Originally Posted by Linda on the move
One of my little tricks that I've modified from Flylady is setting aside one hour to focus on housework, and make a list of the 6 most pressing issues. Then I use a timer and work on each issue for 10 minutes. Then I take a 10 minute break and decide what to do next. Even though some of the jobs won't be completely done, 10 minutes is enough to get them out of crises mode.
Love this, Linda! I enjoy listening to Flylady on her radio show, but could never do the emails because they were totally overwhelming to me.
I think I will try your hour method while having her on my ipod.
To the OP...
I think it's worth investing the time to try and dump the burden of house-judgement that you place on yourself. It will take some time and a LOT of work (I grew up as a military politician's kid where appearances were everything and you most certainly were judged by your house, since you had to entertain in it every week!) but you will be healthier and a better parent for it. The fact that you can't deal with your kids' way of doing things and shut down and just do it for them raises a red flag for me--your kids do actually need to learn how to do things, and it's okay to be assertive that they meet minimum standards. Going back again to my childhood (*eyeroll* I know), we had insane standards for cleanliness and orderliness, but I was never taught to do anything at all because it wasn't right and it took more time than my mom or dad doing it (and would have for awhile). So I grew up to be a housewife who had internalized high priority on appearance of the house, complete with it being a reflection on the caliber of the people living in it while having NONE of the skills to achieve even half of my standard. Now, I don't think that you are at all imposing this on your kids. But you are imposing it on yourself, and you know how much kids absorb even when we think we're hiding our internal anxiety from them!
This isn't going to turn on a dime (or even a quarter). But the more you can work on healing your anxiety and slowly getting your kids on board, I bet your stress level will go down--after the initial rise as you start implementing things in baby steps.
I have so many similar thoughts that honestly, I can't even post much more than you did. I'm just posting to sub here because I love posts like this... I feel less alone.
Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply to my post. I especially appreciate knowing I am not alone - that in itself has inspired me to keep going.
Just for a little update: We have put in an application for a three bedroom. We have been looking for quite some time and this is the first affordable one to come up in months. We live in a very small town with very few rentals, so competition for them is fierce. The other thing is it is a very nice apartment in a much nicer building than what we are in now. Part of the shame I feel is not only about how clean or not clean I am able to keep the house, but also just that - no matter what I do - the place is kind of a dump. I was planning to paint on our own dime (landlord didn't before we moved in and won't even pay for the paint so I could do it myself) this summer just to freshen things up a bit - but if we are offered this new apartment - I won't have to! As much as moving is a pain in the behind, it does make for a perfect purging moment. Here's to a fresh start - keep your fingers crossed for us!
Also, I ran across a chore/behavior improvement system that seems really user friendly to me that we might invest in. Its called "Accountable Kids". Has anyone our there used it? I've tried chore charts before with little success. This seems like something that might keep all of us on track a little better. I'm attracted to the durable tactility of it. I'm not usually one to spend money on this sort of thing and I almost never buy anything new, but I really need to try something different - I can't keep beating my head against the wall the way I have been.
Anyway - thanks again everyone. You are all great!
Oh, and Mom2GCNJ- One thing that's helped me deal with the cleaning is to think of it as "cycling" not "doing". The rotation is ongoing all the time. It never, ever will be done. Ever. The best I can do is to get into a good cycle and not get all jammed up (a jam is, for example, when someone has no clean underwear, when I can not walk through the hall, when the bathroom floor is a health hazard to the baby).
It has really helped me deal with this type of work which can be so demoralizing otherwise. Also, I schedule in park and play times. Lame but it helps me realize that housework never ends, LOL.
And I came from a clean but not obsessive house with a working mom. We got privileges taken away for not cleaning. But that was a different time- she was allowed to leave us at home at nine. I babysat at eleven! Sigh. So hard to raise kids these days.
Originally Posted by Mom2GCNJ
My DH is great. The thing is, he doesn't really care all that much about a tidy house. He does what he does to keep my head from blowing off - that feels like enough for him. The steady simmer the builds up in me over time doesn't matter to him - until I'm ready to blow. Also, he hasn't been hard wired to think of our untidy house as the embodiment of a character defect like I apparently was in my youth. He just says "Well it is a little house and we are busy and we have little kids so...."
I think you need to emulate your dh. Seriously.
My dh is the same, and I used to get so frustrated/furious at always picking up the house. Every day, evry hour. And I homeschool my 3 kids, so there's no window when I have hours to fix it al up.
And after years of being mad and crying etc and dh saying he understands but literally, like yours, cannot do more, I clicked into logic.
I'm here to be with my kids. That's the ultimate thing. So today, for example, there are train sets all over the livingrom, pillows askew, blankets on the floor, snacks on the table . . . and we are all cozing watching the FIFA games. I've learned not to 'see' it, like dh does. and not to feel judged or judge myself. I don't have loads of folks over. I have the few friends who get it, who get me, and who enjoy our company, not the state of our house, and we have them over.
My eldest is almost 10, and I've spent his entire life ignoring him to clean our house, which just gets messy again, and can get tidied eventually, when needed. And like you, 5 people, 2 bedrooms. nd we do de-clutter. but that's all beside the point.
It's about being with them. You know it, and want it. so you need to heal the part of you that thinks the other stuff matters. it doesn't. the *people* in your home do matter. And they'd love more time with you.
I can't imagine, mama~! We have two little ones in a two bedroom. (no dog
). We manage ok... but with a 9yo in the mix? I wouldn't have a clue!
My best advice, a very organized closet, with shelving. Basically, a place for everything, as previously mentioned...and many places!