Monday, March 16, 2015

I am accountable...

...and responsible for my actions and inactions.

Sadly, although I tried, not all of my areas of focus from last week got the attention they deserved.  That isn't to say that I did nothing all week...  I just didn't FOCUS where I intended to. Those areas were:

  1. Reclaim my sofa from the clean laundry mountain.
  2. Enforce the new reward charts I introduced to my children this weekend.
  3. Scrub that bathroom.
  4. Make a donation to the Op Shop.
  5. Keep the dining table a lovely space for family togetherness.l
  6. Declutter the front entrance of our home so it is nicer to come home to.
  7. Spend 4 hours in the games room this week, decluttering and sorting.
So... Again I confess...


No I will not confess a single thing.  The word confess implies negativity, ill doing, fault and shame. I will not place blame and burden upon myself when I KNOW i did nothing wrong...  I don't deserve that.  Be gentle on myself. I am doing my best here...

So... I will ASSESS my progress and ANALYSE my situation.  This is how I will grow from this situation. 

Progress Notes:
  1. My laundry-sofa is not so high and contains piles of folded, ready to put away items as well.
  2. We had a VERY successful week of charts. So much so that I have already made up new ones for this week. Plus our reward was taking the children out for a meal and an ice-cream to follow. It was not fancy, but it was a treat.
  3. Bathroom unchanged.
  4. I have a black plastic garbage bag with items in it that will be donated. Items that I placed in there whilst working on reducing my laundry-sofa mountain.
  5. The dining table is half clear. Our charts, school notes, a pile of baby blankets, fruit bowl and loaves of bread clutter the other end.
  6. I decluttered some items from our entranceway. A work in progress.
  7. I opened the door to the room once and removed a cane basket that I now store my Tiny Guy's toys in.  That is one less unused item that fills its walls. 
So the question that comes up next is, where did my focus go to? I certainly did not sit on my behind all week.
  • My kitchen is a little less cluttered. 
  • I put in a great deal of time to my husband's business doing things like making menus, shopping for stock, strategising, helping to keep him focused and general kitchen hand duties. 
  • Caring for the children.
  • Eliminating some junk from the back patio, making sure our rubbish bins will be filled to capacity this week.
  • Dealing with illness, my own and my children. We have change of season bugs.
  • Catching up with a friend.
As I write this blog post I am being overcome with observations about myself.  Not all of them are nice. 

Firstly, I will admit something.  I have hit delete several times and reworded things that I want to say because I am aware that the language I am choosing has negative connotations or directly devalues my efforts.  For example I wrote, "I decluttered some items from our entranceway. A work in progress." But my original point was written as, "I decluttered a little junk from the entrance. A job not complete."  It is only a small shift in language but by making a feature of "a job not complete" I infer my failure at the task I set. I did not fail. I made progress. No, I did not make as much progress as I would have liked but we stepped forward in the direction I want to head in.

I also note that in highlighting that I was sick and I spent time catching up with a friend, I felt guilt settle on me like a heavy blanket and that voice over my left shoulder was chastising me for not pushing myself harder while I felt bad, "suck it up princess," and "you don't deserve to enjoy time with friends."  How awful I am being to myself!  I am ENTITLED to down time and friendships!  Neither are a privilege and I don't have to earn them. 

I am also disheartened by what I have not written here.  My To-Do List is a rock I am carrying in the pit of my belly and what I "should" be doing is a ball and chain. What I know I need to accomplish but have not yet focused attention to is making me feel heavy, lethargic and crushed. Those pending tasks have no right to eat at me in this way! Other things, for right or wrong, took preference in my week. The important tasks on those lists will get done when they need to be done and what is unimportant will just fall to the wayside. And that is ok!  Be gentle upon myself.  My lists are just a TOOL for helping me stay on track. They are NOT a weapon for self flagellation!

There is a huge catch 22 in my peripheral vision.  I want to achieve some things, but they can not be achieved (can not, or I won't let them be - something more to consider) achieved until I do other things.  For example, I have some items I want to list and sell. I want to declutter them and I can use the money for other things!  Nothing wrong with that.  But, I am embarrassed by the state of my home and am concerned anyone coming to collect things will think poorly of me for weeds in the yard and a sofa filled with laundry. So instead of action, I sit with excess stuff around me that only IMPEDES the process of decluttering!  

Ever noticed that you get more done when you're happy and enjoying yourself?  When I think back about the week just gone the times I listened to a podcast or music were the times I achieved the most. My children help more when we are all happy too.  Yes, there is a "sweet spot" for productivity in anger. I know this to be true because I have experienced it. Turning negative energy into positive achieved is possible, but who really wants to approach anything with a gut-full of frustration and red hot rage?  Maybe the 7 Dwarfs had it right all along with their whistling and singing whilst getting the job done!

Last week I set the intention to blog daily but made no promises to comply with that intention. WHAT WAS THAT? Again... Burdening myself.  YES, accountability is awesome and it works. But it can have the negative effect of bestowing guilt and keeping that nasty little voice of ridicule on the left with plenty of ammunition to fire into my brain.  "See, you knew you couldn't blog daily even before you began! That's why you didn't promise! You knew you'd fail. You knew you wouldn't work miracles and have things shipshape. You knew you'd barely make a dent. You suck!"  Setting an intention is one thing. It is a good thing.  But not if it is oozing obligation for no GENUINE purpose!

I am not sure why but I have a resistance to time constraints that I, or others enforce.  When I hit a time frame I dig my heels in and cease activity. I don't know why, it just is how it is.  Something else for the future.

Finally, I realise I am more motivated when I look after myself and my things.  I cleared my sink of dirty dishes and placed a lit candle there.  The candle makes me smile. It emits a scent that pleases me. It celebrates a clear and clean space where once it was not.  As I put away folded towels on my linen shelf I straightened the piles and aligned them all.  It is something small, but I do enjoy symmetry and order. When I can manage that, I should celebrate it! It feels good!

So now I get to hit reset, knowing more today than I did yesterday. I get to make more plans, remembering to be kind to myself, and take action.  I will not forget to reward myself for my efforts either. Even the tiny ones!

Again, 7 things to focus on in the next 7 days.

  1. Eradicate the laundry-sofa from my living area.
  2. Continue with our good behaviour charting with the children.
  3. Make all of the dining table useful for family fun and togetherness.
  4. Continue creating a useful and attractive entrance to my home.
  5. Make 3 'social' calls that I have not allowed myself time to make (because I was telling myself they were not the "best" use of my time and I haven't "earned" the right to make them.
  6. Vacuum my living areas.
  7. Clean my bathroom.
NOTE: Much of this list is focused in my lounge/dining area. This is good. This will not only maximise progress, perpetuation motivation and self esteem, it will allow me to release myself from the bonds of "what will people think?" if they come to my home and see the chaos! 

Already I feel the tug of what didn't make this list.  The "shoulds" and other equally important or desirable goals are heckling me.  But that is not fair.  I need a place to begin and this is where I am choosing to start. An area of my home that benefits my whole family AND my friends and visitors! I will not apologise to the other parts of my home that crave my attention. I will get to them in due course!

I feel crazy writing in this way... Addressing my random, negative thought patterns as I write.  But they obviously need to be addressed.  They have kept me hostage too long and I NEED TO BE RELEASED!

Monday, March 9, 2015

My Blog, My Confessional

My life is a hodgepodge, mishmash, smoothed-up, ramshackle, abomination of what I want it to be.

There!  It's out there... I said it.

Nothing is "perfect" and I don't expect that.  But I would like a whole lot more organisation, peace, calm, productivity and fun than I'm currently experiencing!!!  I'm over being frustrated, zoned out to the chaos or too scared and overwhelmed to exit my bed.

Shit has to change!

And it will! Starting here and now.  I figured STEP 1 was to CONFESS that there is a problem. DONE - CHECK!

Next... Ugh, equally hard to do but... STEP 2 - ADMIT to how big this problem is right now.  So, here's the list...

  • My clean laundry pile has eaten my 3 seater sofa! (Although - in my defence, my dirty washing  consists of one load of darks, 2 cleaning cloths that are awaiting companions for a load of their own, and my daughter's wet blanket and mattress protector that she just did about 10 minutes ago. There is one load of whites washed and ready to hang as soon as I bring in the load of dry load hanging out there!)
  • My house is a sty!  Kids rooms are messy, my room is messy, my lounge is a laundromat, the bathroom could use a good scrub, the kitchen is cluttered... sigh!
  • The back patio looks like Steptoe and Son moved in even though we only just put a ton of crap out for collection two weeks ago.
  • My computer files are disorganised and so are my inboxes. I have 7 inboxes (WOW - only just counted them up!) not including Facebook and they are all loaded!  Digital photos are desperately in need of sorting! So many documents are redundant and need the trashcan.
  • Our home internet is sick and I just don't want to deal with getting it fixed.
  • There is a to-do list a mile long for things we need to do for my husband's business.
  • My kids behaviour has been pretty shoddy lately and sibling rivalry does not help matters!
  • Paperwork just won't stop breeding! 
  • Finances are stretched.
  • My games room is the dumping ground for EVERYTING and it is unusable.
There are probably more things to say but that's a snapshot of the situation.

Bad huh?

STEP 3 - KNOW WHY (So we can avoid that pitfall in the future).  It began a while ago... I don't want to think how long.  The number is not important.  I was depressed and instead of dealing with stuff, I stuffed the stuff in boxes and hid it in the games room.  Then I didn't bother stuffing it into boxes anymore. I just stuffed it anywhere I could stuff it.  And boy have I stuffed it!

Then as I moved past my depression and my husband experienced depression while I just paddled against the tide. Then, I had another turn...  It was a big long dark tunnel for us.  

Add in 4 kids in 10 years and all their things... Some that my sentimental bone will not let me part with!

Last year, with my surprise pregnancy for my 40th year, I found myself exhausted for the first trimester.  I could not keep my eyes open at all.  So beyond the bare minimums, I didn't try.  I followed my body's lead and I slept away 3 whole months.  Then in second trimester I was like the Energiser Bunny!  So much energy but so much to do!  With no specific plan of attack, like a bunny, I just nibbled at a lot of edges and made no real impact.  

Then at 30 weeks, as I moved into the third trimester, my blood pressure went up! Monitoring began weekly then twice weekly then every 2 days. I was advised to rest and even when I was active I was uncomfortable. My feet were enormous, I felt heavy and drained.  It was at this point that I took my 'bare essentials' down to nothing more than washing dishes, washing clothes and resting.  Besides doing what I had to do to help with the children, that was all I could muster. 

My dear sweet little Tiny Guy arrived early at 34 weeks. And still NOTHING beyond childcare, dishes and laundry being washed got done because we spent most of our time at the hospital with him or driving to and from the hospital.  He came home from the nursery at almost 38 weeks.  It was a long, long month.

But then, everyone knows you get nothing done with a newborn in the house!

You also don't get much done with a new business in the family!

So onto STEP 4 - WHY CHANGE? You have to know what you are aiming at!

My Tiny Guy is 6 months old and STARTING TO ROLL!!! I am terrified!  Soon, very very very soon, this little man is going to be learning to crawl! Then walking! Then running!  And if he is anything like my other two boys, he will be CLIMBING!  We are not ready to have a crawling baby in the house, let alone any other kind of mobile infant!  Too much clutter.  Way too many tiny toys. Too many hazards!

So, we need to get this SHITWRECK of a house back under control!

I have other driving forces too.

My two oldest boys really need their own spaces.  Right now they share and they aren't doing it well.  There are lots of fights and as they grow, the space is becoming tighter and tighter.  It was fun, but it isn't fair now. Time to give them separate rooms.  But for that, I need to MAKE ROOM!

Another reason... Last week, whilst in a "you rock Mama! You can do anything" mindset, I signed up to complete my studies... GULP!  I felt confident at being able to manage it at the time!  But now...not so much. :-(  That self doubt is sitting on my left shoulder taunting me with things like, "who do you think you are?", "you're going to bomb out like before!", "How selfish are you? You know that you aren't meeting everyone's needs now, so why are you taking on another load?" and "You just aren't good at anything so why bother?"

If I can get my shit together, help my family to get theirs together too, I KNOW we can do everything we want to do and need to do, and make it work.  I know we can do MORE! I know it...  I want it!

But right now, I am facing facts. We are starting at the bottom of the hill...  We really are!

Ok... I've confessed, admitted the enormity of the problem and identified how I got here and isolated some of the reasons why I want things to change.  Getting closer to the scariest part of all... But first, STEP 5 - MAKE A PLAN!

My plan includes this blog.  This confession is the first post in my accountability to getting this done. I don't care if anyone ever reads it.  In some ways I hope no one does because then, even though I made this confession public, it will just go unnoticed.  But if someone does, I hope it helps you in some way.

SIDE ISSUE: I want to post photos. But I do not dare!  Maybe I will be ok with Before and Afters, but no promises.   I will take them, but maybe not post just yet.  We will take it as it comes.

Even thinking about a plan sends me into overwhelm.  My tummy is churning and I want to go to bed to just avoid it.  But that tactic works all too well.  That is why I am here now!  I need to feel this discomfort, sit with it and move through it into the realm of ACTION!  I will go gentle on myself.  Life has been hard, that is why I am here.  That nastiness on my shoulder is being hard enough on me. I do not need to make fuel it with more power than it already possesses.  So, my plan, just for today, is to take action on 7 things in 7 days.

Sound fair?  I think so... I hope so!  I want it to be manageable! I want it to work.  

I need it to work!

My 7 things will be:
  1. Reclaim my sofa from the clean laundry mountain.
  2. Enforce the new reward charts I introduced to my children this weekend.
  3. Scrub that bathroom.
  4. Make a donation to the Op Shop.
  5. Keep the dining table a lovely space for family togetherness! (Maybe the kids will get along better after a little while of this?  We can but hope! My hair hurts from pulling at it in frustration over them bickering!)
  6. Declutter the front entrance of our home so it is nicer to come home to.
  7. Spend 4 hours in the games room this week.   That's only half an hour a day for 6 days. It is more than I have done up until now!  It has to help!
That seems manageable enough doesn't it?

Anything else that happens, if it does is icing!

Good!  So glad you agree!

So... Onward and upward.  :-)  The only place to go is up after all!

My intention at this point is to blog each day to stay accountable and document my progress.  But no promises.  I'm being gentle upon myself and I don't need the pressure.  But I will post again on this issue, that is for sure.