This is what a bad day looks like

This is not a proud day for Mama, and that’s okay with me.  We all have those days.  Those days where our parenting behavior is just not stellar or admirable or what we aspire to in any way.

That being said, having one of those days every once in a while (usually) doesn’t end up harming anyone; and sometimes–it even provokes some change in the people around you.  Time will tell if that is the result of today’s experiences, but a mama can hope…

So, the picture at the top of the page is how I am now handling the cleaning problems in our home.  Clutter and disorganization are a HUUUUUGE PTSD trigger for me and since they stem from extended neglect in poverty–something that rewires you over time rather than in a single impactful moment–they are hard to treat.  After nearly three decades of therapy, I no longer hoard things (please note that MY hoarded treasures were always ORGANIZED and neat, tyvm) and am purging.  I definitely don’t lean towards OCD and my house has NEVER looked like a museum.  At all.  In fact, my house has often been really cluttered because I live with someone who has his own issues and plenty of them.

At the moment, our family is facing a rather serious situation that has me in a less than patient state of mind overall.  I’m finding that although I’m handing it well enough to stun even my therapist, it shows in my impatience and anxiety level. We have spent most of the last 5 years moving 7 times usually in housing we knew would be temporary–all related to our relocation to the Midwest.  That’s a huge chunk of both of my kids lives.  They have spent half or most of their lives (depending on the child) in less-than-organized environments as a result, routines were not learned, systems were not often in place, etc.  I don’t blame my kids for this.

However, I’m done trying to walk them through keeping a clean environment only to be ignored.  So, twice in the last week, at the end of at least an hour (sometimes more) period of trying to walk them through some VERY. SIMPLE. cleaning tasks and failing… I shifted gears.  Now, I simply take everything that’s not in it’s proper place and throw it on the floor.  Unfortunately, this started when I silently snapped on Saturday and therefore Papa got the brunt of this.

Not proud, people.

Today, it was BigGuy’s room.  And I am definitely going to need to figure out how to help him because what you’re seeing is without me having gone in his closet. We need less “stuff”.  Like, a lot less.  I’ve KNOWN this and we’ve been purging since the relocation was announced–almost 6 years ago.  It’s good to stop the hoarding, but I had pretty much just stopped accumulating.  I didn’t get rid of much.  That started when the relo was announced.  And it felt AMAZING to unload so much stuff.  Seriously.  Amazing. Now, I’m reading “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess“–which is about the author’s journey through… well, here’s the book description from Amazon:

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.”

I’m through month 1 (food) and for food allergy and blood sugar reasons, I couldn’t reduce us to 7 foods for a month (the author suggests reducing for a week if a month is scary); but it definitely made me think about my family’s food situation.  Admittedly, I had already done a lot of that kind of analysis just as part and parcel of my job.

But now I’m into the second month: clothing.  I’ve actually been looking forward to this because I have been telling the husbeau for several months that I want to reduce the number of clothing items we have and get rid of what we don’t wear.  I was looking forward to the author’s input and experiences on this.  Her “lessons learned”.  But I got to reading halfway through her month-long experience and have now removed a LOT of clothing from my wardrobe; and will be moving the size-I-am-heading-back-to into a Rubbermaid in the basement.  One Rubbermaid.  For two sizes of clothing.  I told my book group:

I definitely left more than a poverty level of clothing but the stuff I left will get worn more for sure. And removing the stuff that’s not current size is already making me feel way less overwhelmed about my working clothes. So much so that I’m actually going to purge another round of my daily tops (my casual bottoms are less than 4 so that’s fine)

And I intend to do this with every area of my house.  Do you know how many stock pots I own?  I will wait until November for that because I actually use them for canning.  But everything is on notice: be used and loved, or be gone. Last… it is HIGHLY. LIKELY. that our first floor office will be converted to a pantry.  Currently, it is our wannabe-classroom-but-really-just-a-place-to-store-educational-stuff-we-don’t-use.  It’s cute and pretty and impressive when people come over and think we’re “real” homeschoolers because we have this room; but it’s complete crap.  And it all needs to GO.

GO, I SAY!!!

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