Self pity is one of my worst tendencies.
It’s the easiest for me to fall into, the hardest to relinquish, the most enticing, and the most life-sucking.
It creeps up on me the most when I think about the things I’m not good at that need to get done: Tidying. Decluttering. Organizing. Regular maintenance.
You see, I’m not that kind of person. My brain doesn’t naturally function in those capacities. Thinking through anything organizational or administrative is so counterintuitive to me that it takes enormous amounts of energy just to decide what to do, let alone do it. Halfway through any tidying job, I’ll become exhausted and need a break. Often, I don’t get back to it for weeks, months, years…… And in the meantime, I’ve been trying to ignore the mess I made while trying to clean up.
I’m a stay-at-home mom, so these are the things in my world that I need to do that are hard for me. You see, if I were employed elsewhere, I’d be in a creative job, with nothing administrative about it. But I’m at home, and I can’t just ignore my weaknesses. Every now and then, I need to wrestle them into submission. The house does need to be somewhat tidy.
And then I begin to feel sorry for myself. Because even when I do tidy, it’s so hard.
I’ve read lots of cleaning books over the years, some of them helpful; others, not so much. My favourites have been It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh and The House That Clean Itself by Mindy Starns Clark. According to Mindy, housekeeping should just be something we do, with no emotions attached. I cried when I read that page. She really gets it. I had no idea that housekeeping could be a neutral thing.
I’m still not there yet. I think I need to read her book again.
Right now, I really need to do a big toy purge. With five kids, each with birthdays and Christmas in our materialistic society, we really have so much. Too much.
And right now, as I think about it, I’m starting to feel discouraged and sorry for myself. It really is all too much.
And I begin to feel angry with my mom, with my in-laws, with everyone who has ever dared to give any child of mine a gift. How dare they make my life so difficult?
And I feel angry with my kids, for wanting to keep everything, for not cleaning up after themselves, for protesting and arguing with me every. single. night. when I tell them to put their stuff away.
Housework is still very emotional for me.
Darn it, darn it, darn it.
So, how can I get past this? Perhaps the answer is in my first couple paragraphs. Isn’t it funny that I began by talking about self pity, and then my brain immediately went to housework and toys? Maybe the first step is to stop feeling so darned sorry for myself because I have too much. It is what it is. And if I don’t like it, I should change it.
And maybe, even though I don’t think I can be happy about the mess, I can look for something else house-related to be thankful for. Lord, please help me. I can’t do this on my own.