What Are Your Five Things?

I like lists of five.  Five things are easy to come up with on just about any topic.  Like, what are the five best movies you’ve ever seen?  Your five favorite pieces of clothing?  Five books you’d need with you on a desert island?  Today, we’re going to consider what the Top Five things that need to be maintained in your home for you to consider it “picked up”.  

(For the record?  1.  Godfather 2, Inception, Memento, Gone With The Wind, the Usual Suspects; 2.  Denim skirt, ratty Washington State sweatshirt from 1993, fabulous Calvin Klein red/black/camel dress from this year’s Nordstrom Anniversary sale, the components of my standard uniform, my mom’s cashmere swing coat with the fur collar; 3.  Harry Potter #7, Pride & Prejudice, The Buccaneers, Neverwhere, …And Ladies Of The Club.)

In all reality, I doubt if any sane person is able to absolutely commit to an ironclad housework schedule.  Calendars aren’t a universal solution.  Nothing, in fact, is a universal solution.  So if you’ve tried any of the million organizing systems in the world and none has worked, you may feel like it’s your fault.  It’s not.  Well, not entirely.  Maybe you just need to re-examine your approach.

You’ve heard of the phrase “can’t see the forest for the trees”?  This means that you’re so fixated on the details, the minutiae, the micro-ness of the situation that you lose sight of the bigger picture.  It goes both ways, you know.  It’s also very possible to see only the forest, only the whole, none of the parts.  Neither is ideal, and changing your perspective is what resolves this trees/forest situation.  So maybe you’re looking at your situation from way too far away when you rely on a calendar.

Instead of “what do I need to clean today?”, how about looking at it as “what’s my path of least resistance?”  It can be an entire room (like, “clean bathrooms”) or an area (“kitchen counter”) or a task (“laundry”).  At our house, laundry and dirty dishes clog up the entire place when they’re left undone.  What about you?  What are the five quick jobs that, if dealt with regularly, make the rest of your home seem easier to manage?

On Being A Ninja Mom

ninja (忍者) or shinobi (忍び) was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan who specialized in unorthodox warfare. The functions of the ninja included espionage,sabotageinfiltration, and assassination, and open combat in certain situations. 

I don’t know about you, but not a day goes by when I don’t do most of those (assassination is rare, but I’ve been known to dispose of dead fish without a second glance).  There are mornings where simply getting Boo into her clothes counts is similar to open combat (and calf roping, but that’s off topic).

About a month ago, I posted about the wonderful friends I have.  They’re my Posse of Ninja Moms.

I realized these ladies were actually Ninjas when I was pregnant with Boo.  There was NOTHING I couldn’t ask them.  They made me realize that no matter how invincible and independent and capable we are, we are never above asking for and receiving help and knowledge.

So what makes someone a Ninja Mom?

Ninja Moms rally around you when scary pregnancy things happen. They laugh when funny pregnancy things happen, and they share their own experiences and they make a point to help you feel like you’ll be OK as a mom.  The first week you’re home with a new baby, they bring meals and they stick around for a couple of hours so you can take a shower and a nap.  They pass along clothes and all sorts of good stuff that their own kids have outgrown.  They make HUGE fusses over the successes and gave realistic suggestions for the struggles.  They help so much in ways you never could have anticipated.

As your children get older, the Ninja Moms are the ones who tell you which emergency rooms have the best pediatric protocols because such information is valuable and luck favors the prepared.  They tell you which soccer league is a good one and which one to avoid.  They give you strategies for navigating theme parks.

Ninja Moms do not judge other moms on their parenting style or decision (as long as lives are not threatened).  They may not necessarily agree with this or that, but the core belief of the Ninja Mom is that we pick our battles, we ask for help when we need to, and we do not force our battle strategies onto other Ninja.

This lady?  Totally a Ninja Mom.  She gets it. I’m definitely going to buy her book.

While the original meaning of “Posse” refers to a group of citizens assembled by the authorities to deal with   an emergency (such as suppressing a riot or pursuing felons), the term posse is also used for any force or band … often also figuratively or humorously.  

When Ninja Moms gather, it’s a Posse, because chances are there’s an emergency going on (am I right or am I right?).  That emergency may involve a ladies spa weekend two states away, but that counts (IT DOES.).

These could totally be moms. Just go with it.

The moment when you look around at your life, and you think “Yeah, I got this.” you are a Ninja (whether you’re a mom or not).

The Posse of Ninja Moms

I am blessed, make no mistake.  Sometimes I look at my life, and I think, “Dang, girl, you really fell into a good situation in spite of spending most of your 20s making bad choices.”  Opportunities and encouragement are bountiful, and I am endlessly grateful for this.  It’s not that nothing bad has ever happened to me; rather I believe that even the bad things have helped me end up here, and every day is a victory.  Seriously, it’s a world of Galore, and a big part of why this is so is my Posse of Ninja Moms. 

Yeah.

Back in my college days, my Ninjas were my girlfriends, filling up my speed dial. We weren’t moms then but we were already laying the groundwork for subsequent incarnations of ourselves. We laughed and cried and fought and drank celebrated together.  Through the years, I’ve added to my circle of friends, which is very easy to quantify, thank you Facebook…  And now, instead of calling one person at a time when I need help with something, I post a bat-signal on Facebook to my Posse of Ninja Moms. For real, these ladies, many of whom I’ve only known online, share their wisdom, empathy, funny stories, advice, attagirls, and support.

I love it.  I just love that my friends do this.  I love that friends will email me, requesting that I float their issue to the Ninja Moms.  It’s so fantastic, these amazing women who take the time to help each other out.  The range of responses to a call for the Posse to rally is impressive.  We’re all at different stages in our motherhood, but nobody is discounted outright.  New moms are given just as much credence as old established current veterans.  There is no judgement, no condemnation.  The Ninja Moms do not tolerate Mom On Mom Hate Crimes.  We discuss pros and cons of the suggestions, and it can go on for 100 posts with email follow ups.

It’s a growing phenomenon at our house, too.  When Boo brings us to our knees with whatever at that moment makes us the Worst Parents Ever, Mr. Incredible will suggest that I take it to the ladies and see what they think.  What’s fabulous about this, is that either we are given a foundation for a solution, or (at the very least) we are reassured by the knowledge that yes, this totally sucks but is completely normal, and no, this isn’t permanent.

A century ago, I’m sure that there were Posses of Ninja Moms–I like to think that they had conversations just like ours as they were quilting, or putting up the tomato harvest, or having tea on the Titanic (100 years ago next month, can you believe it? I’ll never let go, Jack!).  A century from now, our great-granddaughters will gather around the space-watercooler or send a telepathic space-message (I’m so high-tech and I think in terms of innovation, yes?) to their Space-Posse about some space-tantrum their kids won’t stop throwing.

I hope that everyone has her Posse of Ninja Moms.  I don’t know where I’d be without mine. Boo would likely have turned feral by now, that’s for sure.