Normally I keep my musings for Mondays, but as I was going about the business of morning stuff, thoughts were swirling in my brain, like the #DustHyenas I was sweeping. In case you were wondering what a Dust Hyena is, it's like a Dust Bunny but bigger and nastier.
About a year ago, I embarked on the process of decluttering put forth by the titan of tidy, Marie Kondo, in her book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up". I started well but life got in the way, as it is wont to do. 2016 was looming around the bend and I found a Facebook group called the "KonMari 26 Week Challenge" and I dutifully joined because it met all the criteria for my ADHD brain to be able to get back on track. Namely, a set time-frame, a schedule of what to do and when, and The List. The List is broken down by week and gives what must be worked on during that time. There are also a lot of other people just like me, working on the same step at the same time and we are able to share our triumphs and tribble-ations. I belong to a lot of KM groups on Facebook, but this is the most helpful at the place I am right now.
The over-arching aim of the KonMari Method (KM for short) is that if it #SparksJoy, you keep it. If it doesn't, you thank it for its service and send it on its merry way. I've lost track of just how many non #JoySparkers have left my house, but I can safely say it's A LOT. We are NOT hoarders by any stretch of the imagination, but like most Americans, we have a lot of stuff. Just stuff. Stuff I was saving for this or that reason... Stuff I got on sale because it was a good deal... You know the drill.
But here's the kicker... I HATE stuff. Hate it. Loathe it. Abhor it. Detest it. (and no I didn't need a thesaurus for that, lol) Too much stuff kicks my ADHD into overdrive and I spiral into depression. I hate stuff sitting out. I hate knicknacks that aren't behind glass. And yet, much like Saint Paul wrote
What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. (Romans 7:15 The Message)I find myself with STUFF. And it is EVERYWHERE. And so I ceep calm and KonMari on. Part of the concept of the KonMari Method is the idea that the house will tell you when it has reached a "click point". It sounds crazy, but it's true! I'm getting to that part, lol, bear with me.
As I get further into the process of refining my Joy Sparkers, I realize that while I love my dining room and appreciate all the meals around the table we've enjoyed, the guilt for not being able to use it for that purpose in a very long time has been crushing me. And it shouldn't. But yet it has been. Partly because people who shall remain nameless [couhg]my spawn[cough] have complained about it. Well-meaning people have commented on how eating dinner every night at the table brings the family together and blahblahblah.
So here's the deal:
I refuse to feel guilty any more and Imma tell you why in bullet points:
1. I work from home as a fiber artist (I make things out of fabric). That work involves needing a large flat space to lay out, measure and cut the fabric. Visit my website. #ShamelessPlug
2. My children need a place to do homework. More specifically, my at-risk SPD child needs an area free from siblings with enough space to be tutored by her father. The dining room table fits that bill perfectly.
3. My house is small, but it is almost paid for and I don't feel like shouldering the overhead that an outside facility would cost me. Plus, working from home allows me to be with my kids even when I'm working.
4. My work? Pays for all those nifty things my spawn enjoy doing as extracurriculars. So we can either eat at the table or do fun stuff.
5. Being able to work from home is my #JoySparker (see above). The "click point" came for me when I realized that using my dining room table as part of my work space means more to my family than just eating a meal. It means income for my family that we otherwise wouldn't have.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my dining room table. It's a gorgeous piece of furniture. But until and unless I get a dedicated workroom (which I don't see happening any time soon for a variety of reasons), my dining room IS my workroom. And I'm happy with it. If you have an opinion on why I'm wrong or should do something else, you can forward me the approximately $20,000 to build a functioning workspace. You don't have an extra twenty grand laying around? Okay then. Kindly keep your opinions to yourself.
Let me add something else that Sparks Joy for my family: being able to sit together in comfort on the sofa and eat dinner close together while watching our favorite TV shows on Netflix and Hulu. Because dinner time is the only time we're all able to watch TV at all. And being able to share that time means the world to us. We don't have to worry about people's faces being in their phones or tablets because we're too busy watching TV together (it's like MST3K at our house) and stuffing said faces with food made with love by either their dad or myself (but mostly dad because he's a way better cook).
Some of my fondest memories growing up were eating homemade nachos for dinner and watching "CHiPs" or "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" with my parents. I don't remember many of the meals we ate at the table (and that was the rule for meals), but I remember those times we broke the rules by sitting in the TV room with mom and dad watching TV and eating. And that's probably why I don't feel one shred of guilt about having my kids watch TV while we eat. Because it's not about where you're sitting, it's about who you're with. We're building a shared experience. And that is everything to me.