Without even knowing you, I bet that a lot of your problems could be handled by putting systems into place.
Let me explain. Let’s say that your house is in chaos. The grandparents are coming to visit; you spend 3 days cleaning and getting ready. You yell at your spouse and children to help you. You are completely exhausted when the grandparents finally arrive and cannot wait for them to leave. The same thing would happen if you had anyone over for dinner, or a meeting or whatever.
Looking at your kitchen piled with dishes, your floor and couch piled with laundry, and toys spilling onto every available surface is an overwhelming source of stress for you.
You look to your spouse and children to help. After all, it’s not all your stuff sitting out. It’s only fair that everyone should pitch in. All that housework shouldn’t fall to one person. You’re not the slave of the family.
Unfortunately, your spouse and children look at you like you are speaking a different language when you ask/tell them to do the dishes, take out the trash, or clean up their rooms. So, you yell and scream. This adds to your stress, and combined with everything else, you find yourself falling into depression. Your sex life is non-existent; your relationships are exhausting, your physical and mental health are seriously affected, and some days you wish you could get on the next Harley heading west.
You might think the best thing to do is to move to a bigger house, go to a sex therapist, increase your alcohol consumption, and/or get a divorce. I have a better idea. Let’s start taking care of YOU, and that means also taking care of your house and your schedule. When things have gotten seriously difficult, it’s hard to believe that developing systems and habits will do anything at all other than add one more thing to your massive to-do list, and make you feel worse. But having a system in place to handle all the things that are falling apart will change your life.
Once you develop one system and get the hang of it, it can almost go on automatic pilot. Then you can add another system, and create an ecosystem that all works together and can almost run itself! I guarantee you it will be much easier (exponentially so!) than what you are doing now.
Let’s change “system” to “planned acts of kindness (PAK)”. “System” sounds like drudgery, and that’s not what I mean at all. PAK is a string of routines and habits that takes care of you and your house. Each habit or act of kindness builds on the one before it and soon it all works together. It is better if you don’t depend on the assistance of others to develop your PAK. If you are the only person who is going to take care of things, you will keep it simple.
After watching you, the other members of your household will start to follow suit. Let’s not waste your energy trying to motivate the troops! Put the PAK in place, keep up with your habits, and the troops will come around. This all sounds sort of boring, BUT, if you are angry at your family it may be your house that is causing you stress. So, it’s worth it to spend some time getting your house in better shape.
Where to start? I’ll follow this post with others, but to get you started, go to your kitchen and spend 10 to 15 minutes getting it in shape. It will not be perfect. It will not be done. It will not look like a picture from Better Homes and Gardens. That is just fine.
Perfectionism has been causing you stress too. Doing anything is good. We are going to have to get over having everything be perfect. Start allowing your mindset to change. You are not a slave when you do housework. You are taking care of yourself and honoring your own life. You have not “failed” when everything is not “done”. As Flylady.com says, “Progress, not perfection.” I am proud of you. Change is not easy. Changing how you take care of your house is going to change your life.