Monday, May 09, 2011

I have decided to stop freaking out

We have lived in our house for almost three years now, and although I love the house and so many things about it, I have not been able to truly enjoy it.  Not really.  And it's all my own fault, and here's why...I have this terrible habit of continually focusing on how clean it's not

Am I a clean freak?  No.  But my kids will tell you that I am a handwashing nazi and I swear that is why we get very few colds around here.  (Yes, I know that four of us had strep in January....ssssh!)  I am not a clean freak, per se,  ( I didn't know that I knew how to spell "per se", but according to Wikipedia, I do.  I surprise myself sometimes), but I have this thing that I can't seem to relax and enjoy our home unless it is clutter free, dust free, and organized.  And since it is rarely all of those things at the same time, well, I don't often allow myself to relax and enjoy it.  I tend to look around and see the mess and the flaws and focus on them and sometimes allow it to make me cranky.  And when I am cranky about the house being messy, I typically react in one of three ways (sometimes a combination of the three if I'm feeling especially feisty):

1)  I yell at everyone and threaten to throw away their stuff if they don't put it away (yes I do...just keeping it real.  Would I ever actually throw away someone's stuff?  No, but don't tell my kids that.  I like to keep them in a healthy state of fear and panic). 

2)  I sigh alot and grumble under my breath, which may or may not contain colorful language.  Or,

3)  I declare that I GIVE UP! and flop myself on my bed and implode for a while.  This is a personal favorite of mine, because it's the one where I don't end up having to apologize to anyone afterwards :/

Am I proud of any of these reactions?  Not at all, and the part of me that wants to perpetuate the illusion that I don't ever behave in these ways wants me to delete this entire post right now.  But, I am allowing transparency and vulnerability to prevail in the hopes that someone will fess up that I am not alone in my dysfunction.

So, yesterday I made the revelation, and the subsequent declaration to Mr. Wonderful, that I am now and forevermore NOT going to freak out about the condition of our home.  Does this mean that I am giving up on keeping a clean and orderly house?  Au contraire (almost spelled that one right too...bada-bing!).  We will continue to hold the kids (and ourselves, eh-hem) accountable for picking up our things and cleaning up after ourselves.  We will still keep our "daily job chart" going, and make sure that things get done and stay caught up....especially the three stinky things (laundry, garbage, and dishes).  But, I am going to give myself a break...permission to enjoy our home and those who inhabit it, without obsessing about it being perfect.

And (this is a biggy) we are going to start INVITING PEOPLE OVER!  We have not been doing this as much as we really want to because I always feel like the house has to look perfect before we can let people in.

And perhaps an even bigger revelation that I have had in realizing all of this, is that I am all too often like that with God too.  I can't let Him's too messy!  (As if the omniscient Creator of the universe doesn't know about my stuff).   I can't let others know what I really struggle with either, or they might not think that I am as strong in my faith as I should be, or maybe that they think I am. 

Oh dear.  This could go on for a while.  I should know better than to start blogging at 10:30pm...I need to get to bed!  I'll write more tomorrow...


  1. Great post, Lisa! Sounds alot like me, especially lately! It is always a struggle to balance out the "Martha and Mary" in me.
    Inviting people over is a great cleaning motivator, but I also like to remind myself to keep it real! We are a big family and our house is going to look like it! So if there are fingerprints and drawings on the walls, and dust bunnies on the end tables, oh well! I am going to enjoy my friends anyways!

  2. Lisa -

    You are absolutely not alone in this. I think virtually every wife and mother goes through this cycle in some similar fashion or form. I know I certainly do. It's especially frustrating when you put your best foot forward, work hard on the house, and it STILL isn't where one would like it to be......

    So, congrats on coming to your decision. And good luck on the inviting people over part! You must keep us all posted (and inspired to follow suite).


  3. Argh - just wrote a post and it self-deleted.

    Okay - the short of it. You are absolutely NOT alone. Think almost all wives and mothers go through some version of what you expressed. I know I certainly do.

    Congrats on deciding to do it differently. Keep us posted on the inviting people over part! That's definitely the highest - and best - test of how far you have come on letting go. :-)