Out of necessity, I refined my organizational skills and resourcefulness when I became a single mom. In those first few weeks, I quickly learned that waking sleeping children at 10:30 p.m. on a school night to purchase classroom birthday treats isn’t an option.
Several years ago, a friend told me that her secret to maintaining sanity as a single mom was the KISS principle: Keep it simple, stupid.
I prefer to think of it as “keep it simple, silly.”
I once vowed to write it on my fridge in permanent ink, if I began to forget. I haven’t. I’m reminded daily of the need to decide what must be done today and what would be nice to do, but can wait, if needed.
Parents want the best for their children, and we all have different ideas of what that means. For me, it’s having a squeaky clean floor and giggling children. I want it all, but it’s impossible to be everything to everybody, every minute of the day, and I know that I shouldn’t even try.
KISS is a wake-up call for me. It’s a reminder to decide what’s most important and to focus on that. I need to let go of the rest.
This holiday season, for example, I’ve decided not to send out Christmas cards. Usually, I send Christmas cards out on Thanksgiving Eve, after the post office is closed. Instead, I’m focusing on my family and spending time making crafty teacher gifts and homemade gingerbread cookies. I plan to call or text or email loved ones who live far away to personally check in and wish them a happy holiday season.
And tomorrow night, I won’t sweep away the dust bunnies in the corners of my kitchen after work. Instead, I’ll be taking a tour of the fire station smokehouse with the Cub Scouts. I took a tour with the Brownies a couple of years ago. Still, I wouldn’t want to miss those fresh oohs and ahhhs of amazement at the way smoke travels through the house, teaching children about how to exit burning buildings safely.
The floor can wait.