Friday, May 20, 2011

Accepting My Limitations

I've been working on this 31 Days to Clean Challenge and have to confess I've failed massively this week at the challenges.  But I'm trying to be okay with that.  I was pretty busy this week.  I was gone from home a lot and when I was at home a lot of other things needed my attention.  

My almost one year old is quite adventurous.  I've spent numerous hours this week keeping him out of trouble.  Even with all of that supervision he managed to get a bump on his head that I'm glad his newly cut bangs cover. That means I have fewer explanations to make.  :)   Brother Blessing is going to be the one that sends us to the ER for the first time - I just know it..  His wonderfully fun (well, most of the time) curiosity makes even things like doing the dishes difficult.  He either is trying to get into the dishwasher and pull things out.  Or he is trying to get into something else that means stopping what I'm doing and rescuing him (he is obsessed with his sister's crayons).  I'm really trying to focus on the fact that he is only going to be this little for so long.  Some days I'm successful at that and other days I freely admit my frustration levels are high.

Brother Blessing also hasn't been sleeping well this week which means Mommy isn't sleeping well.  I don't function very well when I am sleep deprived.  I struggle with this.  It zaps my patience and energy which leads to me feeling guilty because of something I've said or done or not done.  One of the chapters in the book this week talked about allowing yourself the freedom to do something that gets you excited.  This is a way to help you find the energy to do everything.  I realized how true this is.  I love to do crafts - mostly sewing, but I've dabbled in a lot of different crafty arenas.  I really like to make gifts for people.  This week I've been working on a gift for Sister Blessing's wonderful preschool teacher for the end of the year.  I've also been working on a birthday shirt for Brother Blessing to wear at his party next weekend.  And I realized how much energy I had after letting my creative juices flow.  I always forget this between projects and get mired down in the nitty gritty of life.  I feel guilty doing crafts when my house is a mess.  But I think I'm going to have to remember to allow myself time to create in order to have the energy and patience to deal with the rest of my life. 

So I'm giving myself grace for this week.  And maybe next week, too, since we'll be getting ready for Brother Blessing's party.  ;)  But I'm just going to jump back in and do what I can.  I already can tell a difference with what I have done.  There are two goals I've thought about this week in relation to this challenge:
  1. Having a "clean enough" house to be more deliberate in inviting friends over to spend time enjoying each others' company.
  2. Having a "clean enough" house that I don't feel guilty when I want to spend time in my creative outlets.
I'm going to continue to try to do the challenges.  I'm just not going to worry about doing it in a certain time frame.  Even if my own challenge lasts longer than 31 days - that's okay.  All of the things I'm doing are helping me feel better about my home and helping me put things into the right perspective.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Perfectionism - My own worst enemy

My big confession for the week - I haven't done all of the challenges.  And it bugs me and my perfectionist streak.  It's not even that I've been lazy.  I have accomplished more this week than I have in months in getting the house ready for friends to come over.  It's just that there are not enough hours in the day and I don't really have eyes in the back of my head to keep an eye on Brother Blessing's adventures.  Though, I think Sister Blessing wonders if I do have eyes in the back of my head.  :)

I've been trying to keep a to do list like one of the challenges suggested.  I do better when I have a list.  It keeps my ADD in check.  However, I tend to overwhelm myself by the size of the list.  I like the suggestion of only putting six items on the list for the next day.  I really tried to keep it to six.
This is where my perfectionism really kicked in.  First of all, I often had trouble figuring out what six things needed to be on the list...and what order they should be in...What if I forgot something important?  Did it matter if I didn't do them in order?  You know...silly things like that.  And there were days I didn't finish my list.  Shocking, I know!  
I felt like I was failing at the challenge when I didn't finish all the tasks from the book or on my list.  And then I tried to remind myself that a lot of times I didn't finish because I either had other things that had to get done or I had been overly ambitious with my list.  Life happens and that's okay.  The whole purpose of this challenge is not to have a perfect house, but to help me deal with my attitudes about having a clean house.  And I've been reminded how much my perfectionism gets in the way.  I can't control everything that happens especially with two little ones running around the house.  But God is in control and even when I can't see exactly what He is doing, I have to trust in Him and rest in His peace.

Friday, May 6, 2011

31 Days to Clean Challenge: Day 4 and Day 5

I have to admit the accountability of the challenge is keeping me pretty motivated.  I'm  hoping that this newly found motivation will stay with me once the challenge is finished.  In my my mind, I know it is easier to keep up with the house if I do  a little bit at a time and stay on top of it.  In reality, I let too many excuses keep me from doing it.  Sure, I have little kids and that makes it difficult.  But if I'm honest with myself, I waste a lot of time.  Time that I could be using to be productive.  And if I had a cleaner, more organized house I would have more time to also spend on fun things for myself. Like playing with my kids, sewing, reading, etc.

Day 4 was about having a place you can put your feet up - a place that can be lived in.  Believe me - this house can be lived in. And if you could see it right now - it looks more than lived in.   I'll never be accused of having a show home.  :)  But I definitely could do better about making it more comfortable and less cluttered for my family.  One challenge was to invite someone over.  That was already taken care of as we are having some friends over next weekend for a Mexican food potluck Yum...My mouth is already watering just thinking about it.
The other challenge for Day 4 was to clean your microwave and your oven.  The microwave was easy.  I still haven't done the oven.  I have a self cleaning oven and the fumes/smell are awful.  We're talking headache causing, nausea inducing...Okay, maybe I'm being a little melodramatic, but it's still really bad.  And I'm concerned about my kids being here while I do it.  However, I also don't feel comfortable leaving the oven unattended for a long period of time.  So I'm still trying to figure that one out.  

Day 5 is about priorities.  I've been thinking about them, but still need to put them down on paper.  That will probably have to wait until the little blessings go to bed.  Sister Blessing thinks seeing me with a pen and paper means it's drawing time.  Brother Blessing just wants to try to eat the pen or the paper or both.  :)

The Martha challenge for Day 5 is to clean the blinds, window treatments and the inside of the windows in your kitchen.  I just finished the blinds.  Sister Blessing helped me.  I really want to encourage her desire to help.  I really don't want to pass down my bad housekeeping habits to her.  I have enough other bad habits she will probably inherit (or already has :) ) that I feel like I need to nurture her desired to be a helper even if it means it takes longer for me.  Once Brother Blessing has decided he is ready to play again instead of being snuggled with we will clean the windows.  I need to do some laundry anyway so I'll just toss the window treatments in with the rest of the load.

I'm glad we have a weekend off from the challenge.  However, I'll be cleaning up a storm anyway.  My house is a disaster with a capital "D".  And we only have one week until "company" comes over.  I put company in quotes because the people coming over are more like family than company.  And I refuse any housework except for what is absolutely necessary on Mother's Day! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

31 Days to Clean Challenge: Day 3

I have to confess it was a little harder to find the motivation for today.  I've been in a boot brace for a week.  I'm almost to the end of my time in it, but for some reason today I was just frustrated with it.  I also had a lot of errands to run this morning.  I'm also trying to work on Mother's Day gifts from Sister Blessing to her grandmothers...Yeah, I know it's kind of last minute...but I'm a major procrastinator (should be my middle name).  And honestly, I've been so busy, the whole thing kind of snuck up on me.  So by the time I got home at lunch, I really didn't feel like doing anything.

I really want to stick with this challenge, however.  So I forced myself to do it and found it really didn't take that long.  The Martha challenge for today was to clean the tops of fridge and cabinets in your kitchen.  And clean the outside of the cabinets/drawers.  I'll confess I didn't do the top of the cabinets just because I couldn't reach them with a stool.  Yes, I am that short!   But I managed to do the rest - even with Sister and Brother Blessing trying to "help".  

The chapter also talked about how we can give our homes life.  I was very convicted by the ten suggestions.  In fact, I was overwhelmed and felt very lacking...Then the leader of the challenge reminded us we can't do it all and to just focus on one thing for now.  I really want to focus on "Offering life-giving and grace-filled words to my husband and children".   My patience and understanding are not what they should be.   I could give a bunch of reasons why - but they are just excuses and I need to learn to control my reactions better.

I still have the Mary challenge left for the day, but I need to get the little blessings and myself ready for church tonight.  Fortunately, they are serving dinner at church this evening so I don't have to worry about that.  I'm always happy for a day I don't have to cook!

Monday, May 2, 2011

31 Days to Clean Challenge: Day 1 and Day 2

Today is Day 1 of the 31 Days to Clean Challenge.  However, since I know I won’t have much time tomorrow, I decided to go ahead and do Day 2 as well.  The first day’s Mary Challenge asks you to think about why you want a clean house and to come up with something like a mission statement.   I wanted to keep it short and simple so this is what I came up with…

Why I Clean
  • ·         To provide a comfortable and relaxing home for my family.
  • ·         To reduce the stress of not being able to find the things we need and the times we are wasteful because of it.
  • ·         To be ready and able to have friends over at a moment’s notice without going into a panic

Day 2 was more work.  The Martha challenge was to clean out the fridge and freezer.  I tossed a bunch of stuff and wiped down the inside and outside of everything.  All the while chasing after Brother Blessing.  I really need some new ideas to keep him occupied while I get things done.  He’s getting too big for the exersaucer.  However, even when gated in he gets into anything and everything.  I know people always say the housework can wait…Believe me I have no problem putting off the housework.  (Hence, the whole reason I signed up for the challenge).  The problem is that the bare minimum needs to be done and a very adventurous eleven month old makes getting anything done very difficult.  Any ideas on how to keep him occupied?  Sister Blessing was already pretty good at entertaining herself at this age.  So I’m out of ideas.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sneak Peak

Here is a sneak peek of a project I finished tonight and future blog post (ignore Sister Blessing's dress in the background).  It turned out pretty cute.  However, it is smaller than I would have liked and I put the snap in the wrong place.  :(  It will work for now - especially if I find a smaller wallet.  It wasn't too hard to make, so I may try it again in a bigger size.  Others had suggested that, but I had some trouble resizing the pattern initially.