Thursday, January 26, 2012

that post i've been meaning to get to

i have always found immense comfort in a good list. i need a plan of action, and clear goals, especially during times of emotional vulnerability. there is something so bracing and reassuring about having a list that i can check things off of - proof that i am moving forward. and i love planning and discussing lists even more than i love making them. it's almost sick how much i love it.

i meant to write this post at the start of the month, but then life got in the way (though i love lists so very much, i realize that living in the moment and rolling with life's punches is antithetical to staying on the list. but i accept the paradox that while i need lists to feel like i'm making progress, that progress happens in ways i rarely thought to put on my list). so here it is almost february and i am only now starting to think about my lists/plan/goals for the year.
last summer while tony was deployed i got into a rhythm that was really working for me. i figured out a schedule that worked for haven and i, and i got the house cleaned and organized. i knew what i needed to do each day, week, and month to keep everything running smoothly. it felt really good, and a clear home somehow led to a clear head, and i wrote glowingly optimistic blogs about it.
since tony came home i have really struggled to keep any sort of housekeeping routine, and the house has suffered and the family has suffered. it starts because i want to spend time with tony rather than cleaning (especially when he works nights and our time together is brief and sleepy). but the more i put off the cleaning the more stressful it is to live in a dirty house and the less quality our time together becomes. when he was deployed, i would clean for an hour or so when haven went to sleep at night, and then the rest of the evening was mine for creative projects. now when haven goes to bed i try to spend some time with tony before he leaves for work, and then rush to get at least a few dishes clean for the next day before it's time for bed. cleaning during the day is pretty much a no-go. i can get the laundry done, and maybe unload the dishwasher, but anything beyond that requires more of my time and focus than haven will stand for. it's also pretty useless to clean when a toddler is awake. i vacuumed this morning, and by lunch the floor looked like it had before vacuuming. demotivating, to say the least.

i feel like as soon as i get a grasp on one area of life, i start losing everything else through the cracks. if i'm being an attentive mom or wife, the house goes to shit. if i'm keeping the house livable i'm losing myself because i have no time for creativity or even a shower without haven attached to me. not to mention that it all feels ten times more chaotic when i'm dealing with emotional blows, like i have been of late. the bottom line is that i am in desperate need of a firm schedule and to-do list.

over the summer when we were a family of two, my to-do list only needed what tasks i had for the day. but i think as a family of three the list needs an actual time schedule for when each task will be accomplished. i know that i waste oodles of time during the day, and working within a time schedule will help me find out where i'm wasting the time and help stay on that maybe, just maybe, by the end of the day i will have 30 or 40 minutes to spend with myself. i think i also need to get back on a long-term schedule for housework. it's not enough to have a daily list of what most desperately has to be cleaned to avoid contracting diseases. i need to have a rotation for all the things that only need to be cleaned once every week or two and get forgotten when i'm just trying to catch up the dishes so we can eat dinner. over the summer i had that schedule figured out but, again, it's different now with three. things get dirty one third quicker, roughly, and i need a new chore rotation.

a friend of tony's stopped by the other day, and it was embarrassing. i've been wanting to invite a neighbor over for a play date but there is no way that could happen right now. i hate that. i want a home that is always ready and welcoming to guests, rather than one that makes them and me uncomfortable. i think that's as close to a new year's resolution as i've got this year. god willing it won't take me the entire year to get there.

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