I have this great friend that pops in every now and again, unexpectedly. I am REALLY glad she does this, and I tell her so. She has 2 school/ preschool aged kids, but I have younger kiddos and the older ones we homeschool. Its a bit of a production to plan a day out of the house to visit a friend. Its the kind of thing I tend to put off. Especially in winter. I readily admit I become a bit of a hermit in the winter and kind of hibernate with the kids. So, here she is at my door today, as she has done periodically for a long time.
Now, prior to today, for the past months since I have had my son, (except for at the very beginning when things were still well maintained from my "denesting" when I was pregnant), she inevitably pops by and my house is a WRECK. There are dishes piled in the sink (even though I'm suppossedly "flying" and according to the Flylady system my kitchen sink is suppossed to be a virtual shrine of cleanliness), there are cheerios ground into the carpet (even though we don't eat outside the kitchen), there are toys strewn EVERYWHERE, and the contents of whatever big purge and organize project I am working on are all strewn about whatever room it is (sometimes multiple rooms). Now, I am the kind of person that when a friend shows up at the door, then you invite them in. The relationship and the person is more important and not doing a good job keeping up with the housework is NOT a good enough reason to me to turn someone away whom I very much want to see. The embarassment that comes with it is simply fuel to my fire to make a change. So, in she comes, I laugh off the mess, kick the toys out of her way, clear a spot on the table with all the breakfast dishes and spilled oatmeal still on it, spray and wipe it all off and welcome her to have a seat. I usually sweep around her feet just to get the grody stuff off the floor in the kitchen, but aside from that we sit and have our chat.
Yet, here's the thing: 9 times out of 10, when I talk on the phone to my friends, at the beginning of the call when you both are like "Hi, how are you?" and then you say "What are you doing?"...that part? Well, 9 times out of 10, my answer is (or has been) the past months "I'm cleaning...or "I'm organizing this...." etc. etc. In fact, my cousin has pretty much stopped asking me what I'm doing, though she will ask if I have time to talk. I don't pick up the phone at all if I'm doing school with the girls, so I think she figures if I answer the phone and 'm doing something OTHER than cleaning or organizing, then I will just tell her so! The difficult part of going through this process of downsizing is that when you are in charge of many kiddos and especially if you have other time-consuming responsibilities (like homeschooling), in order to devote time to the project, (cleaning this corner of the room; reclaiming this desk space; clearing out this closet, etc) it just takes time away from your normal everyday household tasks. I mean, where else do you find the time you need? And, in a home with lots of kiddos in it, sometimes this translates to another part of the house getting utterly TRASHED while your attention is diverted and the little ones take full advantage of it. Do you all feel this way? Its like you can't take a step forward in one area of the house without falling two steps back in another way!
Its funny how big projects/ life changes like this work. Its like you feel like you are making NO progress, but you keep plodding away anyways. One day its like you woke up and POOF -- you're there. Atleast, that's how it has been for me. Because, I have felt for so long that this friend either must think I'm lying to her about the amount of work I actually do or lying to MYSELF about all that I'm accomplishing.... or just a chronic failure when it comes to housekeeping in general. So, today she popped by again for the first time in several weeks. Things weren't HORRENDOUS last time she stopped by about five or six weeks ago, but still weren't great. But, today I was so happy. Because, there were NOT cheerios ground into the carpet, or my latest organizing project all over the floor, or toys strewn about. There WERE a few dishes in the sink. There were two large bags of items waiting in my kitchen to be moved tomorrow to the porch for the Veterans of America pick up on their truck. (For free!!! Of any amount! Call them!) For the first time since my son was born I was able to have an unexpected visitor over without one shred of embarrasment.
So, you ask. Why do I bring all this up? Well, to tell you THIS:
You are not alone.
I don't want to give you the wrong impression. You can't ever really have a true and accurate measure of someone until you walk around in their shoes for a while. And, that doesn't happen. People, especially woman, have this tendancy to go "WOW. Now SHE has it all together! I wish I could have it together like her. So, what's wrong with me?" But, the fact of the matter is that what you don't know might surprise you... We often hear about people's accomplishments without hearing the tale that goes with it. There's always a story. More often than not, it will surprise you to hear it told.
So go easy on yourself. A picture doesn't say a thousand words. Or rather, sometimes it leaves a few thousand out. Even the best of us have bad days, or weeks, or months. Mine happened just like anyone else's, and they'll happen again. I HAVE learned some things in the process, though. My reasons for all those embarrasing visits by my friend are probably going to take their own post! But, the point is, they happened and I still lived to tell the tale. You will too!!