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.

Jennifer

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