Cleaning and Organizing.
This has been an area that has been hard to come back from.
I love cleaning. When I am stressed (you know..the good kind), getting everything into order feels great. I love it. I love everything looking nice and neat and having its place….it gives me peace.
When I moved out of my parent’s house at 20…21…I didn’t have much. I had some paper stuff I needed to go through, but I always had the mindset that I’ll do it later when I have time. (Insert shocked face emoji). Newsflash….you will never just have the time…you have to MAKE the time. Remember how I said that in my early to mid twenties I woke up, ate, went to work, school, and slept. There were life events thrown in there, too. Getting married, having kids, spending time with family, friends. Doing things to be busy. All the things, and avoiding all the papers I had to go through. We kept so busy that while I lived in my apartment by myself, my house was a constant mess, and I didn’t make the time to create habits early on. Yikes. That’s ok, though. I’ve learned since then….
Jump ahead to that time of deep anxiety and some depression. All that paper stuff I didn’t take the time to go through and organize and get rid of when I was living by myself got combined with my husband’s stuff when we got married. When we first got married, we lived in a tiiiny one bedroom apartment, and all of the stuff that needed to be organized got stuffed in this one tiny area. We were both still in school. Newly married, and becoming new parents. So, guess what happened? Yup, all our high school and childhood stuff got combined together, and now we were adding more stuff when we welcomed our new sweet baby. Because I never made myself create the habit of going through it….it all just kept growing. And growing. As we moved into our house, and added another kid…it kept growing. I would start organizing it, and that’s when I started working full time as a teacher. My husband was in his second or third year teaching, I was beginning my first year teaching. We were also having our 2nd baby. Now we had two kids 2 and under. With that followed my husband breaking his leg, and it made the perfect storm for a tough year. It’s when all of the things started falling apart. And that meant I didn’t have the energy anymore to do all the things. Including the house work.
Up until that part, I was basically doing all the house work on my own. Not all, but a big majority of it. That’s because while I was working part time, I had the ability and the space to do a lot of the work myself. It was annoying at times, but I had the time and energy, so I did it.
Side note: My husband has said on occasion, that he feels like he is doing all the work. He has felt just as I have. In reality, it’s all about perspective. Each one of our perspectives have felt true to us. The most important part is communicating that and then finding a common ground, leaving each other room and space to grow.
When I started working full time, I just couldn’t handle it anymore with all of the other added stress, so I slowly started letting things go. I didn’t have the energy to care about things being cleaned to my extremely high standards. So, a lot didn’t get done. And things just piled up. And I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until my husband broke his leg. While we were in the hospital my family came over and cleaned the house for us, and that’s when I realized I need to get back to where I was. I just didn’t realize how long it would take.
The one thing that was the key….I had to let go of control. As my husband healed from his surgery, I had to allows myself to break down. All of the anxiety and depression from other circumstances had taken a toll, and I needed to deal with it. I had to learn how to take care of myself, and allow my husband space to do things around the house without my nagging. Granted, maybe I shouldn’t have to ask over and over again….but I also could have handled it differently.
This is the process I went through to build back up. And honestly, I am still climbing out of that hole. I have gotten back to cleaning specific areas daily, weekly, and monthly. But, I’m also having to go through 10+ years of junk that I didn’t have the energy or time to go through. Here’s the process:
* Let go of control. Allow my husband and kids the space to contribute on their time and terms. This one is hard. I struggle with it every day, still. It also means learning how to be ok with your home not looking to your standards daily, and learning to know when to say enough is enough. Eventually, your family will feel it, too and they will know that they love your home to look peaceful.
* Pick one chore that I can do. Likely, the first one will be one that has to be done. My mind says…I don’t know about alll of those other things, but this one has to be done and I can do it.
* Day in, day out. Make that chore a habit. Until it becomes something you just do. Now, look up. Look around. Look up. That’s when I tend to notice the next thing that causes the most tension, and then get to work on adding in that chore into the routine. Day in, day out.
* Repeat. There have been times where energy is low. I get used to doing most everything, again. Or just because I have time, I do it all myself. I just have to remind myself to go through the process of allowing and encouraging my family that this is a team effort, and adding new projects to my routine.
If you’re thinking “how can I ever do this?” Trust me. You can. Take it moment by moment. Breathe by breathe. Day by Day. Eventually, you will be able to see past your current storm. You’re building perseverance and resilience. You’ve got this.