Valentine’s Day has come and gone, my bag of chocolate is empty, and I am left with new insight into two ways I can de-stress my life. I should say up front that my life is not stressful, at least no more stressful than the life of any other wife and mother. Sometimes, I think I create a lot of my own stress by always living on the edge of disappointment. Well, no more.
I have decided, therefore, to lower my expectations. I have a tendency to be a perfectionist, or at least I used to be a perfectionist. I also have a tendency to be a procrastinator, and those qualities, when mixed together, create stress for me. Duh. I look at my house, and I see clutter, and it stresses me out. No longer…I do not expect the house to be clean any more. As long as I have children and a husband living here with me, the clean house is just a pipe dream.
Don’t get me wrong. I would love to have a clean house, and that is my ultimate goal. It may all revolve around de-stressor number two, which I will go into in just a bit. But I am no longer going to go ballistic when my daughter leaves her dirty dishes in the living room, or when the cat woofs up her breakfast all over the rug. If it happens, it happens, and I will just be ready with my squirt bottle and paper towels, clean it up, and be relieved that its over, instead of stressed because I expect her to do it again in a few minutes. See the difference?
I know that my family thinks I am the only one who knows how to use a plunger, so I will just do my job and not even imagine that someone else might take care of it. It’s my house, I want it clean, so I clean it. If I don’t get it done, not to worry, there is always tomorrow.
Then we come to the junk room. A large room downstairs filled with the detritus of 27 years of marriage and children. Almost too much of a task to even imagine…because it all needs to be sorted and I have to decide what to do with it all. Keep it, toss it, or give it away. A job that has been always nagging at the back of my mind and causing me stress because it will take weeks, even months, to finish.
Have you ever watched one of those home remodeling shows? The owners want to move, but the house won’t sell, so the experts come in and give it a makeover. Suddenly, the house looks incredible. You think, gee, why didn’t the homeowners do that themselves years ago?
So…this is my second revelation, my motivation for cleaning out the basement. I am pretending that I am moving. I have never lived by myself, and it has always been my fantasy. A little house that stays clean, that I can decorate the way I want, and have my own stuff in its proper place. I wouldn’t have to worry about four other people’s stuff and its cleanliness and order, or the fact that my daughter wants to paint a black and white mural of Mario and Luigi all over her bedroom wall. Maybe a silly fantasy, but it seems to be working.
I worked in the basement room for almost 4 hours the other day, until I had to stop and go to work. I can’t wait to get back to it. I have a plan now, and a motivation, and if I only get one box done at a time, at least I am making progress.
I might write more about Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and all the crazy expectations involved in dealing with that particular holiday. Take my advice, don’t let yourself be disappointed. Don’t have unreasonable expectations, and you’ll find that you don’t need that bag of chocolate after all.