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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A plea for help

How in the world can it possibly be that I have no schedule to follow, no designated appointments, no job to report to and still not manage to get anything done around this house of mine? If I myself don't understand this phenomenon, I can only imagine what others are saying about me. It's even as if things are going from bad to worse, which would be perfectly okay if it was the kind of "it's got to get worse before it gets better" type situation. Ours is only worse and worse.
Some days I'm just on fire to roll up my theoretical sleeves and tie back my theoretical hair and jump in both feet to accomplish some huge task (Lord knows there are plenty of them that need doing around here). Organizing the craft room was one such task, and so far it is holding steady, but there are so many more! I want to take advantage of this "time off" from both school and work to get my house in order so that when I am working 12 hour shifts 3 or 4 days a week, I'll be able to come home after a long day's work and feel at peace vs completely discombobulated and disgusted. Anybody know what I mean? Although he rarely says anything, Mike must feel beyond disgusted when he mentions that "all the living room needs it to be vacuumed and it will be one more room that's "done" only to come home after working double shifts and find that not only has the living room NOT been vacuumed, but also someone has left their shoes in the floor, dishes on the TV trays in the living room, and laundry needing to be folded on the couch. It's almost as if we're all depressed around here. I know I look around at all that needs to be done and get overcome with a desire to take a nap or stick my nose in a book (or sit and blog).
The kids have assigned tasks/chores. I've tried everything to try to instill in them the concept of responsibility: charts of every size and shape, rewarding good behavior, taking away priveleges for noncompliance, etc. Several years back I went through the trouble of purchasing them individual magnetic dry-erase boards and painting wooden shapes on which I wrote their chores and hot glued magnets. The key was for them to start with all of the magnets on the "to do" side and move them to the "done" side once they were done. They had no more than 7 or 8 tasks, and they were simple: make your bed, brush your teeth, put away clean clothes, shoes in closet, etc. Simple enough? I certainly thought so. The boards wound up with magnets scattered everywhere but on the boards and the boards crushed underfoot amidst piles of clothes and junk on the floor. Call me a poor homemaker and mom, but this is my life! The kids look around at the rest of the house that has "stuff" stacked EVERYWHERE--mail, magazines, bags of recycling, clothes (waiting to be washed or folded or put away)--and scoff at me when I tell them to pick up their rooms. They even have the nerve to ask me I'm on them about cleaning their rooms when my room isn't clean. Really, if I'm supposed to be leading by example because actions speak louder than words and all of the other pearls of wisdom that have drifted my way throughout the course of my life, then they have a point! I explain that as children the only "jobs" they have are to do their best in school, take responsiblity for minor chores around the house, and keep their rooms clean. They're actually lucky that they don't have to earn a living, try and budget never enough money, pay bills, price match and bargain shop for groceries, plan menus that are healthy yet pleasing to the palate on a shoestring budget, tend to the physical, social and emotional needs of other family members, etc. They just don't get it.
I get tired of fighting the battle of chores with a certain someone who acts as if she's the most tortured individual on earth when asked to empty the dishwasher and drainboard. Who dirties up all of the dishes? I certainly don't do that myself. Yet, who washes up all of the dishes? I certainly do, and by hand because I don't trust my dishwasher which serves as nothing more than a glorified, two-tiered drainboard.
I know what all of the experts say: break large projects into smaller ones; make a list so you can feel a sense of accomplishment as you check things off; be consistent with discipline; establish a routine to keep things from spiraling out of control. My question is how do you get a foothold in a spiral that's already so far out of control that you cannot even fathom making it back on top?
Signed, Frustrated. Until next time...

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