Wednesday, April 2, 2014

how to instantly change a bad day

Spring does it to me every time. The calendar turns and the seasonal switch activates something in my inner nester. I can’t avoid it, year after year it comes back. The season changes and I find myself feeling overwhelmed with stuff and completely consumed with a crazy urge to clean and purge. To be honest, I often think throwing a match towards the mess and running might be a more efficient way of dealing with it all. However, I know that’s not realistic or safe, or even legal. I think they call it arson. And it’s not the right solution anyway. 

So I start in on every corner, cleaning out a closet here, dumping the contents of drawers there. Unfortunately this makes me like a whirlwind and my family often takes the brunt of the fall out. 

This is what happened this weekend, as I cleaned out and made piles. I nearly buried my children. Not literally, but in my skewed mindset that said I had to finish everything yesternow. (Nester coined the word, it pretty much sums up how I feel about every single home improvement project I’ve ever undertaken.) I got so busy doing that I grew mean towards my family, and uncaring towards my kids. 

It’s a strange phenomenon I’ve noticed. Whenever I set out to clean one area of the house, the children make a disaster of another area. It causes me to feel like I’m fighting a losing battle, and I’m sure it’s at the heart of every mother’s desperate cry: can’t I just have the entire house clean, all at once, for at least one hour!?!

Naturally, this disaster making made me a little crazy. I threw myself down in my favorite coral barrel chair out of exhaustion and frustration. Really people, work with me here. Can’t you just sit still for a day? They can’t. I’ve tried to make them. I sat with resignation and did what any other desperate woman would do. I pulled up my blog reader. Because looking at other people’s snapshots of perfect is bound to make me feel better. (She says sarcastically.) However, I saw something that changed everything. It was an article that linked back to a website that was called, appropriately, Kids Were Here. The point is to capture the stuff of children, what they left behind, the messes they made, the evidence of them here with us. Which is really why most of us became parents anyway, we wanted them here in the first place. 

I scrolled through pages of beautiful images, not perfect-but beautiful stories of children. Markers on walls, dolls in the toilet, dogs wearing tutus, all pointing the beautiful mess that children leave. I looked up from the screen and caught it. Rainbow loom bands all over the coffee table, a line of Little People animals stretched across the hallway, books artistically piled on the floor-and I got it too. 




 Sometimes I have the wrong perspective. Okay, most of the time I have the wrong perspective. I see the evidence but I forget to look past that and at the ones who left it behind. It instantly changed my gripping to gratitude. Kids were here has become my phrase. I repeat it as I trip over Lego. I say it out loud as I step in gum. It brings my focus to what really matters. They are here and they are wonderful. And because kids were here I have beautiful messes all over the house. 




As it turns out, it also works out pretty good to say “the husband was here.” Just in case you ever trip over size 12 work boots.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gina, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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