Honestly, whats the point of it all?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm struggling this morning...  call it depression, call it PMS, call it whatever you want to call it...  i dont really care.  But right now,in this moment, I am feeling very, very low.

 

I'm sitting here looking at my desk. Or at least, at the spot where there used to be a desk.  It seems as though I've been trying to dig myself out of this hole ever since School started in September.  I've been working, cleaning, decluttering, working some more... trying to make a dent in this overwhelming task of bringing order back into my life.  But nothing changes!

 

Nothing ever changes... How do you do it? how do you maintain a nice, neat, tidy home, with two kids who trash it in 30 seconds?  How do you work?  How do you have time for yourself and do the fun things that you love to do?  How do you have time for your children? How do you do the cooking, the cleaning, the grocery shopping, the organizing, the decluttering, and also find the time to work from home to earn the money that you need to pay for your kids school and the family car you just bought?

 

Then to top it all off, you get sick, (probably because you didn't have time to take proper care of yourself), you get caught up with a cold for a few days.  And when you are finally well enough to take a look around, all you want to do is go straight back to bed and hide your head under the pillow... How do you face it?  How do you dig yourself out?

 

What's the point? If all of that hard work and effort can be un-done in a matter of moments, what's the point of even trying?

 

I'm lost right now... so very, very lost.

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#2 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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Hi mama.  Yes, you are not alone, that is for sure.  I think you've spoken the rallying cry of all parents (well, at least women...IME, men don't seem to get all wrought up over this kind of thing).

 

Accepting imperfection (or even way, way less than imperfection!) is the only way I know how to look at it.  You can only do the best you can do at any moment.  Some moms, by the way, swear by "cleaning co-ops" whereby friends take turns helping each other around the house.  I have found that the housework stresses me more than about anything.

 

12 step programs talk about accepting things you cannot change.  Knowing that you can never, despite your best efforts, keep a lovely home, make the "right" amount of time for everything and everybody, and get a decent night's sleep?  It is our new normal.

 

If you are feeling truly depressed and persistently overwhelmed/unhappy, I would urge you to talk to a trusted confidant/therapist/somebody.  I have been helped tremendously in the past by reaching out.  And, for me, meds have been critical at times in my life.

 

One of my totally irrational hang-ups is that if I was pretty, my life would be easier.  You are so beautiful in your avatar picture.  Guess we all have our bag of baggage, huh?

 

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#3 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess I just want to see the house clean... spotless. in a state where I would feel confident and comfortable if my mother poped in for a visit. No cat smell, no rat smell, no clutter, no flies, no food/dishes left out, clean floors, clean windows/mirrors, no dirty laundry...

 

Just once... Once, I would like to be able to say "I can relax and put my feet up tonight, because my house is CLEAN"... Or "sure! we can have a play date at my house -- common over!"

 

There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to keep up with the day-to-day stuff. I constantly feel like I am always behind in something. If I catch up in one area, then I am falling behind in another.

 

This feels more like a hovel than a home... I want to be able to come "home".

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#4 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think to myself -- just start small.. pick one drawer.  one room.  One corner...

 

But everywhere I look, there's clutter everywhere.  And the clutter migrates from one room to the next.

 

I just threw out 3 large garbage bags full of junk yesterday, and there's STILL something on the floor in every corner or every room that shouldn't be there!  Scattered books, clothes on the floor, a melon rind, an old broken dresser, bits of a broken toy... And this is just the HALLWAY!  There's stuff like this in EVERY ROOM!

 

I can't keep up... I have people coming in once every two weeks to help with the cleaning, but nothing ever gets cleaned because they can hardly ever get to the floor. They'll be coming on Monday, and I just know that by Tuesday we'll be back to where we are right now.

 

I am still sick, still taking antibiotics. I just realized that I don't think I've eaten or drunk anything all day so far and I don't even feel hungry. 

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#5 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 10:20 AM
 
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Eat something.  Treat yourself like you would want your child/children to treat themselves in a similar situation.

 

The ONLY thing I can do consistently is the dishes.  That is my one "clean spot," most days at least.  I have changed my expectations for what the house "should" look like a whole lot since I have a toddler.

 

Are they any mamas you could work with on the house thing?  You are doing great to de-clutter and have help every two weeks...that is a great start.  It's the maintenance stuff that could kill anybody.


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#6 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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I feel exactly the same way lots of times.  I imagine that everyone else's home is neat and orderly  - their kids happy and cooperative - and their lives not chaotic.  I am trying to let go of this false image.  I think or at least i suppose most women feel this way.  BUT at the same time, I imagine ways that I could improve on things and work toward that but can never keep up.  I was organized and on top of things for one week when school started and then lapsed into my same old do the minimum lifestyle.   In the past, I've had luck reading FlyLady.  Its definetely worth a peek if you haven't heard of it before.  Even though I rarely read the emails anymore, I learned some valueable things from flylady that have stuck with me.  You might check it out.    Hugs to you though - it sounds like its an overwhelming day.   Good Luck!

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#7 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 04:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kivgaen View Post

I can't keep up... I have people coming in once every two weeks to help with the cleaning, but nothing ever gets cleaned because they can hardly ever get to the floor. They'll be coming on Monday, and I just know that by Tuesday we'll be back to where we are right now.



We have the same thing, and I feel like it's kind of what helps me keep up with the clutter.  And the kids know they are coming, so that's the argument we use with them to get them to clean.  They do so few chores, and fighting with them to actually do stuff is more time, effort and energy than it takes to do it, but on the night before the cleaners come, my husband will stand over them and bark at them to get things done.

 

I have a niece who has two children who are younger than my children, and they clean, but my niece supervises every bit of it.  I guess I always figured if I have to stand over them and tell them everything to do, it's pointless, but I guess it makes sense you do this when they are young, and they'll eventually get it.  But they seem to actually listen to their mother, because they know they'll get a spanking if they don't, whereas my kids tend to fight back and argue every point, and my youngest gets so explosive I have a hard time dealing with her.

 

I think it's really hard to deal with your own clutter.  There are days where we both kind of wish the house would burn down.

 

I do try to look at it in small chunks.  Like if I see paper bits or plastic pieces or woodchips or crayons or rubberbands or whatever it is on the floor--maybe it's a stray sock or a spoon or shoes--I will pick that one thing up and put it away and say, "There, that is one thing that is put away."  Maybe organize 15 minutes clean like crazy breaks with your kids where you play music and run and put stuff away.  Have kids pick up every blue item they see, or every sock they see, or every toy that has a head or an arm.  Clean one thing, so one thing looks orderly, and then return and gaze upon the one thing.  I made my daughters completely clear the table and wash it one day, and they fought me.  Some of the papers and books ended up stacked on a chair that was pushed into the table.  But the crumbs and stains were gone, so at least when I saw that one clean thing, it helped me to feel better.

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#8 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 04:50 PM
 
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The flylady system really helped me out a few years ago when I didn't know how to clean!

 

http://www.flylady.net/index.asp


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#9 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 05:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kivgaen View Post

I would like to be able to say "I can relax and put my feet up tonight, because my house is CLEAN"... Or "sure! we can have a play date at my house -- common over!"

I do keep my house clean enough for that reason. I had a friend growing up with two pack rat parents. She was never allowed to have anyone inside her home for guesting, sleepovers and the like. She turned out okay as a grown-up but she was pretty odd as kid.. the paranoia, the guilt feelings, the resentment to her parents for making the home so messy in the first place. That's part of what makes me keep doing a little more sometimes even when I feel exhausted.. I want my kids to have the normalcy of saying "come over to my house". I may only have microwave popcorn and lemonade to serve you but the house is tidy and comfortable.


Sorry you feel so crummy. Is this an ongoing thing.. have you had a doctor do a work up on you?
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#10 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 08:48 PM
 
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i let a lot go. my house is never clean. i don't usually cook. those things just aren't that important to me. when i get a free moment i spend it doing something i enjoy rather than something i fell i should do. these days it's knitting. yes, i would like a clean home and hot meals all the time but i know that isn't going to happen in my world. that's ok. this moment isn't forever.

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#11 of 23 Old 10-15-2011, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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caedenmomma -- thanks for the suggestion.  I did go out and eat something with my daughter and felt a bit better after having done so.  After we had lunch, I actually went to a walk-in-clinic (my Dr's office was closed yesterday) and got a prescription for SSRIs. I've had this problem most of my life, but never really given medication a fair shake.  Its time to give it a shot...

 

berkelyp -- Yes, that's it exactly!  And what makes matters worse is I have two neighbours across the street from me, both with kids the same age as mine (even younger!) and their houses are always spotless!  And they still apologize for the state of their house when I unexpectedly drop in, and I'm thinking "what are you talking about?  you don't know from dirry!"

 

Viola -- Are you sure you don't live in my house? :)  I could have written your post exactly...  That's exactly how it is here, right down to the "barking" husband... lol.  What are we doing wrong?

 

Mittsy -- I tried flylady before... idk... I guess it kind of worked, sort of. but I lose interest or just suddenly stop the routine one day and then everything falls apart and I'm right back to square 1 again.  It seems to be a horrible cycle that I just can't break out of, no matter how hard I try.

 

philomom -- I want so bad to be in that situation where I can just invite ppl over to my house and know that my kids dont feel singled out or embarrassed to have their friends over.

 

MarineWife - I do enjoy cooking, but I must be doing something wrong in that area because I always seem to make a mess bigger than it needs to be when I'm cooking.  I know my husband always complains to me about the state of the kitchen after I've cooked a meal.  I think I need to work on remembering to fill up the sink with soapy water BEFORE I start cooking so that I can contain the mess to the last pot or the last utensil that i used before dinner was served.

 

I'm feeling a bit nauseous today.  Not all teary-eyed and weepy though, so that's a good start.  I started on a low dose to begin because I was worried about the side effects turning me off of giving medication a go.  I have a month's supply on this dose and after that I'll have to go back to my doctor to up the dosage if I feel its helping.

 

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#12 of 23 Old 10-15-2011, 02:07 PM
 
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i sure hope your dh helps clean, especially if he complains about it. A lot of families have a system where one person cooks dinner and the other cleans up afterward.

one of the worst things you can do to yourself is compare yourself to others. my mom visited last weekend. i complained about how messy my house was. she said, "if your house were spotless, I'd wonder who was taking care of the kids." Gotta love that!

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#13 of 23 Old 10-16-2011, 07:32 AM
 
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Yes, the mess. I am always cleaning, and cooking. It never ends. I do try to always keep the kitchen clean before I go to bed even if I am up an hour late to bed. Like this morning the LR is a mess, but aahh, the kitchen is clean. I can start the day well. I live in a huge fixer upper and I have a hard time seeing the beauty of it. So with my clean kitchen, I have a favorite plant there, and a wall hanging, clean white linen curtain, and special river stones the kids collected for me on the windowsill. When things get tough or I feel a bit depressed, I sit in that spot in the kitchen.

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#14 of 23 Old 10-17-2011, 10:17 AM
 
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As to getting kids to help clean - I don't know how old yours are but mine are 6 and 3 and I "make" them do some chores/cleaning.  I talk to them about how certain things need to be done because I want a clean house and because it is more fun to play when you can see the floor and find your toys and because dishes and laundry just have to be done so that we can keep using them.  

 

My six year old mostly understands but still has to be coerced sometimes.   She has several chores which I simply insist on and will oversee and argue until she does them.  I think it is worth the extra time because i've been doing that since she was littler (and now with the little one) and now at 6 , she puts her own laundry away, feeds the dog, empties the silverware from the dishwasher, and helps pick up toys and laundry around the house.   I don't threaten physical violence but I do say that if she doesn't put away her laundry or pick up her toys, that I will give them away.  She has plenty of clothes and toys and I probably wouldn't give away everything on the floor but that is what I threaten and if she ever tests it, I will collect at least a few things and put them in my car for goodwill.   She knows this and it motivates her.  It seems like a natural consequence to me.  If you don't take care of your things - you don't get to have them.

 

I too am a big fan of cleaning time with music and I just make a big deal that we are cleaning until everything is off the floor so I can vaccuum.  One room at a time, we pick up, the kids like to dust, and then I vaccuum.   Doing this even once a week makes a big difference I find and my house takes less time to prep for guests.   If you drop in on me on a given day, there is probably a good bit of crap lying around on the floor and every surface but give me 1/2 and hour and I can pick it all up for company.  

 

My other trick is to have company or even a party at least once a month or so.  This motivates me to do a more thorough cleaning so that the mess never builds up TOO much.  I am just not motivated otherwise but this works for me. 

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#15 of 23 Old 10-17-2011, 10:33 AM
 
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I do say that if she doesn't put away her laundry or pick up her toys, that I will give them away.  She has plenty of clothes and toys and I probably wouldn't give away everything on the floor but that is what I threaten and if she ever tests it, I will collect at least a few things and put them in my car for goodwill.   She knows this and it motivates her.  It seems like a natural consequence to me.  If you don't take care of your things - you don't get to have them.

Does this apply to you and your DP as well? If you or s/he leaves something out, does the other get to get rid of it?

That's not really a natural consequence or even a logical consequence. It's not logical that someone would come and take your things out of your home because you don't put them away. It's not natural because those things won't naturally get up and leave. A natural consequence would be something like the toy getting broken or lost and the clothes not getting washed or getting ruined. A logical consequence may be more like you can't play in the dirty room because it's a hazard or just too messy to move around or with the lost/broken toys for obvious reasons and can't wear the clothes left out because they are too dirty or possibly torn. Those are essentially one and the same. Logical consequences never made much sense to me.

When I want my kids to clean I enlist their help with whatever I'm doing. If the playroom needs to be cleaned, I take them in the room with me and tell them, "You pick up this while I pick up that." My 4yo needs more specific directions while my 7yo can go to one area and figure out what and how to pick up without much direction from me. Sometimes I stay in the playroom and pick up toys with them and sometimes I go in another room to fold the laundry or something like that. They do well with either.

When other things need to be done like mopping the floor or scrubbing the toilet, I ask who wants to do what. I almost always get volunteers. Sometimes my boys even argue about how gets to clean the toilet.

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#16 of 23 Old 10-17-2011, 01:54 PM
 
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My other trick is to have company or even a party at least once a month or so.  This motivates me to do a more thorough cleaning so that the mess never builds up TOO much.  I am just not motivated otherwise but this works for me. 

My dh hosts his gaming buddies every other Friday. I have tea once a month for my lady friends during the winter rainy months. I also have a book group that I host once in awhile and two major house parties each year, December 21st and March 14th. So yes, having regular company motivates you not to let it get to the "dirty buildup" point. And less clutter all round means less to move and pick up when you do clean.


My kids are teens and they do have some regular, light chores to help. My breadwinning dh pitches in, too.
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#17 of 23 Old 10-17-2011, 01:58 PM
 
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Logical consequences never made much sense to me.

ROTFLMAO.gif I'm so glad to hear someone else say this. I often feel like I have two heads when I poke myself into the GD forum because I do make my kids brush their teeth and a few other little things that kids never do without some parental coercion. Only to be told that you should never coerce your kids, never, ever. Really, effing really? Its okay for your kids teeth to rot out because you won't coerce them into it? Huh?headscratch.gif
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#18 of 23 Old 10-17-2011, 08:07 PM
 
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Marinewife - you're right.  Thank you for reflecting back to me.  Of course, I don't give things away that me and dh leave out - (though honestly, sometimes I'd like to).  

 

That said, I would rather make a somewhat logical threat than a totally unrelated one like loss of television or time out or something which I don't generally do anyway.  I admit, its not ideal but for better or worse, it does work for me.  I usually don't have to threaten anything and like you make cleaning a group activity, have fun with it, and generally the kids follow along pretty willingly.  But sometimes, its not a good day and I resort to the threat.  

 

philomom - How do you get your kids to help clean up?  The more ideas the better.

 

kivgaem - I too seem to be surrounded by over achievers.   I really do feel like I have the messiest house of anyone I know but then once in a while, I go to someone's house that makes me feel really good about mine.  I just don't have enough chance to go in many people's houses.  Its a secret pleasure to watch shows on TV where someone's house is totally insanely cluttered and gross and then the TV crew gets rid of all their stuff and paints the walls and gives them new furniture.  Its sad but cathartic I guess.

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#19 of 23 Old 10-24-2011, 08:42 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kivgaen View Post I actually went to a walk-in-clinic (my Dr's office was closed yesterday) and got a prescription for SSRIs. I've had this problem most of my life, but never really given medication a fair shake.  Its time to give it a shot...

 

Yay! Hurray for taking care of yourself!  And if this first med doesn't work try something else.  

 

berkelyp -- Yes, that's it exactly!  And what makes matters worse is I have two neighbours across the street from me, both with kids the same age as mine (even younger!) and their houses are always spotless!  And they still apologize for the state of their house when I unexpectedly drop in, and I'm thinking "what are you talking about?  you don't know from dirry!"

 

They're aliens. They aren't actually human.

 

I'm feeling a bit nauseous today.  Not all teary-eyed and weepy though, so that's a good start.  I started on a low dose to begin because I was worried about the side effects turning me off of giving medication a go.  I have a month's supply on this dose and after that I'll have to go back to my doctor to up the dosage if I feel its helping.

 

The nausea might be from the medication.  Sounds like you're easing into the medication just the right way, low and slow.  

 

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My other trick is to have company or even a party at least once a month or so.  This motivates me to do a more thorough cleaning so that the mess never builds up TOO much.  I am just not motivated otherwise but this works for me. 


Yes, I got roped into co-leading a girl scout troop for a few years.  And because I just didn't feel capable of doing the organizing/paper work part, I figured I could provide the home for troop meetings.  Every other Friday the front rooms got tidied up and minimally cleaned.  Those Saturday mornings after the girls had been there the night before, it was so pleasant to come out to the front of the house that was relatively neat.

 

 

OK my kids are old enough that they sleep over at friends' homes regularly.  So when I drop my kid off I look around carefully and frankly many of the homes are seriously messy. Especially the homes with pets!  These homes are as messy as mine.  But they just invite us in, probably feeling self conscious just like I do. And then my kid stays the night and has a wonderful time. 

 

I think we're a nation of stressed out, depressed moms, and the gals who look like they've got it together are the exception, not the rule. 

 


 


Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#20 of 23 Old 11-13-2011, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

 

berkelyp -- Yes, that's it exactly!  And what makes matters worse is I have two neighbours across the street from me, both with kids the same age as mine (even younger!) and their houses are always spotless!  And they still apologize for the state of their house when I unexpectedly drop in, and I'm thinking "what are you talking about?  you don't know from dirry!"

 

 

They're aliens. They aren't actually human.

HAHA.... that made me lol.  twice :)

 

Quote:

 

The nausea might be from the medication.  Sounds like you're easing into the medication just the right way, low and slow.  

 

The medication isn't working out.  I've been yawning non-stop since I started taking it, and sleeping 12 hours a day.  I need to try something different.

 

Quote:

Yes, I got roped into co-leading a girl scout troop for a few years.  And because I just didn't feel capable of doing the organizing/paper work part, I figured I could provide the home for troop meetings.  Every other Friday the front rooms got tidied up and minimally cleaned.  Those Saturday mornings after the girls had been there the night before, it was so pleasant to come out to the front of the house that was relatively neat.

 

I do need to organize more events in my home.  I don't know why it is, but I always seem to find the time to clean when someone is coming over.  My parents came for dinner on Monday and I magically found the time and cleaned the whole of the main floor until it was spotless.  And it didn't take me all day either.  I even found time to do some decluttering and organizing while I was at it, I didn't just shove things into drawers/closets!

 

 

 

Quote:
I think we're a nation of stressed out, depressed moms, and the gals who look like they've got it together are the exception, not the rule.

 

My sister-in-law is one of them too... they just for whatever reason are more organized than the rest of us and seem to manage it all with such ease.

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#21 of 23 Old 11-13-2011, 08:36 PM
 
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if you can... make one room of your house or even the whole downstairs a clutter free zone. just get real militant about it. all clutter goes on the stairs to go up (if you have a 2 story house) each and every day at the end of the day. then at least the downstairs stays clutter free. and you just have to sweep and dust, and it's otherwise good to go.

 

just keep at it. look at those three garbage bags gone as that much less that you have to go through. 

 

i practice the "do it now" principle. if i notice something that needs doing, be it a kleenex that didn't get *in* the garbage can, to a smear on the kitchen counter, to a load of laundry that is ready to go in, i *do it now*. then it is off my mind. yes, i am "always cleaning" and my house is still not perfect. it probably never will be, especially when i have small children. but the downstairs at least stays presentable, i always invite people over, and i keep up with the basic tasks. i run the dishwasher every single day. i wipe out the fridge when i notice grungy spots. i may not do the entire fridge, but over time, i basically keep up with it.

 

caffeine is my friend. i like a cup of hot coffee in the early afternoon (if i'm home) and i use the energy lift to "do something" that needs doing. 

 

i dive in to whatever looks easy. just do the easy things. the things you know how to do. then just keep going. you can reduce the "i don't know" stuff into a smaller and smaller pile. consolidate this to a hidden corner of your house. then pick at it as you have time and inclination.

 

finally, ANGER is a great emotion to declutter with. the next time you are well and truly pissed, you have a huge fight with your husband, or something else happens to make you really mad, turn your attention to that stubborn pile of "i don't know" stuff, and you will find that the solution to the individual items is suddenly crystal clear.

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#22 of 23 Old 11-14-2011, 03:05 PM
 
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Sounds like you need to revisit your medication plan.  How long have you been taking the medication? May I ask what it is?  If you've been taking it for a few weeks and this sleepiness isn't lessening, then this med might be the wrong one for you.  So this is just the beginning of the process.  Go back to your prescribing doctor and together you can figure out what you should try next.

 

If there's one thing I wish new antidepressant users could know is that there's a good chance the first med you try won't be the one for you. So don't give up.  It's almost entirely a trial and error process. The doctor, whose knowledge of pharmacophysiology might be vast, depends on your feedback to discern how a med is affecting you and whether it's working.  Try a different medication, a different dose -higher or lower- or a combination of medications to address multiple issues, and you will eventually find what works.

 

One more thing, I urge you to see a psychiatrist specifically for medications, if you aren't already.  Don't rely on your general family physician for this.  Avail yourself of the medical doctor who studied an extra 2 years in med school to specialize in diagnosing and treating various mental health issues. 

 

And I concur about coffee! 


Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#23 of 23 Old 12-10-2011, 11:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

if you can... make one room of your house or even the whole downstairs a clutter free zone. just get real militant about it. all clutter goes on the stairs to go up (if you have a 2 story house) each and every day at the end of the day. then at least the downstairs stays clutter free. and you just have to sweep and dust, and it's otherwise good to go.

 

This is exactly what I do.  I try to keep my living room as neat as possible, or at most, "10 minutes from clean."  Then I know I have ONE room where I can feel peaceful.

 

I have had a lot more success getting the kids to help clean lately.  What I do is stay in the room and hand out "zones" to them-- they clean certain areas.  I also sometimes clean with them-- they just like my company.  The biggest changes have come when we get rid of things.  SO MUCH EASIER to be clean when everything is easy to put away.

 

But as for "what is the point of it all," I can't answer that anymore.


 2/02, 4/05, 2/07, 11/09, and EDD 12/25/11 wave.gif

 

 

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