Tired

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TIRED.

This ever-working, always-moving, on-the-go
mother
is tired.
My core aches and even when I
stop to rest,
I feel the Earth is moving still-
spinning, orbitting.
It will pass me by if I don’t move with it.
Look, another year
another candle on
another birthday cake,
and children run, laugh, scream
and pass me by.
Stop.
Let me hold you,
look at you,
cradle you one more time
before I’m too tired
to remember.
If I could stop the Earth’s rotation
and just float
with you in my arms,
sleeping and laughing and smiling
I would never grow
tired.

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Falling apart; it’s cyclical

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My interest in things has always been somewhat cyclical.  I will have an idea, work on a plan, obsess for a while… maybe even get something done, but after a while I get bored…. or overwhelmed, and suddenly I’m not “into it” anymore.  Usually this is because I think of a new project or goal (or two or three) and just get totally overwhelmed.  I am the Queen of unfinished projects.

I’ve come to realize that one of the biggest things that brings me down is my perfectionism.  “If I can’t do it ALL, and do it PERFECTLY, then why bother?”  For some reason my sense of self-worth gets tangled up in my projects, and when I realize I have fallen off track, the depression sets in.

I just don’t know HOW some people do it.  Especially mothers.  You know, those “perfect moms” who manage to do all the great mommy stuff like; homework/studying with the kids, taking the kids to the park/library,  going to school functions or meetings, AND taking their kids to cheerleading or baseball or youth group or whatever it is their kids are involved in.  On top of this they also do the grocery shopping, menu planning, cooking, and cleaning, and while their houses might not be spotless, they aren’t any worse off than my house… probably much better on most days.

For me,  just keeping the house “livable” and the kids fed is pretty much the extent that I can handle.  I’m constantly fighting with the pile of laundry that I spitefully call “Mount Washmore”.  Getting the groceries planned, bought, and put away sucks more life out of me than anyone knows.  Most days, just keeping the kitchen clean enough to eat out of and the livingroom clean enough to “live” in stretches me impossibly thin.  The thought of adding in homework, reading to the kids, or taking them ANYWHERE; well that’s just crazy talk.  Then there’s keeping the kids clean, fed, uninjured, and occupied.  I just don’t have it in me to do it all.

Not that I never do any of the other things.  It’s just, I don’t feel like I do enough.  I often come up with these great “plans” and schedules… for the kids, but mostly for myself.  These schedules have ways in which I can fit in the housework AND the studying, AND the fun.  All goes well for 1 week, maybe two.  Then the schedule starts to falter; no – I start to falter.  I cut something out.  Then another.  Either the housework gets neglected, or I don’t help the kids study or do crafts with them.  Then, the whole thing is scrapped and I do nothing for a few days straight.  It was just too much.  Either the kids, or the house.  How can I choose?  Sure, the kids are more important than a clean house.  But if they don’t have a clear place to study or read, and can’t find their school supplies, or can’t eat dinner until some dishes are washed, that’s not good for them either.

Today, I realize there are only 2 weeks till school starts.  In the beginning of summer, I had great plans for making sure the kids studied all summer.  Kenzi was going to do math every day, Alyssa was going to practice her sight words.  I even had preschool activities for Xander.  That lasted about three weeks into summer.  After we stopped, I kept telling myself,  “We’ll start again next week.”  But somehow that never happened.  “All or nothing”  has gotten me nowhere.

This is all part of a cyclical pattern with me.  I will suddenly realize I’m slacking in one area, pick up the slack, then lose momentum and fall apart.  Then I find a huge store of motivation within me, and it starts again.   Right now I’m on the “falling apart” end of the spectrum, feeling mostly overwhelmed to the point where just washing the dishes seems like too much work.  Next week, I’ll probably be buzzing around like Super-Mom, doing insane amounts of housework every day as well as making plans and schedules for homework after school and all the fun, wonderful, important things I want to do for and with my family.

I’ve decided on a theme song for my life;

Weekly FLYlady report; 7/26 – 7/30

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A briefing on my progress this week as a FlyBaby.  Also known as my “Weekly Housewife’s Report”

After two years of following the FlyLady system, I have learned SO much, but I still struggle with maintaining my routines.  It’s that Evening Routine I just can’t seem to stick with, even though I know that if I did it, I would make the rest of the cleaning so much easier for myself the next day!  This is something I will have to work on. 
This week I did make some progress in a couple areas. 
On Monday I did some basic cleaning.  It seems like there were a LOT of dishes to wash on Monday, probably because I didn’t wash them before bed on Saturday and Sunday.  But I got the kitchen back in order anyways.
Tuesday I did some more basic cleaning, plus I cleaned and orgainzed the desk in the office.  The office which is currently doubling as a Livingroom and Family Bedroom.  You can see the Before and After pictures of the desk in my previous post, “Tackle It Tuesday”
Wednesday I was a slacker.  I did the dishes, but that’s about all.  I blame the heat, the humidity, and a headache; but it could have just been laziness.
Thursday I got back on track.  I started early in the morning and had done 6 rounds (30 minute cleaning segments, with breaks in between) by 11:00 am.
Friday (today)  I found that the basic cleaning didn’t need much attention.  I had done such a good job on Thursday that things hadn’t gotten too messy yet.  So I decided to take on a couple more projects. 
Number one- The Girls Room

Since it’s been so hot, this room has become more of a “Grab and Dash” than a “Sleep and Play”.   The girls haven’t slept or played in here in over 2 weeks, since the swamp cooler stopped working. 

Now at least they can access their clothes and toys.  Man, I hope the heat and humidity goes down before school starts in 2 weeks!  I would really like for them to be able to sleep in their beds once school has started!!

Here’s another angle on the whole mess, Before

and After;

No, I didn’t organize the toy box.  But I think this is still pretty amazing.  It didn’t take me all day either… the whole thing took less than an hour.

My second project is less impressive in appearance.  But this was definatley the harder job.  The other half of the office, the part I didn’t clean on Tuesday, looked like this;
And now it looks like this:

Okay, YES, it’s still a mess.  But as FlyLady says “Progress is Progress”  She says that getting a little bit done at a time is better than doing nothing at all, and also better than trying to do the whole thing at once and getting overwhelmed, frustrated, and give up.  So I spent 1 hour here on the floor surrounded by boxes and their contents.  I emptied 4 boxes!  Used 1 empty box for trash and junk, and filled it up!  Everything else got sorted, organized, and either put away or put in another box with similar items.

All in all, I think FlyLady would agree it was a succesful week.  Now I can focus on getting through my weekend at work.  I’m going to really try to stick to an evening routine after work on the weekends so that I don’t have piles of dishes to wash on Monday.

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(FlyLady.net is a self-help guide for bewildered people like myself who are not B.O. (Born Organized).  F.L.Y.  stands for Finally Loving Yourself…. as in Loving yourself enough to stop living in C.H.A.O.S. (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome).  Am I a neat freak for talking about my house cleaning online all day?  Not at all!  Am I a nerd?  Well, maybe.  But I have learned to take pride in the little things I do, to celebrate them, and to count every baby-step as progress!!)

What’s For Dinner?

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Just trying to get back in the swing of things. I had planned out 6 weeks worth of menus, but that was before the heat wave, before the Dew Point reached the critical level in which a swamp-cooler will no longer work. Before it was too hot to cook dinner. And before we blew our weekly budget by buying a window unit A/C that we couldn’t really afford but desperatley needed.

I’m almost back into the swing of things. I have figured out how to go back and forth between the hot and cool parts of the house at 15 minute intervals to get the housework done (the minimum, that is.) and this week I improvised a short, sweet, and budget friendly menu plan. Sooo…. here it is.

Tuesday;
Salmon, Pasta, veggies
(The Salmon was on sale!)

Wednesday;
Beef Stew (crockpot), Salad

Thursday;
Shepherd’s Pie

Friday;
Lemon-Herb Chicken, French Fries, Veggies

That’s as far as I got, and as far as $60 would take me (including breakfast and lunch foods) But at least I feel like I’m starting to reclaim my life!

Hooray! The Salmon is ready, and I’m gonna go watch Hell’s Kitchen!

Tackle It Tuesday *The Desk*

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So, I was searching for Memes.  That is, a weekly blog prompt that other bloggers around the world participate in.  I’ve already found “Wordless Wednesday” and “Thursday’s Thirteen”, so I thought certainly there would be an interesting meme for Tuesday that I could join.  Then I found it… it’s called “Tackle It Tuesday” and it’s from 5 Minutes For Mom.  This one is really perfect for me, because I need all the motivation I can get, I LOVE FlyLady and decluttering, and I love taking Before and After Pictures of projects that I “Tackle”.

Today’s project?  The Computer Room.  In particular, the desk that is supposed to be used for the kid’s studying, homework, and craft projects.  But it never gets used, because it’s always a big mess.  To complicate matters, the family has been LIVING in the Computer room.  It has an Air Conditioner, and the rest of the house just has a swamp-cooler, which doesn’t work if the Dew Point is higher than 55%.  So, the computer room has become a play room, tv room, and family bedroom.

The kids sleeping on the floor of the office, last night.

The longer we are all cramped in here, the messier it gets.  I’m starting to get a little stir crazy.  Clutter gives me anxiety…. actual physical and psychological anxiety.  So it’s time to do something about this room, a little at a time, before I completley lose my cool – even if it is the coolest room in the house!

First things first – I need some room to work.  I have to pick up those blankets on the floor so I have space to reach the desk and pull things out from under it….

eeew, lots of crumbs on the floor! How did those get there?

Hmmm… need to vaccuum! 
I started, but then had to stop to un-clog the vaccuum hose.  It was full of potato chips.  Now I know what happened to that bag of potato chips over the weekend.  Anyways… now the floor is clean…

Fresh!

Once the floor was clean, I was free to tackle THIS;

The desk, BEFORE picture. (Taken last night)

First, I cleared off the top of the desk, and took all the toys away.  Then I pulled everything out from under the desk….

This stuff was organized at one point I swear!

Then I put this stuff into nice piles… coloring books, workbooks, art supplies, craft supplies, and trash.  I threw away the trash, put each pile into it’s appropriate box, and put it all back under the table.  This is the finished project;

Ahh! Much Better!

I think after lunch the kids and I might do some workbooks or a craft project!
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You can find other posts like this at “Tackle It Tuesday” 
Participating?  Leave me a comment and a link, I’d love to see your “Tackle It Tuesday” project too!!

St. Anne’s Day

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So today was my mom’s birthday. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!!) Anyways, I was online and I saw something about today being St. Anne’s Day. It caught my attention, so I looked it up.
In the Catholic faith, there are many feast days for Saints and people of the Bible. Traditionally, July 26th is the Feast Day of St. Anne, who was the mother of Mary. She was Jesus’ grandma! St. Anne is the patron Saint of Grandmothers, housewives, unmmarried women, and women in labor. My mom was raised in a Catholic family, and I don’t know if she was named after St. Anne or not, but I found it very interesting that the day of her birth is the celebrated feast day of Anne (her name!) I’ll have to ask her about it next time I see her. (I forgot to ask her today while she was here.)

Whether there is a connection or not, it’s a good day to say an extra prayer for Grandmothers everywhere, and to pray for guidance in the areas of being a good housewife and mother.  I am thankful for my mom and all that she does, and that she is such a great grandma to my kids!

Monsoon Meandering

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I haven’t slept in my bedroom since last Thursday.  In fact, all three bedrooms in this house have gone un-used and virtually un-inhabited for the past 4 days, with no end in sight.  We’ve all been sleeping on the floor in the office.  That’s where the Air Conditioner is.  The rest of the house doesn’t have A/C, just a swamp cooler (Evaporative Cooler)  The swamp cooler was working pretty good up until this month, when the humidity started to rise.   What we consider humidity here is anything above 20% – which normally would be bearable, but without an A/C it is proving to be quite miserable, as the Evap. Coolers don’t work when the water can’t evaporate.

July and August are called “Monsoon Season” in phoenix, because the humidity and dew point rise and there is a chance of thunderstorms.  Sometimes these storms can be severe, but we haven’t seen anything like that yet… just sweltering heat in the triple digits.

The office, a small room in the back of the house with a large wall unit A/C has turned into our sanctuary.   Thankfully, this is the room with a couch, a tv, and the computer. 

Last night I woke up to a rumbling sound.  At first I thought it must be someone’s loud engine running somewhere down the street.  But as I lay there, the room brightened with a brief flash of light and then another rumble was heard.  Thunder.  I got up and walked into the hot part of the house, to the front door.  I could smell the rain before I opened the door.  It was still warm, but the rain was cooling the air a bit, and it was slightly cooler outside than it was inside my house.  So I opened the front and back doors, and moved the fans in front of them.  It was 2:30 am, and here in South West Phoenix I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to bed with the doors wide open.  So I stayed up for an hour, letting the fans move the cooler air into the house, pushing out some of the stuffy air that had been accumulating in the kitchen and front entrance.  I stood in the rain in my pajamas and felt relieved.  I knew the relief wouldn’t last long.  Eventually, around 3:30, I reluctantly closed the doors and went back into the air-conditioned office and tried to get some more sleep.  My back and hips are starting to complain from sleeping on the floor for 4 nights, but it feels so much cooler in here that I really don’t care.

Now it’s 11:00 am.  The sun is shining and the temperature has already risen to 100 degrees, with the humidity at 32%.  I don’t know if having the doors opened last night helped the temperature in the rest of the house – it’s still too hot to comfortably make use of any room other than this one.  The rain we had was much needed, and I am thankful for it, but the light sprinkle in the middle of the night won’t do much other than make it more muggy and humid the rest of the week. 

I just wish we would have some of those insane torrential thunderstorms and then have this monsoon season pass us by.  If the humidity clears out, I may be able to use the rest of my house.  For now, it’s a matter of staying in this room as long as possible, and if I must go in the other rooms to clean or cook, I will wear wet clothes, wet hair, and try not to work for longer than 15 minutes at a time.

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