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I beat myself up every. single. day.  I constantly am belittling myself about the state of my home.  The idea of company just showing up makes me want to gouge my eyes out.  I actually cried once because my sister in law showed up unannounced and my house was a disaster.  That is the truth of the matter.  I spent a good 5 or so years just feeling hopeless.  But I started to make changes. I have (little by little) started fixing things. Days like today when you get lots done (floors, back hall, laundry, dishes), sometimes make days where you only have 15 minutes seem like so little. I can’t get anything done in 15 minutes, so why bother??  I have to remind myself:  Don’t let the good days make the others bad.

Some practical changes I made: I made a list of 20 chores that I can do in under 30 seconds and I keep it in my kitchen inside a cupboard I actually use lots. Right on the door. On the opposite door, I made a breakdown of my home chores, and how long each takes (ie. bathroom-20 minutes). So when I have the 15, I can look, find one, and do it.

Then I did the declutter slowly. I started with boxes. One by one each day for a month Chad and I went through boxes in our basement. One box, collect one bag of garbage, and one bag of goodwill. It is shocking how much you can get rid of! This was our “couple” chore, and we did it every single day. Even if the dishes had to wait, this chore was priority for a month.

Next I started weekly projects. This week, I cleaned off on top of my fridge. I have been putting it off forever, and it literally only took me 15 minutes. Some projects are repeated (like fridge/closets) some were a one time organize (pantry)

I never give myself more than one project a week so that I don’t get overwhelmed.

Now we have a household rule about items:  if it doesn’t have a home, it goes out.  That ALONE has made things easier.

If I am watching TV, I try to do one chore during commercials (ie. grab a safeway bag, run around and pick up garbage in the room I am in)

My house is still messy, but I can see order to my chaos now :) I can clean faster, and I don’t have those pesky guilt chores hanging over my head.

The last thing I had to learn is that that you CAN NOT let yourself give up on you. Period. I cry sometimes because I have 4 kids under eight, hubby works out of town sometimes, I run my business, and now I am going back to work. I feel like a failure because my friggin living room is a mess. What is wrong with me?? I don’t know. But what I DO know tonight is that the top of my fridge is clean.

And for today, that is good.

 

(Here is my 30 second list by the way)

1. Empty the bathroom garbages

2. Dust the TV top and screen

3. Clean a mirror

4. Wipe down the front of the stove and fridge

5. Change the towels in the kitchen or bathrooms

6. Dust the fireplace

7. Dust the ceiling fan

8. Wipe down the trash can.

9. Toss junk mail, old magazines, paper crap on counter

10. Wipe down a countertop

11. Wipe the extras – Light switches, door knobs, remotes, coffee tables

12. Throw everything that is outdated out from the fridge

13. Sweep the front entrance.

14. Grab cans/bottles and throw into blue bag

15. Bring dishes from around the house to the kitchen.

16. Clear a clutter catching area

17. Wash a window

18. Clear computer desk

19. Empty garbage

20. Throw laundry of one room into basket

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The Flu.

Recently our family faced the flu.  Sounds pretty normal, but in a bigger family, it was like something took over our world.

It began innocently enough when my oldest daughter had a bit of a throat infection and my next daughter came to me and told me she was sick also.  I assumed that perhaps it was a bit of trying to gain my attention, but I hugged her and told her to lie down for a bit to feel better.  About five minutes later, she came down the stairs and promptly puked all over me and the oldest.  And I mean all over.  Down my hair, dripped down my pants, and somehow she continued to throw up.  As I jumped up calling to the oldest to get a bowl, she says to me “What kind of bowl?”….  Really?  Did she seriously ask me what the appropriate bowl was for puke???    Anyways, she got me the bowl, I rushed kid 2 up to the washroom to finish up there while I had a shower.

She was very sick.  I am pretty sure it was this Norwalk thing.  Not pretty.

And just as I thought maybe the light was at the end of the tunnel, kid number 3 started puking at about 2am.  Lovely.  Now the irony about her episode was that she was worried about making a mess with it…  This is the child that single handedly destroys my whole home, but was gagging on her own puke because she didn’t want to make a mess?  Apparently this flu brought with it a shift in the universe for a few days.  So I ended up holding a towel for her to puke into while my half awake zombie of a husband ran to get a bucket.

At this stage, he also went down.  Victim numero 3.  Yuck.  At this point I was aggressively cleaning all toilets (nobody likes to puke in a dirty toilet).

Then, the baby.  Oy.  The baby.  She didn’t puke, but there is something truly vile about what comes into a diaper when an infant has the flu.  This could seriously be used as a weapon.  I wonder if the government has researched this?  I have never met a man who could face a diaper with a straight face, let alone a flu diaper…

At some point in there (my memory seems to have wiped out the horror of that week), I went down for 12 hours also.

As I was sitting trying to rest I told my oldest “you wait, you’re next…”  (because I am a mean, mean mom).  😉  She vehemently asserted that she was not going down.  It became our little game.

Shockingly, she did avoid it.  I don’t know how.  She is my most stubborn child, so maybe she just decided not to.  Who knows.

It’s funny how in moments like these it truly, honestly feels like you can’t get through.  I know that other families go through it.  I know people face FAR worse battles.  But somehow, on day 3 of no sleep and all puke, it seems like the worse possible situation to everyone involved.  It seems like it will never end.  But it will, and it does.  It always does.  Even day 3 can’t last forever.

We are all more or less healthy now.  I have caught up on some sleep.  This weekend I am going on a married couples retreat with my husband.  The kids are divided and conquered.  And thank God, the puking has stopped.

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