Candy Land Carnage

This morning, actual blood was drawn during a game of Candy Land.

I am not exaggerating. Told that they could not be on devices, the kids decided to play a board game. So great right? Except that my internal high-five (“see, you don’t need screens to keep you occupied!”) was tainted with dread. I knew it was a high likelihood that it would not end well.

See, I should love it when my kids play board games, this timeless classic in particular. Should. I love the image of me standing in the doorway, smiling with my steaming cup of coffee while they sit cross legged around a board, giggling and giving each other encouraging pats on the back. Sometimes it’s all smiles and fun. More often than not, it’s fighting over the rules, who goes first, whether that dice roll counted, nothing being fair, someone wanting to quit because they are losing, someone gloating because they are winning. There is a cheating accusation, the yelling starts… you get the idea.

The reality on this fine morning was a board flipped over in frustration, a full-blown wrestling match, me knocking over the coffee that I had re-heated seven times as I ran to break up the fight that had already resulted in a long, bloody scratch across a torso.

Should is a dangerous word. What I hear from clients is “I know I should be organized/clean out the garage/have a better system”. Should is so full of self-judgement. We’d all do ourselves a favor if we take out the should and focus on the can, on what’s realistic, what’s practical, what’s doable and what works for our own selves and families and circumstances.

Ok, so what does this ramble have to do with a functional, organized home? I promise I’m getting to the punchline. When it comes to our homes, should feels a lot like trying to live up to expectations that come from the Container Store adds in your newsfeed or watching too many episodes of the Home Edit (fun to watch, but I will never expect myself or my clients to color code their snack food). We can identify parts of our homes that aren’t working for us and find new ways to manage the space; we can push ourselves to build systems for getting in and out of the house with greater ease; we can challenge ourselves with new habits to manage clutter build-up. But these things are different for every space and family. Just because Marie Kondo says you should roll your socks a particular way, doesn’t mean that matters for you, or is even worth a minute of your precious time to contemplate. If your linen closet is less-than-tidy but it doesn’t impact the functioning of it, then release the “I should organize this” mindset – it might be just fine as it is. That said, if you can’t ever find your keys because your entry space is a free-for-all, then that is a better place to devote your energy and resources – because you can make life a little bit easier with you can start your car.

As for me, I am going to get a fresh cup of coffee and take a good, hard look at our stack of board games. Maybe I should like Candy Land, but I don’t. And I definitely don’t want bloodshed before 7am. So today, I can put that one into my donation pile.

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