Summer seems to be the busiest time of the year for me, while it is also the least busiest time of the year for me. Don’t ask me how that happens, but it in fact happens. I walk this tight rope of having planned activities for Jackson and me, for the three of us, for the visitors that inevitably come, and staying relaxed with an open schedule for fun, spontaneous things too. If that sounds hard and a bit dramatic, it is because it is hard and a bit dramatic. It seems to leave a messier house, a less stocked fridge, and not enough time to write. Certainly not enough time to write.
So here I am, taking an afternoon to get things off my chest and my mind that seem to creep in around this time of the summer. My mother was here for a month, and while we enjoyed having her, it sometimes hinders my plans for what I feel like I NEED to get done. She seriously keeps my house clean, all my laundry done, and can easily entertain Jackson for hours, but it is the feeling of always having to entertain someone that inevitably takes a toll on you, whether or not the feeling is substantiated. I start to question if she is enjoying her time, if I should be doing more or less with her, that sort of thing. This probably happens for most people who have visitors any time of the year, but especially around more stressful times like the holidays. Trying to be a good host, but also trying to make time for yourself is hard to do and it weighs on you from time-to-time. Learning how to straddle this line and how to enjoy your visitors is hard for me, but I am always working on it. And now that my mom and my visitors (my best friend Rachel and her daughter, Madison, came for a week) are back in Kansas I miss them all like crazy. It’s an interesting dichotomy.
This got me thinking about my life in general, and how much I spend trying to do for others, versus how much I do for myself. I started thinking about how I love to write, particularly blogging, but how I always seem to put it last in my to-do list. I started thinking about how I have committed to this Burn routine, but how might it be affecting the lives of my family if I am grumpy come 7pm in the evening. I started thinking about how I love to read, but when I get wrapped up in a book and Jackson is starting his second hour of Minecraft, I start to feel guilty and stop to play Legos or cars with him, then become sidetracked and never get back to the book. I do these things and a million other every day and it sometimes leaves little time for me, and it sometimes leaves me with a lot of guilt. I think as parents we all do these sorts of things. We all make small decisions that add up to big time; and the balance is not easy there either.
So what are some things I need to be catching up on?
- Sleep: That is first. Always. Seems like it doesn’t matter when I go to bed, I am tired and can sleep more. Getting up at 5 am makes your day feel so productive, but by mid-week I sometimes feel like I am barely hanging on. So I have been trying to take small naps throughout the day lately. It doesn’t make me feel too bad, and I do wake up feeling refreshed and eager to get things done.
- Writing: That’s another one per the aforementioned “blogging” comment. I really do enjoy it, even if no one reads my blog. It helps me get my ideas sorted out and can actually be quite cathartic. But I always think, why do I need to devote time to that? Well, because it helps and is cathartic. Man, I need to write that on a wall somewhere and read it from time-to-time!
- Reading: I always have a summer list of books and I never finish them. I am too wrapped up in all that I should be doing when I am reading a book. Same goes for television. I wish I could watch t.v. more! Isn’t that weird to say. I really do wish I could just veg out in front of Netflix everyday and enjoy a new series, or I dunno, maybe finish a series that I started four years ago, ahem, “Sons of Anarchy”, but I just can’t commit that kind of time or I feel selfish and unproductive.
- Prepping meals: This is a tough one because I sort of do it, but I get bored with the same old stuff and don’t devote the time to new recipes, so I just grill chicken and veggies for the week. I know this is an important start in good nutrition, but damn it, I can’t get it together for the life of me.
- Cleaning and organizing my house: This falls into the “necessary evil” category. I have to do some kind of cleaning everyday just to keep my house efficient and not smelling like wet dog. How does it smell like wet dog when my dog doesn’t ever get wet?! Anyway, in the back of my mind I am always thinking things like, “My craft closet needs cleaned out” or “I don’t even want to start to go through Jackson’s clothes” but I have to do it. I just need to remember to do it when the urge hits! Strike while the iron is hot, or the iron will fall on my face and leave a mark. Probably quite literally if I ever get to cleaning out my laundry room pantry.
- Relationships: Another tough one. How the hell am I supposed to foster that new friendship, have a nice date night with my husband, plan a girl’s movie night, or have a backyard campout with my boys if I am so wrapped up worrying about how dirty my closets are or how behind I am on my summer reading list? You see the trouble here?!
So, here I am. Whining to you all, instead of cleaning out my closets or finishing the book I checked out from the library in June. What are we all to do?!
I wish it were that easy, to just snap my fingers and have a plan, but in reality we all have to look at our growing lists of responsibility and decide what is important and what is not. Do I just close my closet door and turn on the new series “GLOW” or do I just get it done so that it doesn’t bother me for a bit? Do I write the blog and let Jackson play the extra hour of Minecraft? Do I mop my dining room or do I take an hour nap? I think I need to be more intentional with my decisions, so I don’t feel so bad about them when I make them. Maybe that is the answer, maybe it isn’t, but I won’t know until I try. None of us will, right?
So listen, I am not sure what this guilt about dirty closets is all about, but I suspect I am not the only one that has it, and I suspect we are all looking for some kind of answer to something that can make it go away. Not just dirty closet guilt, all the different kinds we carry around as parents and partners, as employees, and sons and daughters, and friends. I’m not sure if there is an easy answer or a magic solution to it. But we can all try a bit each day to elevate some of it. I think maybe it starts with recognizing that you have it. Sort of like being at an AA meeting. Recognize that you have guilt about (insert guilt) and then work on a 12-step plan to fix it? Yeah? I’ll start.
Me: My name is Missy and I have a dirty closet guilt problem.
You all: Hi Missy! You are not alone.
Me: Thanks. I plan on not thinking about my closet today. I will shut the door and do what makes me happy.
You All: Ohhhh, I don’t know about that Missy.
Me: SHUT IT! I don’t need your lip!
You All: Wow, okay. This isn’t how this is supposed to work. I thought maybe we could be friends, but…
Me: I quit this shit! Later Suckas!
Well that escalated quickly. I guess I will see you guys later. I’m gonna go close my closet and watch GLOW! You should do the same!