Real Simple. (I ♥ Real Simple.) Compartments are what this drawer needs, I thought to myself. Compartments.
I like compartments. I like delineation. I like neat piles. I like work time and then play time. I am the queen of checklists, the duchess of task-oriented behavior, the baroness of getting one thing done and then moving on to the next. Try to talk to me while I'm writing or checking e-mail and I will either ignore you or offer you a response that conveys the same message.
But becoming a parent has knocked me out of my compartmentalized comfort zone.
And I struggle with jumbles. With blurry lines. With mixed metaphors. With feeding an infant, serving lunch to a toddler, and foraging for my own food all at the same time. Sometimes I watch Husband as he juggles the balls of parenthood and selfhood far more easily than I do. New Yorker always nearby, he plays with Big Boy and entertains Tiny Baby while catching up on "Talk of the Town" and Malcolm Gladwell's latest pet theory. He plays, he entertains, he reads, and he remembers. He does it all. All of it.
And parents need that ability to multi-task. The power to do it all, all at once. The ability to look at a messy drawer, grab a spoon, and move on, not worrying about order, reveling in the chaos. Sometimes I think that Husband is more of a natural in the parenting department than I am because he does it all; he does everything. When I try to do it all, I feel like I'm doing nothing. By nature, husband is a multi-tasker; I am just a tasker.
But I've been working on it.
Yesterday evening after the boys went to sleep, I went into the playroom to tidy up. I found a sea of Legos, a mountain of maracas, a landscape of dinosaurs. I looked at them and then I looked the multi-colored buckets that came with our shelving unit. When we first got it, I would spend time at the end of each day sorting Legos into the large yellow bin, dinosaurs into the medium blue bin, and musical instruments into the small red bin.
But last night, it finally occurred to me: the fun in this room comes from the mess. The Legos are joy, the dinosaurs are imagination, the maracas are spontaneity. Compartments don't work in a room that is supposed to be messy. So what if the Legos and dinosaurs and maracas spend the night mixed up in some sort of architectural prehistoric Latin debauchery? So what?
It may be messy, but that's life. That is life.
Compartments don't work in a life that is supposed to be messy. After all, how can you compartmentalize something that is not, at its essence, meant to be neat?
Are you a good multi-tasker or do you prefer to compartmentalize? What compromises have you made to your chosen organizational systems to accomodate your partner and/or kids?