Last March I tried out a "schedule" for writing my posts - Mondays were for "Awakenings" and Fridays for "Confessions". The idea behind the confessions was to "keep things real" so I didn't get too "Pollyanna" or sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns here. I quickly ditched the "confessions" idea though with one Final "Ultimate Confession" that I saved as one of the tabs on the top of my webpage. It is kind of like a second "Disclaimer" and it's purpose was to let readers know, "Hello, I'm a real person! Imperfect just like every other human being". Sometimes the images projected out through cyber space lead to distorted images and perceptions in the minds that they land in. (I'm ending this paragraph now, but just wanted to point out that I may have set a record for combined "quotations" and links to my own blog in shortest span ever. So there.)
Anyways, the schedule did "work" (lets keep this "quotation trend" up! Adding a "parentheses trend" too. If you can read this post and it makes sense to you, you are really on top of things.) It "worked" in that I posted regularly and frequently. But I didn't love the whole idea of "confessions" because I felt like I was trying (subconsciously perhaps) to "create" material for those posts. And who wants to start behaving badly just to have something to write about!
Today I *am* going to keep it real. It's not a confession though, because nothing I'm going to write or post pictures of is something I (or anyone) should be ashamed of. (speaking of shame, you must check out Brene Brown's work - brilliant!)
We had friends over on Monday and I wrote the following on my FB Together Walking page:
Inspiration tip: Need some motivation to do some of the mundane things? (You know, like get dressed and pick up around the house) Invite some friends over to your house! You'll be amazed how much you get done in a short time AND you get the added benefit of seeing people you love!
It's true - normally when we have a planned play-date I get SUPER motivated the morning of the play-date, sometimes for a couple of hours, and I'm like a whirling dervish of appendages, brooms, and vacuum extensions. My kids generally keep themselves entertained with computer games or shows and don't complain too much when I'm on such a cleaning binge. (Partly because they are excited to have friends over and maybe they are also confused about what I'm doing.)
But although I love that aspect of inviting people over to my house (or planning parties, having out of town guests, or teaching on the weekends) I also truly believe that it would be healthier for everyone if people were generally more comfortable and honest about the everyday state of their homes. (I joke with my students that I leave a certain amount of mess for them to see so they can see what it's like to have kids. I don't want to set them up for an unrealistic standard after-all! hmm now I'm thinking I should leave things even messier - not in my teaching space, just on the main level where they walk through ;-)
But seriously, many homes where small people live just aren't that neat. Kids don't see the benefit of picking up messes, and actually messes don't look the same to them. (I really want to insert a cartoon I saw on Facebook here - the first frame is black and white and shows a huge MESS in their room, the second frame is in color and the kid is gesturing and clearly explaining to the adult what is *really* going on in the room... it's awesome! If any of y'all know what I'm talking about it and can locate it for me, please leave me a link!)
I'm sure the majority of the time they're like, "why pick up? We're just going to play more tomorrow!" And honestly I think they're onto something. Why do I get my house so clean just to have kids over to trash it?!?
In actuality my comfort level for chaos keeps expanding as my kids push the boundary farther and farther out. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy neat, tidy, dust-free spaces too - I just don't let messes get to me as much anymore.
But even though I'm handling the normal mess of everyday life better, I'm still not handling other people seeing it very well. I still feel the need to apologize or make comments like, "Well, we've really managed to trash the house this week!" It's like I have to say something (to my best friends even) to acknowledge - hey, I *know* it's messy, but really *I'm* not. It's so silly. The state of my house says nothing about me, how capable I am, if I'm a good mother or wife, or whether we are happy. Yet, I know I cannot be the only one who struggles with this. So I've been pushing my comfort zone even more and not worrying (well trying not to anyways) about neighborhood friends dropping in and seeing our crumby rugs, and toy-strewn floors. It's even harder to bite my tongue hard enough not so say anything about it, but I'm getting better at that too.
So today we had friends over and since I was still feeling a bit under the weather, Tasmanian-Devil-Cleaning-Mama didn't make her appearance. The pictures I'm putting up on this post were taken right after our friends left. Most of the mess was there before they arrived and we added to the chaos with hours of fun playing together. I commented to my friend that we should put pictures up of our houses like this and she agreed.
So here they are - what our home looks like more often than not.
My other "keepin' it real" statement for this week is that I'm just not feeling so upbeat the past couple of days. No amount of "affirmations" is doing it for me. And although I posted this on Monday (after our first playdate of the week):
Today may have been the best "first day back to 'normal'" that I've ever had aft e r vacation/time with family. Filled with peace, cooking, connection, nourishing and nourishment, listening, play, time outdoors, creating, connecting, friends... I am so grateful for it all! What a difference knowing what I want to do and how I want to feel makes. ♥
yesterday I was sick and spent the afternoon on the couch. And I longed for support - a tribe, a community, people to play with my kids and keep them happy and fed while I rested. And I wonder if I'm setting myself up to be unhappy by thinking about this all the time. Or is this how we make change, by first envisioning it?
But I *do* know that things always turn around. I will get back to my flow, it just takes time after awesome, sunshine filled vacations! And Spring, warm weather, and long afternoons playing outside are just around the corner here.
*And* I have something new coming up as a "writer" (make that WRITER - no quotation marks for that one!) that is really exciting (how's that for a teaser!) So things will change again and I will come back up to my baseline level of Happy. (Watch this movie/documentary called Happy - so good!)
The ultimate irony is of course that what I am longing for is connection and community. But I sometimes am not comfortable letting it into my life because my house is messy. Wow - seems even sillier when I see it written in black and white like that. Well, at least I'm working on it! And Saturday I start teaching a new Hypnobabies class - so guess who'll be making an appearance this weekend? Yep. Whirling-Dervish-Tasmanian-Devil-Cleaning-Lady. (And you know what? None of these things take that long to pick up - it's more the combined chaos or the Gross House Mess(GHM) that is overwhelming.)
I wrote this at night and just before going to sleep and thought that one of my friend's recent status updates was the perfect way to close this post (Thanks Kelly! Check out her Facebook page for Hypnobabies and doula services here)
Goodnight dishwasher with your clean dishes. Goodnight dishes in the sink. Goodnight laundry pile and Goodnight toys on the floor. Goodnight half-made lunches and Goodnight wet snowpants. Goodnight scribbles and Goodnight markers. Goodnight bills and Goodnight Quickbooks. Goodnight stars Goodnight air. Goodnight noises everywhere.
And this morning I am refreshed and feeling more like myself again. It's amazing how powerful a good night's sleep is!
What do you struggle with more? The mess or letting people see it? Or are you just so Zen that you let it all go?
ps please share if you wish there was less pressure to have a perfect house and more support and community in its place!
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.