A Year of Habits, no. 7
I just went back and read last week’s entry. I was so discouraged. I worked harder this week to avoid discouragement, to remind myself how much God cares about what I am doing, and to strengthen my faith that he can, in spite of me, do what needs to be done in our home. When I prayed I reviewed the day mentally and listed rewarding moments I had with each child, moments that reminded me how great it is to be a Mom. I thanked Heavenly Father for them. It helped. I feel encouraged.
I’m noticing a trend in how my weeks turn out. Either I do a great job of staying on top of the housekeeping, laundry, organization and so forth or I do a great job of taking care of myself: exercise, creativity, reading, etc. I feel like the scale is just bouncing back and forth between the two, and I haven’t yet found a balance. I’m becoming more convinced that the only way to balance it right now is to survive on 4 hours of sleep every night… which is, at this point in time, a certain recipe for a migraine. I’ve tried to attack the house one day, then loosen up a bit the next to allow more time for balance but it doesn’t work. The house falls apart in an hour if I’m not on the ball.
So this week was a house week. Last Saturday I spent several hours cleaning the toy room and we stayed on top of it. The children cleaned it every day. The girls room that I excavated on Wednesday is still clean as well. I’m moderately in control of the laundry. The main floor has been cleaned a few times each day and I vacuumed the family room twice each day. No, I’m not being obsessive. It really does need it that often. And yes, I clearly need to work on helping my baby keep food and crumbs in the kitchen so it doesn’t need it twice a day. She’s a whirlwind, that girl. On Friday night when we had the full-time LDS missionaries for dinner she picked up one of my favorite dessert plates and literally threw it across the kitchen like a Frisbee. Of course it shattered into a thousand pieces all over two rooms and left the first real gouge in our floor (we’ve had dents but no raw wood with splinters sticking out until now). Hello! I was standing 2 feet away. I just didn’t see it coming, that’s all. So we vacuum a lot. And sweep. And enjoy lots of hugs and kisses from a darling little girl.
Do you ever feel like your house is being overtaken by paper? I do, especially with children in school. I think that lots of homes have paper dumping spots, and ours has been no different. Our dumping spot is the end of the kitchen counter, close to the telephone. A month ago I set a goal for our dumping spot: not a single paper on the counter. I am happy to say that for one month I have gone to bed every night with a completely clean kitchen counter. Every piece is shredded, thrown away, filed away. I think I can claim it as a habit now, and it’s my first real habit of the year. Small and simple, to be sure, but it contributes to cleanliness and order. Tonight I am celebrating zero papers on my counter.
One last note on another habit. I’m trying to regain the habit of thoughtfulness. On Valentine’s day I called a couple who live in Gig Harbor, Washington. I taught the husband while I was a missionary fifteen years ago and have kept in touch with them. I’d been feeling like I should call them. I learned that he had another stroke a few weeks ago, and that his wife is also struggling with her health. We had a wonderful visit and I hung up the phone feeling so good. I called my husband and said, “You know how I’m tempted all the time when the house is a mess and life feels upside down to just declare the day or the week a total waste? Well, I just called Wes and Margot and it was the right thing to do. The whole week is ok, no matter what else happens.” I need to do things like that more often.
And so life goes on, each day providing opportunities both unique and routine. I have high hopes for the coming week and all it holds. I’ve miles to go, but I’m working at it.