The title of this post was "So Discouraged," but that was before my HCI (Hot Coffee Injection) and now I am more like, "Hey, let's do laundry! and bake brownies! and have an autumnal soup for lunch! and let's think of something fun for The Virtual Avon Party--like, I wonder if I could do a little giftie (lip balm?) for the first five orders?" I've been emailing LeAnna all morning. She is probably getting very, very sorry she ever told me about this Avon thing.
When not under the influence of coffee (note to self: buy larger coffee pot), I've been feeling whiny and stressy. The one time I went on psychiatric medication, it was a few weeks before a mother-in-law visit, just like this. I didn't realize it was the stress of the impending visit--I thought I was just suddenly unable to cope with life.
So many things "need" to be done before she gets here. I think about what actually ought to be done (clean bathroom, hide birth control and journals, put away usual dishes), but before long I'm thinking the only way to start is by getting rid of fully half of what we own, since otherwise there is too much clutter for me to work on the cleaning.
And that may be completely true about the clutter, but it's not going to happen before she gets here, and I need to face that. The water stains on the ceiling are not going to get painted. The WALLS are not going to get painted. The thirty layers of clutter are going to be moved to other locations, but not disposed of. The house will still be our house, and that is absolutely fine and reasonable. I'm working on an "If you don't like it, bite me" attitude, so far with little success. (How come "Be yourself" only applies if you're The Cultural Ideal? Hand-wringing, neuroses-packed, under-medicated over-thinkers should be able to be themselves too!)
The day before yesterday, I began freaking out in earnest. I kept wanting to tackle some of the big messy areas, but even after one single project (I cleaned out the children's craft cupboard--way to prioritize!), I felt like I was way behind on my usual skimpy housework. Laundry: teetering! Litter box: in violation of health codes! Bathroom: smelling like pee!
And other projects continue to accumulate. I overdid it at The Children's Place (I haven't told you about the online order I placed after my success at the store), and I need to lay everything out and see what I'm keeping and what I'm taking back. Elizabeth's shoes are too small and her jeans are too short, so I need to dig out the next sizes. The rechargeable batteries for my digital camera are crap, or else the recharger is broken, and in either case I need to handle that so I can take more than ten photos before the batteries give out. The minivan needs an oil change.
How to fit in the Extra Pre-Mother-in-Law-Visit Cleaning when I can't even keep up with the regular stuff? And I know, I should be all, "Who cares what she thinks?," but I'm just NOT. (I think the people who say they don't care what other people think DO care what other people think: they want them to think they don't care what other people think.)
Anyway. Once I get overwhelmed like this, my natural inclination is to huddle in my recliner, keening and throwing candy wrappers on the floor. At the very time I should be springing into action because there is so much to do, that is when, perversely, I can't face doing a single thing. Each thing I attempt to do seems like the least important or the least manageable, or it feels like something else has to be done in order to make it possible to do this other thing, or I feel like I can't possible do it until I have a System, ideally with Matching Containers and a new house to put them in.
The only way to face this state of mind is to pick anything--ANYTHING--that seems doable, and do it. Thus the craft cupboard. My mother-in-law is unlikely to be affected by the state of the craft cupboard, but having it cleaned up is still better than NOT having it cleaned up. And it made me feel like I was making progress.
Yesterday I did the front hall closet. Again, not as high up the priority list as, say, chiseling dust off the bookshelves. But I did it, and having it done is better than NOT having it done. (I spent the twins' entire naptime doing it, so it BETTER be better than not.) I also scooped the litter box and got out Elizabeth's bigger jeans. And this morning when Elizabeth woke me at 5:00, I used the opportunity to order more camera batteries. Is each task like pulling out my own teeth? Yes. But each one makes me feel a little better than I felt when I had all of it still to do.
Also: worse. Because I'm still stressed, and I'm getting increasingly tired, and I didn't exercise yesterday even though I was supposed to. I wanted to tell myself that cleaning out the closet qualified as exercise, but even I'M not falling for that one.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...