Progress is a Spiral: Illustration


I have often talked about the idea of progress is a spiral (see progress is a spiral ). This is a concept discussed in On Becoming Pottywise. I love it because it describes so well the parenting process. I often hear it described as “one step forward, two back” or something similar. Progress with children can really seem that way, but I think the spiral is so much more accurate. The idea of the spiral is that you are moving up the spiral. As you move up, from your vantage point it can often look like you are moving further from your goal, but in reality you are always moving toward it.

As my husband and I are preparing to welcome our next little baby into our home, I am naturally experiencing major nesting instinct. This is when you feel like you must deep clean and organize every square inch of your home. One Saturday not long ago, our house was all clean. We decided to pull out some totes we have stored in our garage and go through them. My husband loves to de-clutter and takes full advantage of nesting instinct time.

We pulled the totes out and then pulled every item out of the totes. We then made piles of keep, throw away, give to charity, and undecided. Soon, our family room was a mess. As we discussed the mess and how it was necessary to have it in order to reach our goal of re-organizing the totes, it occurred to me that this was an excellent illustration of how progress is a spiral.

Your end goal is to organize your totes. In order to do so, you must pull everything out and make several piles around your room. Your room soon looks like a disaster. It can seem like your desire for cleanliness and organization is farther away than ever. In reality, however, this mess you have created is moving you closer to your end goal. You will soon re-pack the tote, throw away items, and take items to good will. The room will be back to clean and your totes will be freshly organized.

While parenting, you often will feel like you are only moving backwards or treading water at best. Always remember that progress is a spiral. Sometimes it takes a mess to get you closer to your end goal.

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2 thoughts on “Progress is a Spiral: Illustration”

  1. He loves to declutter. He would like to declutter something even if he can see a use for it in the future. He would like to just get rid of it and then buy it when we need it…but my frugal self doesn’t allow such things 🙂 So when I agree to get rid of something, he jumps on the opportunity!


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