This blog is written for my stress management class. All summer (we are a month into it with six weeks to go) has been rough on me. I'd had a terrible pain in my mouth and my dental insurance, maxed out last year, rolled over on 1 July. I spent much of June stoned on something that made me itch but at least my face wasn't hurting. I had decided to declutter my house because that is what I, a mother of a large family, needed most to do. What I didn't realize was that when one's mind is either oblivious or one's body is in pain, one should not even bother cooking dinner, much less setting about a grandiose plan to clean it.
I took pictures of my bedroom, bathroom and linen closet but they are an embarrassment. I cannot even have sex in my bedroom without thinking, "I need to put those board games away. Why didn't he put his dirty socks in the laundry? What is a hanger doing on my dresser? I need to clean out the dressers. I think I hid chocolate in one of the dressers but the kids probably took it. Mr. Coffee hasn't bought me chocolate in a while. . . I need to get some more."
Meanwhile my husband is saying, "Scream! Let it all out! Damn you're hot!"
I think about yelling, "We need to pick up snacks for the baseball game for the triplets at tomorrows' 9:AM game!" a la Sally Field. "Baby, do-me-do-me-do-me a trip to the store to get it now-now-now! Let's take JUICE BOXES AND BROWNIES! AND DULCE DELECHE ICE CREAM! YESSSSSSSS." But I don't say that and I shut my eyes and. . . try for something less genuine but more stimulating.
It doesn't help that my husband is redoing the flooring in the house and that we put a lot of things in here that I'd never dream about putting in here.
I got my mouth operated on earlier this week. I had an extraction and a root canal. In case anyone in Blogland is thinking I am loosing teeth because I had so many children, that is not true. My dad had had two tooth extractions at my age (38) and a root canal and we had our Wisdom teeth yanked at the same ages. My dad did not carry any babies. Tooth loss is a case of genetics and how well you cared for your teeth. I am pretty fortunate with both but we had baby molars pulled. I was on painkillers (and wrote to my prof for the class while on them-- lovely!) and am finally off them.
I used to hate dentists. Hygienists who talk a lot ruin it for me and my last made me change dentists. Today my hygienist came in post operation and to do the cleaning and said, "Listen, I'm not a talker. I will get to work on your mouth and talk for the last ten minutes and tell you what you need to improve on if you need to improve on anything." I could have kissed her but asked for a strand of her hair so I could clone her, instead. She found that funny and I was glad that she liked my little joke. My dentist looks like Adonis in scrubs. I did not know that a dentist could be good looking-- I had thought that the people too tall to be trolls who lived under bridges went to dental school. I met him last year when a tooth exploded. My old dentists' office manager called it a "chipped tooth--" after calling everyone in the phone book, my not-yet-new dentist said he couldn't enjoy his weekend if he didn't see me at his lunch break and I blushed and made a few Freudian slips when he gave me his direct home number in case I had an allergic reaction to some antibiotics. I looked very silly but the receptionist said he has that affect on females quite a bit. Today I did not make an ass out of myself which was nice.
Back to cleaning my house. I just found a website with some great tips. http://zenhabits.net/2007/01/zen-mind-how-to-declutter/ I'm going to try to figure out how to do this. My house is small for so many people, but we can make this work. I need space for my art supplies and that of my children, we need places for our books and places to put shoes. What is the hardest thing about having a big family besides fielding silly questions about what the hardest thing is about having a large family? Finding places for the shoes!
They have a place there called Fly Lady. I do not like her, personally. When trying to organize a few years ago I started out with my inbox. She cluttered it with reminders and I was like, "I have a life! First thing should be, 'Getcher arse off the computer and clean!'" She wasn't like that. It's OK though-- some people need that and it's like having a friend to harangue you.
It's hard to declutter when children clutter back up-- even 18 year old children. She gets nasty with me when I tell her that her shirt is on inside out so asking her to pick up her clothes is about as pleasant, but she's great in other ways. I just tell her that we are all cleaning up and I assign my four year old to her. My four year old, when seeing that everyone is cleaning, starts singing, "Clean-up! Clean-up! Everybody does their share! Sunshine is in the air! Cause everybody does their share!" Ms. 18 may be sour at moments but she laughs at her little sister and sings with her.
I will get the kitchen floor cleaned and my triplets* come in and tromp though. I have to remind myself that it's not about success and having everything clean at once but having done it, but I also hand them a rag. They have to help.
*I don't have genetic triplets-- they are three kids born withing 100 weeks of each other. They look like they are triplets although I try to not dress them alike. By making their clothes different it only makes their faces look more alike.