Life will be okay even if it’s not how I’d imagined. I keep telling myself this and focusing on the wonderful things in my life — and there truly are many of these.
But I’m bogged down by the unfinished, the overwhelming, the physical and mental clutter surrounding me. It’s time to make a plan to manage these things. Life is always going to be chaos — such is life with kids, blended families, and an insane ex. I cannot prevent things from being overturned again and again in front of and underneath me. All I can do is find some peace in my life so that when bad stuff goes down I have a store of energy I can draw from.
So I’ve decided to make a list of the things that are costing me energy/giving me grief. These are the things that run through my mind at least once a day and I think, “yeah, I should do something about that.”
So… where to start?
I figure my life has three major categories that make me anxious: school, family, and housework. Each of these has subcategories and of course there’s plenty of overlap. If I can feel caught up (or ahead even) in one area it spills into the others and I feel good. Of course, if I put “me” up there as a category it might help me feel good more often. (:wink:) But then that’s never been my strong point. One goal of this exercise is to figure out where the self care is going to fit in.
So looking at each category there are things that have needed doing for a long time and things that require attention on a regular basis.
- papers for school – 6 this semester that I need to do
- a research topic for this semester’s directed study
- figure out what the heck I’m going to do after the MA
- small things related to my major research project
If I can get all these things done I’ll feel much better about where I sit in terms of school work. It actually doesn’t look so bad now.
I’m actually feeling pretty good about this today. It’s birthday time and I’m keeping up pretty well with that. One kid had a great party two weeks ago and another one is coming up in two weeks. Trick-or-treating last night went well and I think we might be through with daughter bombshells for the moment. Rob is good and we seem to have settled down from the move. We’ve got some routines going and things are getting a bit easier. That said, there are still things that should be better organized:
- a plan to make school mornings easier
- sharing responsibilities
- time for doing fun things in the community like hikes in the park or trips to the pool
No really clear answers pop out on these. Hmmm. At least now I know what I need to think about.
This is where I’m overwhelmed. There are so many loose ends from the move. Construction isn’t done yet. Stuff from my house is in a big pile in the middle of the basement. The kids need help organizing their rooms. Our bedroom is full of boxes of stuff. My office space is disorganized. Rob’s office space is brimming and he still has lots of his stuff spread out around the house.
I hate living in the clutter. When I moved this summer I threw so much stuff in the trash — I lined the curb again and again with garbage bags. How can I still have so much stuff that passed the cut? I know I have to go through it again and get rid of more…but it takes a lot of time. And I can only do it with my own stuff. Eventually my stuff will be under control but will it be enough? My kids have too many toys and clothes they don’t wear but we don’t have enough time to get to it. And Rob and his daughter are pack rats. I grew up passing toys and outgrown clothes to shelters. My parents live in a very tidy home partly because they’re both really good at cleaning but also because they keep the contents down and are always cutting back. Clothes that aren’t worn get passed on. Books that are old are passed on. Dishes that don’t stack well or are a pain to clean or take up too much space are passed on. If it’s not in use and/or adding to joy in the house, and is not likely to be in use again soon it goes.
My old place was a mess of clutter. I know it. It was small and had stuff from way to many ages and stages (baby stuff to teenager stuff, sewing supplies from when I used to sew for a living, ballet stuff from when I taught, school stuff that I still use, and activist materials from every cause I’ve ever been involved in). Everything was important. But this big move prompted a huge purge. It was a chance for me to start fresh. And Rob’s house is so nice. I want it to stay that way.
I know with my collecting of important papers (which I go through later and usually end up tossing) and Rob’s attachment to anything that enters the house, we’re in grave danger of living in a fire trap. And I know that the daily cleaning is going to get harder still if we keep on this way.
So, in list form here’s what I need:
- clear out the clutter from living spaces
- create a routine for the regular chores like cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, dusting
- a menu plan so that I don’t have to go to the grocery store 3 times in a week like I did this week
- a special bonus would be to hang some pictures, paint, and any other types of personalizing the space so that it’s clear that “special people live here.”
- dividing some of this up so that each person has something they’re in charge of. Asking someone to do something is like setting up for battle sometimes. If it were automatic I’d have a lot of energy left over.
It’s a lot harder doing these things here, in the new house, all blended-family-style, than it was in my own house, on my own, with my own kids. I’m hoping that it will get easier with time. For one thing my house was a lot smaller. Another was that my house was in rough shape so anything I did made an improvement. Here I feel responsible for keeping the house in good condition. There are a lot more people here now (me and my kids) and things can go downhill pretty quickly if they’re not looked after. Things are further complicated by the kids’ different and complicated schedules. Every-other-weekend-ness (for my kids) and skating-gymnastics-piano-piles o’ homework (Rob’s kid) doesn’t make it easy to divide responsibilities. And the fact that Rob and I have different expectations re: bedmaking, clean bedrooms, helping etc. turns into a chorus of “why do I/we have to if she/they don’t have to?” Rather than pushing the issue I tend to just do as much as I can. Since it’s my issue.
So right. If I can look back at the list and see the things that are under my control I can do something about them. It’s a good place to start at least. And who knows, maybe the rest of the family can make lists of what they’d like to take care of and we can all help each other. It could happen!