Sunday, November 17, 2013

clutter makes me craaaazzzzyyy

I wrote this post last month and I don't know what happened or why it wasn't posted, but here it is. It's mostly one long gripe, and if you're not up for that at the moment I suggest you skip it. But since my mom prints these blog posts and I collect them in a giant binder as a sort of record of the childhood of my children, I'm going to post it. Cheers!


Last month, the night before Frances's 7th birthday, I sat down on the family room floor at 11pm with wrapping paper and the biggest stack of gifts I've seen since last christmas. Seriously - it looked like christmas. Gifts from us, from my dad, from Mitch's parents. Multiple from each. I had a moment of pure panic that the affluence in which we are raising our children, are raising this entire generation, is going to have dire consequences down the road. I think I have this same panic every birthday and christmas as I arm myself with scissors and tape and colorful paper. It makes me want to 1) give the kid only half of what I have in front of me, saving the other half for the next holiday, and 2) throw out or goodwill or recycle 80% of the toys we already own. I seriously need some new storage options.

Let me tell you: it was a bumpy start to the school year. Everyone came down with a hideous flu about 10 minutes after school started (here I am complaining though I promised I wouldn't in a previous post. So sorry.), and Frances missed 5 of the first 8 days of school. For me, of course, the flu hung on and hung on way past when the kids were well and doing laps around the first floor, and since all I could muster was the minimal in the way of meals and not much else but lying on the couch, my house went to shit. Major clutter like a tide rising that I can't dam. It just builds and builds, piles of paper creeping creeping growing across counters, heaps of used but still clean sweatshirts and fleeces and blankets and I don't know what all on chairs and sofas, baskets of clean laundry to fold, toys toys toys.

Clutter makes me anxious.

I used to have this magical and inexplicable relationship with a sitter wherein she whisked the kids away one afternoon a week, fed them dinner elsewhere, bathed them and put them in jammies, then texted me to tell me she was on her way so I could vacate the premises for their arrival. While they were gone I straightened the house. All of it. Then I breathed an enormous sigh of relief. I received her text, walked the dog, and didn't have to participate in bedtime. After she and the kids were upstairs and in bed I would sneak back in the house and down into the basement where I would finish the laundry. It was heaven.

But she went and got engaged, and now is busy planning a wedding (in which my kids are the flower girl and ring master, as Clark likes to call it). She doesn't have time for a sandwich much less kid occupying. And I don't have the quiet of an empty house to straighten. Turns out a solid straighten every 7 days is really what it takes to keep us from sinking under papers, random plastic things, loose change. I gotta figure something out. I apparently can't get the house organized when the kids are here, leaving debris behind them like a cyclone.

A couple of years ago someone handed me a book called The Highly Sensitive Person. It's a bad name for what the author is trying to get across, which is not emotional sensitivity (getting feelings easily hurt) but sensory sensitivity - to noise, crowds, commotion, chaos. I'd never before thought of myself as a sensitive person in this way, but turns out I am. It helped me to see myself differently and to respect my limitations a bit more.

All of this is to say that the clutter in my house is making me NUTSO. (This post is really just one big whine) I have got to get a handle on it. Next year the kids will both be in school full day and then I will have no excuses. I can't wait.

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