more patience (a-hem, mostly), and two kids hanging from my neck.
And that’s a very good lesson, but there’s a better one.
Motherhood continues to remind me that it is not cool to judge. Not that it ever was. But I see more than ever now that most of us are just doing the best we can to get by, makeshifting our way through life.
We like to pretend that we’re genius. And our social media encourages us to share the genius. But really, we’re a little more makeshift than we let on.
I sometimes wish my genius was a little less makeshift, but I’m forty now, so I’m going to own that which I am and that which I am not. I’m okay with that.
I am indeed exceptionally sufficient at most things.
And creatively genius at a few.
Aren’t we all?
Don’t get me wrong, I don't have this down. No sir-eeeeee. I judge. You bet I do. I'm not proud of that, but I'm human. I’m working on it though, trying to remind myself all the time, that there is not a single right way to do this mothering gig. Even if sometimes, I can be obnoxiously self-righteous in my opinions.
So here is my space to share my makeshift, my genius, and everything in between. I hope you’ll share too.