In the dentist chair this morning, my hygienist joyfully spread the good news of how much she was planning on getting done on her day off. More power to her, honestly, but the more she cleaned my teeth and the more I heard her list, I felt my own list frantically growing by the second.
This particular year hasn’t been kind to me physically and my housework habits are all over the place. Sometimes I hobble to the mailbox and make it back inside and flomp to the couch in despair. There are socks all over the floor? So? Maybe that’s a new home decor style I’m trying.
Am I doing enough? Am I ever?
I know the piano needs to be dusted but before being dusted it needs to have the stack of card games, box of miscellaneous play-dough, the yardstick from last weeks school project, the extra paintbrushes we bought, the one weird Victorian mask that won’t go away, and a jar of marbles put away.
Multiply that by a million. There are Things to Do and then there are Things to Do Before Doing the Other Things.
My husband is great about jumping in to help and my kids are too (when asked, and that’s on me) but being the primary caregiver of my kids and of the home, I have felt the haphazard mess around me growing by leaps and bounds. If not tangibly, mentally.
That particular bookcase might be neat and orderly but I should SORT THOSE BOOKS because I am pretty sure that I saw a couple fiction on the shelf that very clearly states NON FICTION. And also maybe there are multiple caches of LEGO behind some books.
I’m yearning to put our Halloween decor up but the living room is literally half-way painted (and has been, for awhile…ahem) and even though Daniel pointed out that it adds to the spooky charm, I’ve been resisting putting anything up. It’s hard to enjoy it because I’m stressing about it not being done the Right Way.
Some of this stress is leaking into our meal planning or lack thereof and dinner out has become more common than dinner at home. Is this good for our budget or waistline? No. No it is not. Is it tasty? It’s not even that sometimes! Ha! But it’s where we are.
And when I feel a surge of energy to tackle some things on my list in hopes of getting back to an even keel, I am suddenly hobbling and in pain again. Is my mind playing tricks on me? IS MY BODY TURNING ON ME? Yes. Yes, it is. My dear body, I will give you an Oreo later in supplication for an energy filled tomorrow. Oreos are great energy-providers, right?
But I think what hurts me the most is when I let the mortification of where I am spread into the joy of the now. It’s as though I can’t smile and relish the laughter around me because I’m thinking about the laundry baskets stacked in the hallway. I can’t rest on the couch and hear the stories of their day because all I can focus on is that there are one billion socks in the basket beside me and our Great Pyrenees is licking his chops and looking at the purple one.
I close my eyes and dream of a minimalist house with bare wood floors without a speck of dust. And then open them and try not to flail.
But my children are watching. And I don’t want them to grow up feeling like I was always chasing perfection and never content for “pretty good.”
Of course, it doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to make lists, figure out our meals, and hopefully gain some progress in our home. I’m just going to stop feeling such embarrassment for sitting in the mess, and laughing with those I love. Maybe we can all put a little more elbow grease into our day-to-day but also give each other some room to breathe.
But first I need to put that Victorian mask away.