Do you know your limitations?

I’m so honored when someone tells me that I’ve inspired them to tackle an organizing project. That is awesome and I give the glory to God for allowing me this passion and a way to do good with it.

People often say to me how do you find time to do all the organizing you do? Well truthfully I find time because it is my hobby, I enjoy doing it, the same way some enjoy scrapbooking, knitting, bungy jumping, etc. Fortunately for me when I do organize it’s a hobby my whole family can benefit from and hopefully they appreciate.

That doesn’t mean that I am superwoman. Far from it. So I don’t even try to be. I know what my limitations are (for whatever season of life I’m in) and I know I can only do so much.

Up until 2006 I was a working mom. Having grown up with a working mom I knew just how difficult it was to maintain schedules, routines, a clean house, kids, dinners, etc. while working full-time. I also knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up the pace that this type of lifestyle would warrant. I just knew I needed to find a way to keep the stress at bay. For me that meant getting some help in an area that was causing me the most stress.

That is why I hired a cleaning lady!

She was an amazing help and I called her my saving grace! About 8 years ago after it was decided that I would go back to work after my oldest daughter was born I made a deal with my hubbie that if I was going to go back to work (at the time we felt like we had no other choice), under no circumstances was I going to have us spend the entire weekend cleaning the house and thankfully he agreed. From that point on I had someone come into my home once a week to clean for me. Boy did that take the pressure off. A clean house is important to me and I didn’t want to beat myself up trying or pretending to do it all. This was a terrific compromise for the functioning of my household AND my sanity. I knew my limitations and was willing to do something about it.

Does the pressure ever get to you? I’m here to say give yourself a break and know your limitations, whatever they are. Hire a cleaner, hire a professional organizer, trade services with another mom, hire a babysitter so you can tackle something yourself that has been stressing you out, put your children in less activities, learn to ask for help from friends, take a course, you get the picture. Just don’t beat yourself up about it. We are only human, it is okay that something that comes so easily for someone else might not come so easily for you. Don’t look at what you can’t do but what you CAN do to make it right and yes sometimes that means asking for help.

Filed under: Motivation-Encouragement, Organizing


34 Responses to Do you know your limitations?

  1. 1
    Anonymous says

    I think that is an awesome idea. I don’t have it too bad though with my little one now in school 3 1/2 hours a day, but with blogging I still don’t always keep up. Luckily I have a pretty good system so it looks pretty clean, but like you say, “don’t look to close.”

  2. 2
    lori says

    This sounds great! I don’t think my husband would go for it though.

  3. 3
    Beck says

    I think you’re right to keep your focus on spending time with your family!We’ve talked a few times about getting a cleaning lady one or two times a month. I’m NOT an organized person, and always feel overwhelmed by the amount of cleaning and decluttering needed in our ginormous old wreck of a house.

  4. 4
    Anonymous says

    All I can say is — GOOD FOR YOU GIRL!!!! Though try as I may, I doubt my DH would go for it, because I have an OCD personality when it comes to my house being clean. So – since he knows I CAN do it, I suppose he’ll continue to expect it. Darn it, wish I’d thought of that a long time ago – I would have slacked more!!! 🙂 LOL

  5. 5
    Krissy says

    How great, Laura!! I would love to have some help, too. Especially as I delve more into the writing venture. Someday we’ll make it happen! Can’t think of anything better than having someone tackle what I hate doing. Phooey to all the SAHMs who think it’s so terrible to have help. 🙂

  6. 6
    shannon @ rocks in my dryer says

    I’m a SAHM w/ a cleaning lady too! It’s such a blessing. Hubs is a neat freak and I am not; this is a nice compromise for us!

  7. 7
    momrn2 says

    Good for you!!

    With me cutting back hours it also means we are cutting back pay. It doesn’t leave much extra so a cleaning lady is out of the question. I don’t mind cleaning though… at least now I am home more to do it!

    If the funds were there… I’d do it in a heartbeat!

  8. 8
    warpie says

    You know what I found interesting, when I was on missions in Colombia, many many people had help around the house, often more than one person, one for laundry another for cooking, another for cleaning, and these people were not super rich by ours or Colombia’s standards. If you think about it though, they sacrificed the things they didn’t need (like TV, dinner out, cars, electronic gadgets etc) to give someone a job so that they could help provide for their own families. I think that’s beautiful, and think it’s beautiful that you sacrifice some luxuries in return for helping another meet their needs and your own, you’ve prioritized very well.

  9. 9
    Susanne says

    I wish I would have insisted on this kind of thing a long time ago. Even though I work at home, it’s a children’s dayhome, and things can get out of control pretty darn fast! Add 3 of my own kids and a hubby into the mix and let’s just it gets absolutely overwhelming at times.

  10. 10
    Annie says

    Ummm did you just call me a *#@*?? I’m kidding…you know my passion is cleaning and yours in organizing. I wish I could organize as well as I clean…I guess we can’t do it all!

    I did buy a file cabinet through…it is sitting in its box with hanging file folders on top just waiting to be put together. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to get to it, see if we were one person we’d be Wonder Housewife!!

    Keep thinking about Thrive…J. said she would like to go, I’ll send you guys more info when I get it!!


  11. 11
    Jenny says

    Good for you Laura. I have those days where I don’t stay on top of things like I should…yesterday was one of them! But my save in grace is that Scott is a neat freak, so he picks up the slack when I have one of those days (and he doesn’t complain too much)
    I found it really difficult to keep a clean house when the boys were little. (looking back it would have been awesome to have a help come in twice a month.) Your priorities are dead on…your babies are only this age once so enjoy every moment!
    Have a great day!

  12. 12
    Jenny says

    *Gavin’s still little(only 3), but I meant babies..

  13. 13
    Jennifer says

    You’re right–we did have similar posts today! That’s funny.

    I think that as moms we are so quick to compare ourselves to others. We all thing that our friend has it more together than we do. People also ask me how I “have time” to do it all–go to Bible study (and help lead it), blog, read etc etc. My answer is that it’s because that’s what I choose to do. I don’t watch much TV, because I know I would rather do those other things, and I even talk on the phone less (which I used to love), and well, I’ve never been a big cleaner.

    So, I think it’s so important for us to be honest like this. Good job!

  14. 14
    Maggie says

    Great reminder post. As Mom’s we need to carve out time to care for ourselves. We all have different needs and choose what is the best way for each indivisual and family to utilize the money we have.

  15. 15
    mom of 2 says

    What a great post! I think for some reason we feel like we have to be supermom and if we aren’t (which none of us are) it is hard to admit. Why is that? I think you’ve put it into words perfectly! Thanks!!!

  16. 16
    Stephanie says

    You have NO IDEA how relieved this post makes me feel. For some reason, I’ve always associated organized people with super cleaners, and I’m starting to see they’re two separate strengths. And I DO beat myself up because I’m not a pro at both…go figure…I have a 3 1/2 year old, a 13 month old, and I’m 6 months pregnant. I suppose I’m delirious for expecting my home to stay impeccable, huh?

    It’s very nice to know that other mommies struggle with these issues, as well. There are days when I feel so defeated because I feel like I’ve worked all day on various tasks, but of course that’s only between all the child-raising! So at the end of the day I wonder what was accomplished.

    And you’re helping me understand why I DON’T always get to do the organizing, photo arranging, etc. that I’d like to do…I’m not acknowledging my limitations at all. Priorities are a necessity.


  17. 17
    ShariJoy says

    Great post L…. Dug and I have talked about a cleaner for awhile now… I know its in the works just not sure when… seems like I need it now… with not feeling well and all but we’ll see.

    isn’t it funny that I’d like my house organized and tidy to have a cleaner come and clean??? LOL BUT THATS exactly how I feel!!

  18. 18
    Katrina says

    Laura, this is a great post, and I appreciate it. My goal is to someday have some help cleaning, too – and twice a month sounds terrific. It’s true – we can’t do it all and we need to prioritize and to know what our strengths are and what might be better “delegated.” Thanks for these thoughts!

  19. 19
    Domestic Goddess says

    I am in the process of looking for a cleaning lady. I am a SAHM/WAHM and there just isn’t time to get everything done and still have some enjoyment out of life.

    Any tips on looking for one?

  20. 20
    Barb says

    I LOVE this, Laura. You’re a real, live regular person. You are!

    I’m organized. I’m so organized some people think I need counseling. I had to choose between bungee jumping and organization and well, it was hard, but I decided my hobby would be being organized. 🙂

    Good for you and good for all of us that you are transparent enough to let everyone know this is not only OK, it’s a GREAT idea. I swear, we budget for things that are important to us. In my case, it’s a monthly trip to Borders. In your case, it’s someone to help you just enough that you can spend your time doing what’s really important, being a wife and a mom and oh my sweet goodness, maybe even having an hour of alone time occasionally.

    Believe me. If I didn’t have Chelsea, my floor would be covered in crumbs and all kinds of other stuff Cameron throws everywhere, too.

    So good for you that you not only do it but you admit it and you recommend it. Two thumbs up!

  21. 21
    The Wooden Porch says

    Well said!! My husband gave me two house cleans after my last baby. It was so wonderful to sit my butt on the couch and snuggle my kiddos while 3 ladies worked on my house for 3 hours!!! I’m not a messy person either, but 9 man-hours! I would never have been able to devote that much time cleaning. It was such a relief to have a perfect and in order home, if only for a day or two. 🙂

  22. 22
    DivaIsNotABadWord says

    Thank you for sharing the fact you gave up *pretending* to be a supermom/woman. I recently decided to give up that gig and announced I was so so done being someone I am clearly not and focused on who I am and what I can do….I may hire an organzier once I buy a home but then again I am up for the challenge!

    Keep up the GREAT work!

  23. 23
    org junkie says

    Domestic Goddess – unfortunately its all about trial and error. I had to go through a couple of housecleaners before finding the BEST ever! Good luck in your search. Laura
    PS: Thanks everyone for your very insightful and honest comments!

  24. 24
    Anonymous says

    Well, I came by this morning to see waht you had to say. And you are so right. We spend more time cleaning our house….than spending time together. So I read your post to hubbie this morning and he has agreed that it is a great idea. So we are on the hunt for a housekeeper once a month for deep cleaning. Thanks, Laura for saving my sanity……and hubbies.

  25. 25
    Shari says

    it’s weird that people make comments about that. years ago, it was a given that there would be a cook and a housekeeper in employ. i’m hoping to work it in the budget to do that too at some point. some people like to clean and some people don’t. i don’t.

    if you can fit it in the budget, then, i say, go for it, lol.

  26. 26
    Erna says

    Ah, that would be nice. I wonder what the cost would be around here. ;0) I think I’d have a hard time trusting someone to clean my house though and I might be tempted to clean it before they come. Ah, it would be sweet though! I’m delighted you can spend more time with your wee one. We take more time for our kids right now than cleaning house but it still looks pretty good but like said, “don’t look too close.” 😉

  27. 27
    Lucy says

    Hi. I’m looking through your archives. I found your blog through Boomama’s Christmas tour. I love it! Unfortunately, I’m neither a cleaner nor an organizer. Although, I found that most of your kitchen tips I’ve already implemented, so maybe I’m not as disorganized as I think I am. I’m commenting on this post though, because I really want a cleaning lady. I just don’t know how to go about finding one. I also know that there needs to be less clutter for her to actually clean anything. How do you make that happen? There are always toys on the floor, stuff on the counter, etc. Do you have any advice about hiring a cleaning lady?

    Thank you so much! I look forward to keeping track of your blog.

  28. 28
    org junkie says

    Hi Lucy, thanks for your comment! Hiring a great cleaning lady unfortunately isn’t easy, the best way is through word of mouth…ask everyone you know! The best part about having a cleaning lady is it gives you a deadline for having that clutter picked up. The night before we go around the house and get it done…it’s a win win! Hope to see you around here again. Laura

  29. 29
    Katherine@Raising Five says

    Laura, I´m so glad you put all this in your sidebar – I never could find it when you told me you wrote about it…weird.

    I have cleaning help also again, after a couple of years without it (I always had help when we homeschooled fulltime). I was not managing the cleaning vs. organization well (what´s new?). In the end I decided I´d rather spend the money on that than have my kids in Mothers Day Out or preschool, like many moms do, so it works for us. It´s all about tradeoffs. Cleaning is something I LOVE trading off. Now if I could just get your organization gene somehow…

  30. 30
    Anonymous says

    Hi there!
    I think the only people that can evaluate what your family needs are your husband and you. I am a homeschool mom of 3 boys and have a live in maid. Our kids have to go to school for half the day (obligatory here) but I teach them the other half of the day. In our current situation we really need one and thank God that we can have one.(We live in Brazil)
    God bless,

  31. 31
    Anonymous says

    i dont see why you dont have time to clean… how old is your baby? if shes young i understand but if shes over one i dont… i manage it. i just wait till she naps or goes to bed for the night. sometimes i just pop in her fav movie.. it must be nice being able to hire a cleaning lady..

  32. 32
    Org Junkie says

    Hi Anonymous,
    Cleaning happens to be my limitation. I wanted to be honest about that on my blog. Everyone has limitations, nobody is perfect, including me. And yes it is nice to have a cleaning lady but believe me we make sacrifices in other areas to enable it to happen. Even so I don’t judge others that don’t have to sacrifice to make it happen. Each family has to make choices that work for them. Every situation is different and that is okay.

  33. 33
    Kristal says

    Everyone needs help sometimes. Otherwise God wouldn’t have placed us in families!

    I LOVE the idea of trading with other moms and do so all the time. Right now I am helping a organization-challenged friend get her home in order. We do a little at a time and then she teaches me how to preserve and can foods. We both get to learn new things while getting actual work done, spend some girl time, the kids get a play date, and it’s FREE so my husband can’t object!

    You’ve got a great site here and I, for one, appreciate your candor. Thank you!

  34. 34
    Lizzy says

    Thank you so much for this post, I have been feeling so inadequate with my house being out of control, my friend recommended looking at some organizing blogs and so here I am. I have already gotten a lot of good ideas and i’m sure i’ll be back for some more. This quote from your post really hit home with me, and I needed to hear it very badly so thank you. “Don’t look at what you can’t do but what you CAN do to make it right.” I think i’m going to have to vinyl that to my wall 🙂


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