Saturday, October 10, 2009

Consistency Equals Balance?

Sorry: It's a bit rambly. I don't have time to edit like I usually would. Kiddlywink's awake and hungry and it's already taken three times as long as usual to get this post done.

I remember feeling so proud of how much I achieved during the six weeks of psychotherapy I had last year. I also remember feeling bewildered when the therapist mentioned it was so nice to have someone who went home and worked with the tools she gave them in the therapy sessions. I thought to myself,Why would someone try and work through their issues in only the limited window each with with the actual therapist, why not continue on at home as well? I now realise what she meant when she said, “You have the luxury of time, a safe place, and a very understanding husband to help you deal with this.”

I still have the safe place, I have the understanding husband, but I don't have time any more, neither does the understanding husband.

And I'm SO frustrated! I'm acknowledging all these things that have come up in the past couple of weeks, but I don't have the time or energy to deal with, or feel, any of it. So I've been overeating and binging on instantly streamed television to compensate.

I also now understand why parents look so frazzled. Everything is a choice between doing one thing and not doing something else. Alaskagirl and I managed a quick chat last night on the phone, and among other things we were talked about how we would love to kick our prenatal selves. All that time we had to DO things! How easy it was to accomplish anything all by yourself! And yet we had no idea and thus were so lazy about exercising, eating, housework etc.

I think of all those times I decided not to go to the gym because it was too much effort and laugh my head off now. Do you know how EASY it is to pack up one bag of stuff, go to the gym/pool whenever you feel like it and spend as long as you like there with no one to think about but yourself? Now, I have to pack my swim bag; pack Kiddlywink's diaper bag; time it so I can feed her then get her dressed and then head on out for a quick swim while she's sleeping. Most often she wakes up while I'm in the showers or half-dressed and I need to feed her right then. And of course now she's getting older so she doesn't sleep as long during the day and wants to play at this new found bearing weight and/or sitting business. So, I rarely go swimming anymore.

It's been hard, realising this week that I have to give up one of my lifelong behavioural patterns. For as long as I can remember I'll have spurts of activity/tidiness/discipline etc followed by periods of laziness/slobbishness/chaos. In order to prevent myself from going crazy, I'm going to have to learn consistency.

Consistency, and to give up the idea of perfection. I was able to give up the ideal of perfection in my eating habits (ie, if I can't be perfect, fuck it, I'll be the total opposite) and now I have to give up that crutch in other areas of my life. No more days and/or weeks of zero housework followed by cleaning binges. Every person I know of who doesn't have a cleaning service but does have a tidy house--tidy and lived in, not Home Beautiful magazine clean, because even they edit the photos they shoot of houses--follows one simple rule: Tidy a little, each and every day.

This week, each day I've done one-three chores, at most. i.e. wash one sink of dishes, fold some clothes, sort some clothes out of storage for Kiddlywink(she'll be moving up a size soon), pick up dirty clothes, wash and sterilise one or two loads of Kidldywink's bottles etc. And you know what? I'm still frustrated. But it's a different kind of frustration.

I'm having to hold myself back from cleaning to exhaustion. It's hard to feel satisfied when at the end of the day there's still mess around, and to feel like I've accomplished hardly anything. But it's easier than working myself into a stupour and STILL feeling unsatisfied because I didn't get done all that I thought I SHOULD get done.

Funnily enough, it's Friday and the house is perceptibly tidier than it's been in months. Not as perfect as it was for that one night only when I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned to get the house spotless because a friend was coming over for dinner. But you know what? The dishes from that meal we cooked sat out for a whole week because I'd hurt myself physically and emotionally with the cleaning frenzy.

I'm at that point where I was with dieting. I'm DONE with wanting perfection. I'm fed up with the binge cycle and I'm ready to try a more intuitive approach to cleaning. Each time I feel the need to compulsively clean I'm going to ask myself why I'm wanting to binge on housework. Strangely enough the last few times I've asked myself that this week, I've given almost identical responses to times I'd binge on food.

I'm suppressing emotions, or using it to punish myself. No wonder I have a love/hate relationship with housework. So this means, like I did with dieting/food, I have to remove the Virtuousness Reward I get for doing a lot of housework, I have to remove the Punishment aspect also. Housework is just housework. It's a repetitive job, especially if done consistently, but it has to be done.But if done consistently, like exercise or a healthy diet, it's another aspect of taking care of myself and learning to live more like an adult and less like a teenager.

So, yeah, I'm frustrated this week, but also pleased that there is something I can work on to better myself, in the limited time I have lately. And who knows, once I get into the regular housework habit, I bet I'll be surprised at how much time I'll free up for other ways to help myself.

1 Nibbles:

Denise said...

After I had Aiden, I was going through similiar thoughts. I have come to take comfort in this one thought- if my house isn't clean for company but the toliet is, that is all I care about! I can manage to scrub a toliet before company comes over. I still like to have a clean house but with two dogs, a baby, and working 5 days a week- I just can't do it. I am happy if the house is picked up and the toliet is clean. You will figure out what you can and can't live with! :-)