Friday, December 7, 2007


I struggle immensely with perfectionism and, what I assume, is a bit of OCD (obsessive/compulsive disorder for those of you unfamiliar with the term). Anyway, I have been making some small strides lately in overcoming my need for the sparkly abode- you know the one in the Pottery Barn catalogs with nothing out of place? My reality right now is that I can't be a good mother to my children and have the "Better Homes And Gardens" showplace. From the time I awake in the morning, to the time my head hits the pillow at night, I am parenting at least one child, if not all four. Parenting for me is an active verb- I'm not just present in the sense that they can see me or know I'm in the home. It generally means that I'm mindfully with my children, consciously participating in conversation,reading aloud, playing games, baking, or sometimes, when I've really got it together, I manage a bonding session of cleaning together (LOL). So, currently this amounts to the floors being littered with cereal and a strand or two of pasta from the other night's dinner. My counters are not shining from corner to corner, the pillows are rarely in place on the sofas, the dishes are stacked in the sink, not the dishwasher, and there are an eclectic mix of items spread throughout our house, where they don't belong. Maybe the truth is that I don't know what I'm doing and all six of us (well, not Seth, I suppose) are a bunch of slobs, and that's what I really need to be pointing to in this post. Either way, in an effort to get past this obstacle which prevents me, often times, from hosting people in our home for play dates and informal get-togethers, I decided, this week to just let it go. Today, a gal pal of mine, Kim, came over with her two little girls and I lifted not one finger to change the state of my surroundings. I didn't hurry-up and vacuum, sweep or mop. I didn't shovel clutter into dark corners or closets. I didn't make beds or even dry my hair (okay- I got a late start and by the time I was done nursing and putting Seth down, then cuddling with Ben, there was no time for such basic hygiene). And I didn't apologize profusely for any of the mess. I acknowledged its existence and went on to converse about more important things and, basically, left it at that. The earth didn't shake, my skin didn't break-out in a sweat, and Kim didn't seem the least bit bothered by the less-than-perfect appearance of me or my home. Do I feel good about the fact that my environment is trashed right now? No. Am I going to continue to work toward improvement in this area of my life? You bet. But I am going to try like hell to make sure that my relationships aren't postponed or pushed-aside so I can clean. And THAT, my friends, is a baby step in the right direction. Happy Friday!


jen said...

This is so important for a large family. I struggle with this all the time. People will stop in on us and the place is trashed. My husband is happiest when I just ignore the mess and pay attention to the people... so hard.

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Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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