Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The House is a Mess But Stuff's Getting Done

Growing up my parents never really had an organized home. As much as I tried to clean the house and keep it organized for my parents, there was just too much clutter because my parents held on to everything. I'm not a true claustrophobic, but in cluttered spaces, I do start to feel closed in and get really anxious inside. Therefore, it drove me crazy growing up in my parents home because I always felt closed in and anxious. The mess and clutter was always there, despite my greatest efforts to clear the clutter up.

In my mind, I thought that once I owned my own home, I would keep it clutter free.

Well, no one ever told me how messy little ones are and no one ever told me that I would have toys and other miscellaneous things ALL OVER the floor.

It was a lot easier when DearDaughter1 just turned 1. If I took out a bunch of toys for her, she would, for as long as she could, stay in one spot and play with her toys. Without fencing DearDaughter1 in, the toys still stayed pretty much contained in the living room area.

As DearDaughter1 became more mobile and more curious she grew to love taking everything out of bins and drawers within her reach. If I left a room for even just a second, stuff would be all over the floor when I returned. I remember one day when I had just folded all of DearDaughter1's towels and wash towels and neatly put them away. I left the room for a short while just to grab other clothes to put away. Well, DearDaughter1 was curious about the fuzzy things and went to her towel baskets and just had a blast pulling each and every towel and wash towel out of the basket. I wondered why she suddenly grew silent and when I peeked in, I saw all the hard work I put into storing her towels in a nice and neat pile in disarray on the floor.

This chasing after DearDaughter1's mess became quite stressful and soon, I was disciplining her for everything she touched that she was not allowed to (in addition to child-proofing). DearDaughter1 learned her lesson.

However, as DearDaughter1 grew into the toddler phase, she also needed more toys to keep her occupied or else she'd really be clingy to Mommy. I was pregnant at that time and could not always appease DearDaughter1's clinginess by carrying her anymore. So, when I didn't use the TV to keep DearDaughter1 distracted, I would take out toys and place them in random places in the living room area. Once in awhile, when I saw that DearDaughter1 was getting bored, I would then rotate her toys by putting away the "morning" toys and taking out the "afternoon" toys.

Going back to my "claustrophobic" tendencies, I would really become very anxious when DearDaughter1's toys just seemed to be cluttering the house. Therefore, I was constantly behind DearDaughter1 picking things up here and there just so the house would stay fairly neat. This was a very tiring exercise, but I did it anyway. I did it because of the anxiety that I felt and I did it to keep the house neat just in case a surprise visitor came over or so that it would like I had a productive day in DearHubby's eyes.

Well, this chasing after DearDaughter1 to pick up her toys became very stressful and it was causing me to become angry and frustrated at her, sometimes to the point of yelling at her. I became angry and frustrated because instead of taking care of necessary chores, I was concentrating a lot of my energy on keeping the house nice and neat.

Once the hustle and bustle of the holidays were over, I made it a priority to return to MyRoutine. I had not followed MyRoutine for a long time just because I was still learning how to juggle my time between 2 kiddos, but now that DearDaughter2 is almost 6 months old, I've determined that it's time to get other things back into order, especially the house work. So, for the past several weeks, I have made myself stay home to get my house back in order. As I've stayed home I finally realized why I wasn't getting things done. I was wasting a lot of my effort trying to keep the house looking neat rather than taking care of the essentials, like laundry. I went back to a post about my husband's priorities and I was reminded of which things he'd like taken care of in the home first. So, I decided that I would put my energies into my husband's prioprities and MyRoutine.

The result is kind of ironic...The house is a mess, but stuff's getting done!!!


Trish D said...

It's so tough! As you know, I'm still struggling with this. But I can say that there is a BIG difference between being messy and being dirty. And I guess I'll add overly stuffed to that. If your house is simply messy - things may be scattered about but it's clean underneath and everything has its place - then it truly doesn't take too long to make it presentable again. That's what I keep telling myself as I work to pare down our shtuff so that it all has a home :)

Bren said...

A home that is in order creates a calming effect on the body and emotions. If there is chaos in the home then there will be chaos in your life. Clutter and dirt are different, but clutter is what causes chaos. Come over and enter to win the book I am giving away. It was a lifeline when I was a young mom with 2 small children (one of whom had a seizure disorder and needed constant care). It really changed my life. A system is important for a young mother..not just having it, but using it...without it you can go under very quickly.

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