Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I am no Martha Stewart. And I don't even pretend to be. But I need to face the grim reality here. My house is a mess. (This post is a thinking out loud post, and I apologise in advance for its erratic nature.)

I know I am not a bad mother. My family is well fed. I can stick to a budget. Every day I send the kids to school in clean clothing, on time and with homework done. But the truth is that our home is chaotic. I really really worry about what this is doing to my kids. I fret that they have not learnt to take good care of their belongings. I can't chastise them for it, because I am not a good example. I worry that the messiness adds to my brilliant but easily distracted son's attention issues. I shed tears that the clutter is paralysing my perfectionist daughter and adding to her worries. I hate that my darling husband, who works so hard every day to keep us comfortable comes home to an uncomfortable house, with a frazzled wife. I feel guilty about enjoying craft work while the piles all over the house keep growing.

I need a plan. I have tried Flylady, I have spent hours developing routines and schedules, but nothing has reall fit. I spend a couple of hours most mornings at the school, volunteering, and somehow that seems to throw me out for the day. I seem to have less energy than a lot of other people. I need regular breaks or I simply will not make it to the end of the day. So that's my problem. Truthfully, there are a whole bunch of emotional issues wrapped up in there too, perectionism, self doubt, and so on, but I am working on those already, and now I need to pull this home together and start living the life I think we deserve.

I am going to spend the rest of today rescuing the house ... fifteen minute blocks in each room until it's up to scratch, but while I do it, I am going to be thinking about how to get out of the emergency cleaning rut I am trapped in. Decluttering, organising and coming up with functional routines are my big goals for the rest of this year.

Any advice would be gladly welcomed!!


Tammy said...

Aw, don't be hard on yourself, cause the harder you are on yourself, the worse off everything seems! I've had problems with low energy too. My husband and I went on a week-long vacation a year after we were married, and he told me I was tired the whole vacation. I don't know why, but I had very little energy during the first few years of our marriage. Good vitamins and lots of water really help. Water is so energizing! I wrote a blog post about coffee a few months ago (about not wanting to drink it), and someone suggested mint flavored chlorophyll (found in a health food store), and I started taking it and noticed a great improvement in my energy level!

I hope you can find some things that will work for you, and give you more energy! Blessings!

Lisa (Froggyhead) said...

I don't really have any answers. I do flylady or mrscatherine for a while when I'm feeling the need for organization. Once I've got things rescued, then I just try to put things back where they belong when I'm finished with them (that goes a long way) and I'm finally teaching my kids to do the same thing (I should have started that when they were little).

Hubby contributes a good bit to clutter. I am learning to let it go...except on the dining room table. I cannot stand it, so every time he puts something on the table, I put it somewhere else. After having to look for things ALOT, he stopped putting things there for the most part. LOL

The magic routine stuff has never worked for me for more than a week or so, so I use it when I need the structure and then I just try to maintain reasonably. As far as crafting goes, if I have a project planned I will usually go do a quick tidy up or clean a specific room or put in a load of laundry so that I can enjoy crafting without the guilt or the feeling that I should be doing something else...or sometimes I craft for a few minutes, then clean for a few minutes. Depends on my mood and on how many people are in the house, etc.

I sure said a lot for someone who had no advice. lol

Emma said...

Thanks Tammy and Lisa. I have been working very hard today, and managed to excavate hubby's computer desk and do a fair bit of decluttering in the dining room and kitchen. This afternoon I will dedicate to getting the laundry folded and straightening the living room. A quick vacuum and then I should be feeling a lot better! I think I felt so guilty because I am longing to start a couple of new craft projects and everything around me was messy!

I think you are both on the money about my water/caffeine consumption. I drink a LOT of tea (those antioxidants make it so easy to justify), and I think I need more water and noncaffeinated drinks. I drink a lot more water in summer, but in winter I tend to forget.

I tend to blame myself for all the clutter, because I am at home "all day". I forget that we are living in a tiny house, we all are collectors and it's just not the best situation for us. Organisation and good habits are our two big issues, and it's not just me, but the whole lot of us who need to step up.

Wow! I am on a rant today! *blush* I'll get over it soon :)

Anonymous said...

Hey you sound like me! I've tried Flylady and don't stick to the routines, you should see my binder it's so organised - but my house arghhh!!

Our house is tiny too, we need more rooms. But I know if we had more rooms they would just fill up with more clutter.

Blessings and don't put yourself down. Children remember the love not the tidy house.

Emma said...

Thanks Sarah. It's funny that I was thinking how we need a larger house, and then I thought, no, I'd just find more stuff to put in it! Truthfully, we do need a little more room, it's a little small for even the necessities. The computer desk takes up a large part of the dining room. My sewing machine has to live in the entry foyer. We are trying to improve this house to move out and use it as an investment property. One day!

Thanks also for the thought about the kids. I just worry that their biggest childhood memory will be me getting upset that they can never find clean socks because they never put them in the basket!


Antique Mommy said...

My mom was just like you and still is. My dad is just like your hubs (orderly), my oldest brother is just like your boy and I am perpetually uptight and neat like your daughter. I hated the clutter and the mess, and I always have, but it didn't harm me. Everyone is just wired differently and it's not bad to learn to live with that. When I go home to my parents house, it's still a wreck and makes me nuts, but now that I have some perspective and a child I am so grateful that my mom was the kind of mom you are. Sounds like you are doing what's important. If you have time left over, get the dishes out of the sink. Or get one of those kids to do it.

Emma said...

Thank for commenting Antique Mommy. I am a regular reader of your blog and really enjoy your insight. A funny thing is that my Mum's messy house really bugs me too! I think we are slowly improving through the generations, so maybe my daughter will get it right :/

Calla Lilly said...

I am also one of those people who does not have as much energy as others - I have always been this way. If I do too much, I wind up sick. If you are having a particularly rough time of it, try watching a t.v. show (I can't believe I'm saying this) and working during the commercials. You'd be surprised how much you can get done during a commercial break. I don't recommend this for everyone, but it does help the desparate, which my health sometimes leaves me. Another thing that helped me, particularly when our daughter was small, was the rule that nothing (other than food items) came into the house unless we got rid of something else. Hang in there!

Alice said...

Hi Emma - I found you via Tanya's blog, and many of your comments on this post could have been written by me when our 4 children were at home.

I spent so many years trying to keep the place tidy (it was usually clean, if not tidy) and it used to drive me mad. Many of my friends had a house cleaner come once a week but I wouldn't allow myself to do that because I figured that I SHOULD be able to do it all since I was home all day.

It didn't help that neither Richard nor I are particularly tidy either, and even today I could improve a lot, but there's only the two of us in the house now, so it doesn't seem to matter so much.

I also know what you mean when you say you come home from school and have no energy or desire to do housework. I guess you probably take the children to school and just stay on for a couple of hours. Would it be possible to change your 'school time' to later in the day, AFTER you've had some time to do your house and some craft? Could you do a couple of hours in the afternoon and then bring the children home? However, I guess it's probably reading, maths, etc. that you help out with and that's usually done in the morning. If it's clerical work that you do, then the afternoon may work just as well. Also, knowing that you have to do your house and some craft BEFORE your afternoon school time, may be an incentive to get stuck into it. There is an old saying that "the longer you have to do something in, the longer it takes you to do it." I have found that to be so true. I could clean a bathroom in 5 minutes if I had a deadline, or I could take 30 minutes if I had all day.

Unless it really is affecting your children, don't be too concerned on that score. It's still HOME to them, and they would rather come home to a mum who is happy and can spend some time with them - and they will be the times that they remember in future years. So, I guess it's really all tied up together.

Don't aim for perfection - just a reasonable level of tidiness so that you can all relax and enjoy each other's company.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog.