Tag Archives: parenting

Cleanliness is Next to Godli….er, Impossible

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We’ve all heard it, right? Cleanliness is next to godliness. Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Following these adages I should be riding the highway to hell with nary a possession to call my own. Needless to say, keeping a clean house is an issue I struggle with.

Now don’t get me wrong. I WANT a clean house, I covet a clutter free living room, I’ve even been known to wake from sleep having dreamt of a spotless, shiny kitchen and sparkly windows and floors. I have a few barriers that keep this from becoming a reality.

First, I have pets. Loads of them. 2 dogs and 2 cats call me mom. Shedding comes in phases – the constant but manageable phase and the season changing unbearable phase. Multiply that by 4, do this to the nth power because 1 is a German Shepherd and you get…..well….I’ve never been good at math but the amount of hair equals a lot. Every single day there is a fine coating of assorted hairs on the coffee table and furry tumbleweeds skittering across the tiled floor. Every. Single. Day. During those aforementioned unbearable phases the tan carpet becomes a lovely shade of black (the Shepherd is black), that even daily vacuuming – yes I said DAILY –  doesn’t keep under control. I think that maybe once upon a time I was allergic to pet dander but I have since then ingested such high quantities as to inoculate myself.

I’ve considered the possibilities of how to handle this furry issue. But, I love the animals. I’m not willing to get rid of them or to confine them to a box for the rest of their natural lives. So….we have a pet hair problem.

Secondly, I have children. They no longer play with “toys” but rather have sports paraphernalia, dance gear, and an ENORMOUS amount of papers that lie in their wake. School papers, extracurricular activity papers, letters from colleges, notes from friends, art projects from 3rd grade that no one wants to part with… The paper trail is endless. And it adds up. Literally. It becomes stacks on whatever free surface can be found. Then of course there are the mountains of laundry. They do some of their own laundry but it multiplies so quickly they need backup assistance. And let’s be honest, kids in general aren’t typically stellar at always “putting everything in its place.” Now, add that thin layer of animal hair onto all of this – classy, yep.

Seriously, I’m not blaming a dirty house on having kids. It’s only one element of the issue. Because really, there’s more.

The third and biggest factor – me. I suck at constant cleaning. I am fully aware of this shortcoming. While I recognize it and I attempt to change it, I am also painfully aware that I will most likely never be a superstar cleaner. Here’s the thing: when I hardcore deep clean, it is spotless. I mean spit shined (although not literally because that’s just disgusting and not at all clean). The trouble is that I just don’t want to do that every single day. I ABHOR dusting. It’s my least favorite chore of all time. Seriously. I’ll do windows, I’ll scrub bathrooms….just please for the love of all that’s good, someone else dust. But apparently everyone in my home has the same mentality so the dusting chore….shall we say….suffers. Likewise, I don’t want to vacuum everyday. I’ll do it several times a week. But everyday? It just seems like pointless overkill to me.

And, I clearly need an organization system that is seriously effective but as of yet I do not have said system. So….papers pile up, stacks teeter to the tipping point, then they get moved to an area akin to massive stacks of newspapers from back in the day. Remember when your grandpa hoarded stacks of newspapers….if you went to the very bottom of the very first stack the papers would probably be from aught 3…..yeah it’s just like that. My oldest child is knocking on the door of 20 and I’m pretty sure there are some scribblings from when he was 2 in there. But where am I going to put them? I’m not emotionally ready (and honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be), to get rid of them….he certainly doesn’t want them….so they stay in the stacks. I’ve gotten slightly more organized by putting the stacks in plastic containers, but now the containers are stacking up too.

Here’s the kicker: I have OCD. I’m not just throwing that acronym around willy-nilly…..I’m actually diagnosed….it says so on my medical chart. There aren’t enough hours in a day nor energy reserves in my body to keep things around here as clean as I want them to be. When things don’t get cleaned my OCD tends to push me toward an anxiety/panic attack. Then when that gets sorted I have an emotional breakdown because everything isn’t “in its place.” It’s really a vicious circle – round and round we go.

I try to find comfort in wise words of other folks who suffer in this manner and remember that really my house isn’t nearly as bad as it seems in my own mind. And, that it doesn’t matter if things are spotless when the kids are happy and memories are being made. I really do try to remember all of that. Somewhere deep down I believe it – but oh my goodness there’s so much clutter!

But, it’s Spring. Time for renewal. Time for planting flowers and vegetables, time for singing birds and baby lambs. And…time for cleaning. Cleaning out the fur and the dust and the cobwebs…not just on your floors and windows and tables but the ones in your head and heart as well. While you’re mopping the floor, let go of a past hurt that’s been gnawing at you. When you clean out the overstuffed closet, forgive yourself for that thing that keeps you from moving forward. While you clean your windows, formulate a plan to achieve that next thing you want to accomplish in life. Cleaning isn’t just about physical dust and dirt – we all have emotional cobwebs to knock down too. It’s Spring – time to take care of you. When you do, taking care of everyone you love is even better, and they will notice the change in you. Love yourself so you can love others.  Try being a little OCD about it….even if you aren’t diagnosed.

Happy Spring!

Leslie

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An Empty Basket

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Easter was different this year.

This was the first Easter in 17 years that I didn’t color Easter eggs, make baskets for my kids and set them out the night before, have an egg hunt……. I had an empty nest….er, basket this year. The kids are visiting their dad and that’s a good thing – but it sure did make me think about what it will be like when they’re grown and all doing their own things.

My oldest is a high school Senior and will be graduating in 2 months. He’s promptly hitting the road, ready to be on his own doing his own thing…..worrying his mother. The other two have a few years still, but I can see it coming now. I’ve been doing a fine job of pretending that my babies are going to live with me forever and that they will always be doing things like egg hunts with me. I’m just not ready to move on to the next phase quite yet.

More or less this is just a gentle reminder to all of you parents out there – and certainly to myself……cherish those little moments, every single one of them. Cherish the Valentine boxes you make for school, the leprechaun footprints you leave out for St. Patrick’s Day, the egg coloring and baskets and bunnies and egg hunts, the red white and blue banners you make for 4th of July parades, the back to school shopping, the Halloween costumes, those fantastic glitter Popsicle stick ornaments for the Christmas tree……cherish every one. I can’t believe how quickly time goes by, much too quickly for my liking. Just don’t take those moments for granted. Our world is so fast paced and frantic anymore, we all rush around from one thing to the next. It’s not that we don’t want to notice the little things, it just seems like we don’t have time. And so often, the things that seem like minor annoyances now, the holiday things that take extra time and extra money……well those things are the things I missed this year. No baskets, no bunnies, no egg hunts…..

Enjoy all of those little moments with your kids folks, time passes quickly and those moments are precious. Trust me.

Scared Salt-Free

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I am a mother of three children between the ages of 11 and 17. I am supposed to be a much shorter version of Wonder Woman. I typically don’t get sick, even when the kids do. I can function on very little sleep, although I will admit that as I get olde…..er….more mature, sleep becomes more of a priority for me. At any rate, I’m not the one that usually has to have medical attention. As a matter of fact, I purposely do not seek medical attention – unless I feel like I’m on my deathbed or if I go simply to silence those around me from complaining. Such was the case today. Yes, I’ve had a stiff neck for two weeks. Yes, my vision has suddenly gone blurry. Yes, I’ve had a constant headache for days. But I have rational reasons for all of these issues. My neck has been stiff because I twisted oddly at work and tweaked the muscles. Those take time to get back to normal. I’ve been having blurry vision because I’ve been reading A LOT and I haven’t been wearing my reading glasses as much as I should, and let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger. And the headache….well, I think I mentioned that I have three kids. One who is a high school Senior and I tend to worry about his future a wee bit. And headaches are normal really. They happen.

So anyway, today I gave in and went to the doctor, mainly to silence the critics of my poor medical attention seeking habits. It turns out that my blood pressure is kind of crazy high. And apparently the headaches are coming from that. And then, when she listened to my little ticker it was making a “clicking” noise – one that apparently isn’t really supposed to be there. Long story short – I have an echocardiogram appointment in a few days and a return visit to my doctor a few days after that. And I’m supposed to be relaxing, taking it easy….stress-free. Oh yes, and the salt thing. No salt. None. What???? Who eats that way? I promptly came home and began researching low sodium foods. Fruits and vegetables. Fresh ones. That’s it. *sigh

But I will admit that this has scared me. Hearing the numbers when she kept checking my blood pressure was frightening. So I guess I’m going to suck it up and try to go salt-free the rest of this week and see how it goes. Or at least salt-minimal. I’ll try it. If you have any suggestions or amazing recipes that don’t involve sodium….or peas because I really don’t like them….clue me in!

Oh, but I was right about the pulled muscles in my neck….see….I didn’t need to go to the doctor. Pfft.