The meaning of the name “Emily” is industrious.  It’s a strong, solid meaning, certainly not romantic or glamorous.  I made the joke once that while my mother’s name means princess, my name means cleaning woman.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m living up to my name, especially when I come to the end of a day and think, “What have I spent this whole day doing?”  But then something occurs to remind me that, yes, I really AM industrious … under the right circumstances.


Since the food for Baby J’s party was, literally, given to me for free on a platter, I spent my night before the party cleaning and organizing rather than prepping food.  I sorted and tossed out in a general frenzy of de-cluttering.  I worked efficiently, I stayed focused, and I got a LOT done.  I was very pleased with the results, and I continue to enjoy the results of my labor.  But, basking in the aftermath of all that hard work made me feel a bit dejected, too.  WHY CAN’T I DO THAT ALL THE TIME???  Why do I let things get into such a state that a major cleaning/decluttering spree becomes necessary?

I know part of the answer: I just don’t function well without a deadline.  I am a person who craves deadlines, clocks and “due by” dates, but they have to be set by an external source, or have people other than my own family involved.  I could set myself a deadline, but if there’s no outside accountability, there’s no guarantee that I will follow it.  That’s why if I really want to get my house clean, I must invite someone over.  (As a side note, this is why homeschooling wouldn’t work for me.  I greatly admire people who can set their own schedules and follow them, but that’s just not me.  Thank God for our little Lutheran school outside my back door!)

There was a time when I felt guilty about this aspect of my personality, when I felt that there was something wrong with me, something that needed to be fixed.  For a while, I even felt that I was sinning in some way.  But I’ve come to accept that this is just a part of my personality like any other, and it’s neither good nor bad, neither here nor there.  Because, for all that I have a hard time making my own schedule and sticking to it, I have the gift of being able to be very flexible, to go with the flow, to fly by the seat of my pants — and fly well!  Situational changes don’t throw me.  We can’t do Plan A?  No problem!  I’ll just create Plan B!  I view that as a gift, one that has benefited myself and my family.  (Which is why my anxiety and my fears about “What if something goes wrong?” intellectually bother me so much.  I know that it’s not me!  I know that it’s something outside of me, something chemical or hormonal.  Anyway, I digress…)

I have wondered at times if I’m a bit ADD (attention deficit disorder).  I fit some of the traits, especially the trait that it’s hard for me to stay focused on things, especially things that are not interesting to me.  I did see a psychologist about this once, many years ago, and he told me that I don’t fit the clinical definition for ADD.  But after doing some IQ and personality testing on me, my psychologist recognized that I have some unique personality traits that can cause problems depending on the situation.  Finally he said, “Emily, you have to learn to love the ‘disease’.”  So now, that’s how I try to look at it.  I have to learn to love the disease, meaning that I have to accept my personality for what it is.  I am thankful for the things I can do well, and I try not to get upset about the things I don’t do well.  But I am grateful when a reason to clean and organize and de-clutter presents itself!

I may not be good at keeping my house in perfect order, but I am industrious in other things.  I hope I can pass on some of my industrious-ness to my daughters.  More importantly, I hope I can help them to find and develop their own industrious-ness in ways that are important to them.  Because that, as Martha Stewart says, would be a “good thing.”


2 thoughts on “industrious

  1. Amen, amen and amen! See, this is why we are friends – we “get” each other’s neuroses 🙂

  2. Oh, Emily, so funny. It seems that’s the only way my house gets clean, too! 😉
    Someday, perhaps, I will be more organized on a regular basis!

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