Lessons From The Laundry

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“How am I supposed to get to them underneath all of this?”

That was my sons response when I called him downstairs at almost 10:00 at night to get his freshly washed sheets from underneath 4 loads of wash that still needed to be folded so he could put them back on his bed and go to sleep.

As he said those words, the truth became inescapably clear. How in the world could I get to anything I needed to get done when so many things kept piling up on top of the list I couldn’t even find anymore? No wonder I’ve been feeling so unmotivated!

Why do I let that happen? Sometimes I get so overwhelmed that I just ignore it all. I avoid those mundane, unappreciated, everyday, annoying tasks that act as a super efficient time suck. One small load of laundry turns into a mountain high pile of clothes that becomes so intimidating I don’t even know where to start. I shut the door and walk away.  Everyday I feel smaller as I am crushed underneath everything until there is not enough air in the room to even breathe. I got several texts today. “Mom, I’m out of cereal and I need shampoo.” “Mom can you pick up sharpies so I can finish my blackout poem? Oh and colored duck tape for my science project and some chili cheese tator tots when you pick me up after school?”

As hard as it is to admit, I’m not twenty years old anymore. My energy supply is limited and when my tank is empty there’s nothing more I can do. I have found peace with going to bed with a list of things that didn’t get done. It doesn’t matter how much I do today, tomorrow there will always be more and that’s something I have to learn to live with.

Pick Your Clothes Up Off The Floor or I won’t Cook Dinner Anymore

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If you do your share, you won’t have to keep score. Often times, we look at our partner and carry a mental list of what we think they are not doing. After all, we are all human and it’s pretty aggravating when someone is not pulling their share of the load. The more we complain, the less they do. The voices in our head will carry on dialogue that sounds something like this.

“He didn’t pick the clothes up off the floor so I won’t wash his clothes anymore. Why should I pick up his clothes when he is a grown adult?”

In the meantime, he is sitting on the couch thinking something like this.

“She leaves her glass on the table every night so why should I bother to pick up mine? Maybe if I leave mine on the table, she wil realize how annoying it is and finally pick up hers. If not, we will let them sit on the table until there’s no more room.”

Can you see how counterproductive this kind of thinking is? You cannot change your partner but not doing your share to prove a point will not lead to anywhere good. Neither will nagging or pointing fingers.

Everyone should do their share. Marriage is a partnership where two people are meant to work together as a team. If you’re not, then shame on you. And what’s worse, if you are not doing your share while pointing a finger at your partner for not doing his or her share, than that makes you a real jerk. Knock it off, pick up your clothes and put your dishes in the sink. Then go out on a nice date and remember why you fell in love in the first place or talk about why you don’t feel loving anymore.

Muting That Inner Voice

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I remember not too long ago having a great stretch of happy. It’s so easy to fall into the blues when life appears to be mundane. We wake up day after day and do the same thing. There’s never a chance to get it done that last time because we know we will be starting over again tomorrow. How is it possible to not get a bad attitude or feel resentful when life seems like nothing more than a set schedule of tasks we don’t even want to do? How can I change my attitude to wake up with a smile when I am greeted by a messy house, countless loads of laundry, kids to run around, meals to prepare day after day after day after day. Sure, some would say be grateful you have a house and kids to take care of and money to put food on the table. It sounds great but how about when you are feeling something quite opposite. Geez…did I mention the guilt that sets in? That little voice chimes right in and has plenty to say. Want to listen in? You selfish girl. What a hypocrite you are complaining because you have to make some beds and wash some clothes. Really, is your life so horrible that you need to prance around poisoning everyone with your crappy attitude? Maybe you should practice what you preach and suck it up buttercup. Maybe count your reasons to be grateful and be happy for the life you have.

Not a very pleasant voice to listen to when Im feeling this way. I write about this a lot and if there is one thing that affects my attitude more than anything, it is definitely balance. Too much of this or too much of that can send my happiness meter into a complete tailspin. I guess the problem for me is knowing what I need to find that perfect balance. Some days it might be a break from a daily schedule. Other days, a little more sleep or a fun night out. It changes and it’s hard to know myself well enough to know what it is I want. Sometimes I become so engulfed with feeling bogged up that I can’t think of a single thing that will lift me back up. Kindness or an unexpected surprise from a friend will always do the trick but sometimes when you convince yourself the world is a horrible place, that’s exactly what the world becomes. You can only see what you allow yourself to see which isn’t always the whole picture. So, today I am going back to yoga. I have a concert to look forward to and I am going to try and shake off this negative attitude. No one else enjoys it and I certainly don’t enjoy it either. Here’s wishing everyone who reads this a day filled with the perspective to turn it around, a day to enjoy and be grateful for. What do you say? Let’s do this together.

Confessions Of A Stay At Home Mom

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I know what people think. Wow, she gets to sleep in and lay around all day blogging and watching soap operas. She has the life to do whatever it is she wants while the rest of the world goes to work. Well, I have many thoughts too but not all of them are entirely accurate. The truth is, if you don’t walk in someone else’s shoes, you really have no idea what their life is actually like.

I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to stay home and raise my kids. I continue to feel fortunate that I am home to take care everything at home and keep track of everyone’s schedule and be available to run everyone around. Secretly though, I feel frustrated, angry and dumped on. I think everyone forgets that just because I do not have a paying job, I am not here to cater to everyone’s needs. I am not here to pick up peoples trash or transfer their dishes from the sink to the dishwasher. I am not here to wash clothes and then carry them up steps and put them away in everyone’s drawers. I am a human being and once in awhile I would like to see everyone around here pull their own weight. I have become a prisoner to chores and driving and the sad truth is no one appreciates me anymore, it’s just become expected that I follow behind everyone taking care of their needs.

I made a choice a long time ago to put my needs on the back burner. I guess now I have to live with that mistake. In a world where people are believing they are entitled to anything and everything, I have now become the entitler. I often feel sad and angry and when I start my day each and every morning feeling like I am bound to others who have little appreciation for me, it is hard to not sink into this dark hole of anger that swallows me whole.

My dreams are not of traveling to far away places. They are actually much simpler. My dreams are of someone lightening my load without me having to ask. My dream is someone taking away my overwhelming chains of responsibility that tie me down. My dream is someone really looking at me as a human being and knowing I make personal sacrifices to always take care of everyone else. It is my choice, I know that. I am not looking for sympathy, I am looking for a way to vent so I can release all this negativity that has become stuck at my very core. It hurts to not feel human. It hurts to be trapped in a cage I have designed for myself. So I am looking for the key to escape so I can experience the freedom of a light, loving heart absent from the contempt and pain I carry that makes my heart dark and heavy. It is a terrible burden to carry, to live in the confines of a sad world I have created for myself. It is hard to admit I have forgotten how to dream and I have stopped trying to fulfill my purpose outside of catering to those who don’t seem to notice my pain. It is hard to admit that I am more than a mother, that I am also a woman and a human being that needs support and respect. It is hard to admit that I have stopped living period at my own expense.

These are my confessions of a stay at home mom. I know I am supposed to feel like the luckiest person in the world and believe I am working in the most important job of all, but the truth is it comes with guilt and shame and is not always what it appears to be. I am chained to being mom and house cleaner and dishwasher and driver and child advocate 24 hours with no escape to a job that actually pays and a staff that gets together for lunch. It is a lonely job and a thankless job and at the end of the day, there is nowhere to go. I am at work all the time, every day, every weekend, every holiday. We all need a break sometimes, even mom. I have learned so much about myself through my personal choices. I learned that I am not a superhero even though I wear a cape, I cannot leap over problems with a single bound, or fly over the rocky points to avoid the pain. I am only human, every day and I do not have the power to create a perfect world for those around me. I am connected to every failed paper, dirty dish, bad race, heartbreak or circumstance and there is no escape. That is what comes along with the job title of mom. And I am also tied to the joy, accomplishments, and special moments that make this whole job worth it in the very end. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, but know, it is not as easy as everyone might believe. Next time you see a stay at home mom, remember, she could use a little help once in a while too. And that little deed you offer to do might make all the difference to help her carry on and continue to selflessly do for those around her.

Thou Shalt Not Nag! Or Yell!

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So I am sitting here thinking to myself of creative ways I can get my kids to help out around the house. I had this AHA moment when I realized the problem exists in the misinterpretation of two terms. According to me, yelling is raising my voice in an obnoxious manner, but my kids define it as something else. Yelling: mom asking me in any voice loud or soft to do anything I don’t feel like doing.. Now, I think it is also important to define nagging. Again, for me nagging is repeatedly asking someone nicely to do something over and over again until I have no other possible choice that to ask them not so nicely. My kids version, NAGGING: MOM ASKING TWO TIMES FOR mE TO DO THE SAME TASK I ALREADY DECIDED NOT TO DO THE FIRST TIME iNcLUDING TRYING TO MAKE EYE CONTACT AND INTERRUPT MY TV PROGRAM.

So it is clear to me why the problem exists in the first place. I, mom, vow to not “scream” or “”nag” for the rest of today. I am trying out a new plan of attack. Let me know what you think and if you have any clever suggestions. Here are examples of some of mine 🙂

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