Sunday, March 1, 2009

*Waves Timidly* Anyone Still There?

Ok, so that was longer than two weeks.

Having a blog break was refreshing. I have made some significant changes in my life in the last few weeks, which means that my family is much happier.

I actually have been nearly hyperventilating at the thought of coming back, because unfortunately my blog life was back when I began these changes, and even though I love blogging I never want to go back to before.

Why? Well, that's simple. My life was a mess. My house was a mess. We were the perfect candidate for one of those house decluttering shows. You see, when I get very panicked, stressed, and anxious, I get depressed. I feel paralyzed. My house suffers dreadfully, and my kids suffer from no routine, no set mealtimes, no clean underwear. My husband suffers from having a depressed wife who is in panic mode all the time, and has no idea where his socks are. I was so overwhelmed, and didn't know what to do anymore. Things were starting to get better when I wrote my last couple of posts. Little did I know that that was the beginning to some beautiful changes that have brought a lot of peace to our home.

I'm going to bare my soul here, and I hope that you'll be understanding and not judge me too harshly.

Those of you who don't struggle with holding on to too much stuff, having clutter around, dealing with anxiety, feeling like everything's falling on top of you at once won't get this. They'll think "Well, just wash the darn dishes already!" But with anything that's rooted in fear of change and in your emotions, the outside is just reflecting on what's inside. My tumultous house was just a reflection of my inner self. So what happened?

I had been reading my scriptures faithfully. I had started praying more fervently. I began to feel supported by the Lord because I was reaching out to Him. That Saturday, at the very beginning of February, I decided that even though the entire house was a wreck and was overwhelming, I would clean up the kitchen. Not perfectly, but enough that the table was clear, dishes were all done, and I could cook easily without doing a balancing act. So I did. It took me the better part of two days, but it was clean. That was the one room that I could walk into without beginning to have a panic attack and running to bury my head in the computer before I was pulled under. I vowed that if nothing else, I would keep the kitchen reasonably clean. It didn't have to be perfect, but reasonably clean (OUT, dang perfectionism!). So I did. Even though I got sick again that week, I held onto that kitchen for dear life!

By the next weekend, it had become a habit. I'm going to share something else with you that only some of you will understand. If you're a person who struggles with change, any change is going to be stressful. We had done "Big Cleanups" before, but the house was back to chaos within a week. Even though I loved it clean, underneath it made me uncomfortable because that wasn't what I was used to. Sound crazy, but 'tis true.

So, the next weekend I tackled Princess' room. She was pretty upset that her room was such a wreck that she couldn't play in it. I worked and worked in it, and it's almost clean. We decluttered a lot (You can't keep clutter organized!) to make it easier for her to keep clean. I have a small box of stuff to go through, and about 20 minutes will fix her closet. The remainder of that week I kept the kitchen reasonably clean and helped her to keep her room clean. Most nights now she does it without much fuss, because she knows where everything goes. I've learned if a child has too many choices they don't play with much of anything because it's overwhelming. They're better off with fewer choices. I also learned that I shouldn't keep something because I think it's cute or that she should play with it, if she didn't like it, out it went.

You can probably guess what's happened from there. Each weekend I do something different, and add it to my list of rooms to keep reasonably clean. I've watched countless episodes of Clean House and visited almost daily for inspiration and motivation. I've been teaching the kids to pitch in, and it's helping with their confidence and self-esteem. They're happier because I cook them breakfast every morning (except for Cereal Saturday Mornings!) They love knowing that schooltime is from after breakfast to lunchtime. They love knowing they have snacktime. They enjoy that I'm baking often and making tasty meals. (Well, most of them. Lion doth protest much at many things.) If there's a day that I'm feeling really sick, that's ok. I tell myself that it's not the end of the world and I can pick back up on it the next day.

Right now I'm looking at a living room that needs picking up and clean clothes to be put away, but that's ok. I'm not wading in paper, toys, and dirty clothes. I'm not stepping on tortilla chip bags that the kids have thrown on the carpet. I'll do what I can. I've been getting contractions much earlier with this baby than the others, especially when I'm tired or have been doing a lot. That means I should rest, and I'm doing my best to do that. I'm settled in knowing that I'm decluttering and cleaning my house in layers, and that's ok. By making these changes slowly they will stick. Lion used to tell me we needed someone to come help us clean the house (from watching Clean House) and now he says that we don't need them, we can do it ourselves. That right there is worth it all, folks.

This past week I've found myself longing for my bloggy friends. I miss you. I miss your humor, your warmth, your genuineness, your love. That's why I'm back. I have other things to tell you, including a couple of humorous things, but those can wait until later--if I remember them!

The bit of news I will leave you with now is that I'm having a sonogram on March 9th, a week from tomorrow. We will be finding out what the baby is if possible. I met my new doctor, and I really like her. I'm excited about the months ahead. I knew that I couldn't bring a new baby into the situation we had, and now that our family is pulling together and establishing new routines, we'll be able to enjoy our little one by the end of July.

I'm heading off to begin catching up on what I've missed. I know that I won't be able to catch up on all the posts I haven't read, so if anything very significant has happened that you want to let me know about, email me! If nothing else, send me the link to that particular post.

See you all soon!


Heidi Ashworth said...

Rebecca, I missed you! But I totally understand, every single word. Totally. We deal with a lot of anxiety around here and I know how hard it can be just to pick up the phone and make a simple phone call when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. I have been thinking a lot about blogging and how much time I spend doing it and what my priorities are and should be--getting some order into my house is something I just keep putting on the back burner until everything is practically burnt to a crisp. On the surface, most of it looks okay but the kids rooms are industrial waste heaps and, well, anyway, it is good to "see" you! You didn't miss anything on my blog except maybe the post about my book signing. Good for you for doing what makes your world work best for you!

Michal said...

i have missed you and thought several times that i needed to check in on you and make sure that you were okay (obviously, i never followed through on that. ugh.)
i'm so glad to know that you were more than okay, that you were making important, happy, healthy changes. you are worth it!
sometimes when i get busy with my real life and behind in my blog reading/writing, i worry that i'll miss something important . . . but it's okay to just pick up again with blogging, without looking back or trying to get all caught up in your reader. a fresh start is a good thing!

An Ordinary Mom said...

We missed you, but it sounds like you accomplished some very important things. I, too, can't stand clutter or anxiety or feeling overwhelmed, so whatever works for you, you do it.

I really like how you mentioned cleaning in layers. Such a good analogy. Right now, I am also focusing on how to live my life in seasons. I do NOT have to be everything all right now (yes, I wrote a post about that recently). Layers and seasons, those go really well together. Thanks for the inspiration :) !!

Hooray for your doctor's appointment next week ... how exciting!

LexiconLuvr said...

Oh Rebecca, I've missed you terribly. I'm sorry about the hard stuff (and believe me, your house can't be as bad as mine and I have no good excuses!) but I want you to know that I have missed you awfully! Your unique voice is cherished by me. I just miss ya!!!

You take care of you (and that cute fam) and don't feel pressured about the blogginess. I hope you know that I'm always here though. No matter how long you're away. =] (And if you want, you've got my email too and I'd love to email ya if you're feeling too bogged in the blogs.)

Have the best day and congrats on the sonogram!!!

Jeni said...

Glad to have you back!

Nancy Face said...

I'm so glad the changes that you've made are making you happier! :)

Kimberly said...

I am going through the exact same thing right now - the similarities are eerie. I started with the kitchen about two weeks ago, yesterday I turned our bedroom into an actual bedroom instead of the unfolded laundry and junk repository it had become. It feels heavenly, and weird, to walk in there, and I hope I can keep it looking (mostly) tidy now. The office (new junk repository) is going to take a few days...but I remind myself there is time. No deadlines here. Just progress. Just making things a little better each day.

I loved reading this - it helped SO much. And I'm so glad you're back! I've missed you like crazy!

InTheFastLane said...

Good for you for taking the time to take care of your stuff. I don't have that particular demon, but sometimes I go to the opposite extreme where I can't rest, I can't relax, until everything is in its place. It sounds fine, but it sometimes causes issues.

mindyluwho said...

Rebecca, it's not nice to steal other peoples posts and call them your own...

Ok, so this was your post, but it could have been mine, except that I'm not pregnant. But as for the clutter, I have been there. We just moved and I have a garage that I can't even walk in and an extra room that's supposed to be my sewing room that I can't even walk in. Come Spring Break I am doing a major declutter. Did you know that here you can call the DI to come and pick up? They are going to have to bring a BIG truck to my house!

Also, I'm laughing about the toys. Once I was going through the toys with my boys and asking which ones they wanted to keep and which to give away. They wanted to give away a bunch of toys that I thought they should keep. Then I laughed at myself because the only reason I wanted them to keep them was sentimental reasons I had! We gave them away and they didn't miss them at all...and neither did I!

Well I've pretty much written a blog post here, but just wanted to know that you are definately not alone!I'm so happy that you are feeling happy and are blogging again. I missed you!

Heather of the EO said...

It's so nice to have you back.

No judgment here, lady. I think we all struggle with clutter. If not actual clutter then it comes in different forms of addiction or negative defeating behaviors. I can totally understand feeling overwhelmed and anxious (believe me) and I don't always turn to very healthy things to deal with it.

I'm so glad you've started to feel better and I look forward to hearing if the baby cooperates with the sonogram! I LOVE that stuff! I get so excited. :)