Friday, January 4, 2008

I'm Trying Something New Today, And Be Warned...It's Deep

A while back I had an email from the mommykelly and she had invited me to join a carnival she hosts on Fridays called Flaunt It Fridays.

I responded to her that I would check it out, and I did. And then I never did a Flaunt It Friday post. Because I was a little intimidated. In reading the mommykelly's blog, I realized that she doesn't just blog, she writes.

And me? Well, I think we all know that the effort I put forth on this blog daily probably wouldn't count as writing in fine literary circles.

Rambling? Yes. Writing? No.

(Did I just sound like Ross Gellar or what?)


Anyway, the point is, I just didn't feel like my rambling and pecking away at the old blawg was really something that would be appropriate for a Flaunt It Friday post.

Yet, here I am. I'll give it a try. If for no other reason than maybe I will finally be able to quit staring at the mommykelly's email in my inbox and thinking 'I really should either just do it, or delete it.'

So let's get to the heart of the matter. The challenge for this weeks Flaunt It Friday is to reflect on one special dream I have for 2008.

Could they make Diet Coke taste like regular Coke?

I really feel that is a valid dream. Especially for me. Think of all the calories I would save. Imagine how skinny I would be if Coke had no calories.

Okay. Seriously. A real dream for 2008.

A dream of mine for 2008 would be Simplicity. To live simply. To live without chaos and clutter. Both the kind in my home and the kind in my heart.

I feel like so much of my time is wasted searching for things.

Whether it is searching through my house for some obscure thing that I know I just saw somewhere, or searching through my heart for some peace within myself.

I am spending to much time searching, and not enough time doing.

(Now is a good time to run if all of my deep, italicized, thoughts are scaring you. See you next week.)

The peace, the calm? They do elude me. There just seems to be nothing simple about life right now. The simplicity in daily living is no where to be found near my home.

I don't mean simplicity as in hanging my clothes out to dry and baking my own bread. I mean something along the lines of 'A place for everything, and everything in its place.' I walk around my home feeling every day as though I am the maid. In order to keep everything picked up, orderly and clean, I must do it. I know this is one of my primary jobs as a stay at home mom, but still, I can't help but feel resentful sometimes. I often feel as though I am the only who cares enough, who respects our home enough, to try and keep it orderly. And when I drop the ball in this area, and K picks up the slack, I feel guilty, instead of grateful.

Wouldn't it be so much simpler if everyone cared? If everyone in my home was just as responsible for their things as I have to be? I know it would do wonders for the chaos I feel inside.

I don't always know where someones brown belt is. But I would guess it's right where they left it, and that it is probably NOT on the hook where it should be hanging. I can't keep track of two Tae Kwon Do Belts that look exactly the same. If they are not in the appropriate child's cubby, then I don't know where they are. But I would guess they made their way down to the basement to be used as some kind of tie up for either a 'robber' or a 'mean bull.'

Wouldn't it be simpler if the Tae Kwon Do belts just stayed in the cubbies where they belong, and our actual toys were used for playing?

Wouldn't life be simpler if we weren't rushing around at the last minute looking for some specific item that should be 'there' but isn't?

Yet, I feel alone in this daily struggle. And sometimes, I just don't care. I get tired of being the only one to care. (Mature, right?) It's sad, but true.

I've hung the hook for the belt, and I've designated a cubby for each child. But have I failed in the simple teaching of how to respect ones things? How to simply put something away when you are done with it?

This leads to me wanting to simplify things within my heart, too. It's like a big huge cycle that keeps going around and I cannot seem stop it. My heart is angry. And choatic. And unsure if it should just trudge along as the designated finder of all things within our four walls. If I weren't always resentful and crabby and overwhelmed about home keeping, would I be able to simply and freely give of myself to my family?

Would I be able to sit down and read the requested 6 stories at bedtime, instead of only 2? Would I have time to play more than one game of Sorry with my kids, instead of sitting there wishing the game would end because 'I have things to do.' Would I be able to sit and just 'be'?

I feel like if things were simpler I would.

But I don't know. Maybe this is just how life is with 4 kids and a dog and activities and friends. I have never lived in a house with this many people before.

I don't regret it. I just don't understand it.

My heart tells me to just enjoy them, raise them, be with them while they are young. But my senses get overwhelmed at the chaos around me. My senses long for simplicity.

And yet, despite this struggle between the need for simplicity in my life, and the ongoing chaos that surrounds me, I know that I simply don't want to miss a minute.

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Family Adventure said...

Could a lot of this come from your own childhood as an only child? I bet things were calmer, simpler then? One child - and one child's possessions - were easier to keep track of than four.

The desire to appreciate and to be in the moment - I have that, too. And sometimes when I feel like I am the only one who tidies up, washes, cleans, shops, cooks...I wonder if it is them who are wrong for not caring so much...or if I am wrong for caring too much about those things. Maybe I shouldn't be so hung up on the house being 'just so' (not that it ever is - but I long for it to be). Maybe I could be more in the moment, too. Partake in the fun and the joy. Instead of planning the chores for assoonasthisstupidgameofunoisdone.

I'm rambling. But I get this post. I do. And as you can see, I still haven't found the solution.


Martha said...


I hear you, sister.

This is the stuff they write about in women's magazines. Unfortunately, "they've" never figured it out, have they?

I know I only have one kiddo, but in a small house? It's probably like having 4 in a house the size of yours. I feel like I'm always harping on my girl to pick up her stuff and put it where it belongs.

You know what, Lisa? Only a GOOD MOTHER would wonder about how quiet her chaotic heart. And mothers who are able to do a little somethin'-somethin' for themselves while ALL FOUR kids are in school ALL DAY will have a better chance of this.
Hang on. There's a light at the end of the tunnel for you...and things still won't be perfect, but it's HARD to give of yourself for such a long, consistent period of time. Pretty soon you'll have a little bit of time for yourself.

And you're a wonderful writer. Top notch, sister.


chrissy said...

I can relate! As a mom this simplicity is what I long for also! The frustration of the not knowing where things are, turns me into "grouchy mom" quickly! I cannot stand not being able to find things, especialy when they have a designated place!
This was an awesome post, keep it up!

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

AWESOME! Love the post. So much of it rings true to my life as well. You need to link this up to my post today!

I'm glad you wrote this. I never would have guessed. All the pictures of your home show a beautiful, tidy place. I'm glad you don't have it all together, really. I feel closer to you now... awww... :)

I feel the same way when I fall behind in my "job" and Jeff has to pick up the slack. Guilt... not thankful. He does it (usually) with a happy heart.

Truly loved the post. I can connect with it so much.

Becky said...

Awesome. Thanks for putting it in writing. You most definitely aren't the only one feeling the way you do and thinking the things you are. I too struggle with this. I'm learning to let things go and not worry about the dishes or laundry as much and enjoy the time I have with the people I love. Don't get me wrong, there is still frustration that I have to do it all, but it makes it easier to handle at the time.

Sister Honey Bunch said...

Preach it, sister. Preach it.

Dana said...

You totally nailed it. That's how I have been feeling. It's getting to that point of "I GIVE UP"!
This year instead of giving up I will do and teach my family to do it to. It's working, after all that time it's starting to work.
Thanks for the post.

ValleyGirl said...

Oh, Lisa, you both have this -- only child syndrome!! I've tried to teach my girls to pick up after themselves, but since it's only happened sporadically and since I'm not a good example AT ALL of what I'd like to see them doing, it doesn't surprise me that they don't clean up after themselves. (I believe you're a much better example!)

This is one area where I, too, am planning to tackle some changes this year. It will take up more of my time than I'm really very interested in giving, but a year from now, when I tell my kids to clean up their toys, they'll know exactly what's expected and know how to do it.

I've discovered that teaching kids to take responsibility around the house is a LOT of work -- definitely a lot more than just doing it all myself -- but I'm choosing to believe that it will be worth my efforts now in the future.

gordostyle said...

You're SO not alone in your feelings! I'm a SAHM too and sometimes it just makes me crabby for the lack of respect that mom will just do it. And although I only have one child, two dogs (soon to be three) husband alone is a BIG culpret (spelling?). Anyway, then I MAKE myself, remind myself...that I truly do love this's a once in a life time...and then it isn't so hard to pick stuff up for the millionth time today. Not that I don't crab along the way every once in awhile...I do, but for the most part...I just try and enjoy the ride.

Here's to simplicity in 2008!

Mary said...

How many times a week do I declare, "I am not the maid around here!". Several I'm sure. I want to enjoy my family but instead I'm grouchy and constantly yelling at everyone, Hubby included, to pick up their stuff. It's insane. There are only three people in my home and there is so much clutter that you would think at least seven people live there.

I think that a huge part of this must be the world we are living in though because blog after blog is mothers trying to simplify their lives. Mothers trying to control the chaos. Mothers that don't want to be the maid anymore. Mothers that want to stop yelling. You aren't the only one and it has helped me so much to learn that I am not the only one. I've been feeling like a failure because I can't keep the house and cook the meals and still find time to spend doing all the things that a mom should do with her family. We aren't playing games and taking bike rides and baking cookies. We're just struggling to have clean clothes for tomorrow. That's as far ahead as I can manage. Tomorrow. How sad.

Your post is wonderful. Please don't doubt your writing abilities. I'll be looking forward to your Friday posts.

Lynette said...

You remind me so much of myself; stay at home mom, mother to 3 plus a dog, obsessive about keeping things cleaned and organized. I love how you just let your thoughts flow. You write marvelously. Thank you for that because at times I feel like I am the only one that feels this way. Now I know I'm not alone.

themommykelly said...

Yes, Lisa, decidedly deep, but OH SO REAL!!!! This is a beautiful post that hits so close to home that you had me tearing over our shared frustrations and desire for simplicity! It seems to truly have hit home with your regular readers to! I'm so glad you decided to participate in Flaunt It Fridays! Thanks. Please, please, please, continue to participate!

Know that you are NOT alone. I've only got two little girls and a baby on the way, but I definitely feel like the maid, and that even with a nanny around to help out a few hours a week. I would sooooooo like to find a way to make life simpler, happier, less "cluttered" physically and emotionally.

Hubby and I often find ourselves asking "why can't we just be happy and enjoy life?" The fact that it's a pretty common question doesn't make it any easier to answer. But you definitely have got it right... we can desire simplicity, but it is equally important not to miss a minute of the action and chaos! Life is way too short and the moments too precious!

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

Oh, yes, my friend. You hit the nail RIGHT on the head. All your words speak right to my heart. And yet, I have no answer either. I think we're doing the best we can, and that has to be good enough.

P.S. Have you ever tried Coke Zero? My non-sweetener-loving husband swears by it. He's done blind taste tests and cannot tell it from real coke. And it's zero calories. Just FYI.

Stacie said...

ha, and you say you don't "write"--

I feel your pain and yet, I am only a mom of 2...

Pedaling said...

love the post and your writing ablility - you communicate, well.

sounds like you are normal and so are your kids and hubby.
I've certainly voiced my complaints to my family in these exact areas.

I'm married to a much more relaxed kind of guy than I am myself and he has taught me so much in regard to not getting so wigged out at life and its chaos.

your kids will get older and guess what, you will then find yourself in the car driving them around all day long.

It all works out - and believe me, I can tell you are a VERY good wife and mom!!

momof2 said...

Wow...I thought I was the only one who felt this way. Sometimes I just feel SO overwhelmed by it all, and how I have somehow become soley responsible for the entire functioning of EVERYONE in my household. I get so irritated that I have to tell my son to put his shoes on and brush his teeth EVERYTIME we leave the house (if I don't say it, he won't do it and then he will remind me that I haven't TOLD him to do it.) I get so aggrevated at my husband that I have to tell him that our baby daughter needs a coat and her bottle AND shoes EVERYTIME we go somewhere when he has assurred me that he will get her ready so I can finish getting ready with hopes of being on time for once (only to find her shoeless, coatless, and bottle-less when it is time to leave.) I'll look at my clean house, and then watch it dis-organize itself right before my eyes and I just want to give up even trying. And yet, I love all of these people, and I don't want to be irritated at them for any of these things, because ultimately these things are NOT what matters (and not what I want to be remembered for.) I try to remember what my grandmother always told me "Your housework will wait on you, your babies growing up won't; so focus on what's important and let the rest be" And although in the past I have found myself saying this in my head a million times (as I'm pulling my hair out looking at my shoeless, coatless, bottle-less daughter), my hope is that in 2008 I will actually ABIDE by it.

Holly said...

Good thoughts on the complex topic of simplicity--it isn't as simple as it might sound. Even as a mom of one I related to much of what you said, so I can only imagine what trying to get 3 other small people to care is like. No wise words here, except you are not alone and you ARE making a difference.

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

What a wonderful post. I so often miss the precious moments because I am taking care of things that could be simplified.

I will say, however, that my mom would really love to help you in your campaign to get Diet Coke to tast like real Coke. I think that is her life dream. :)

Col said...

Oh Lisa,
First, you are an amazing writer and an amazing person.

I can't tell you how to overcome your feelings but based on my own experiences and those of the amazing women on your blog; I think you are not alone; however, that doesn't make it any easiers or better, right? I have this book called Simple Abundance by Sara Ban Breathnach (I acutally think you might have it but maybe no?) Anyway, it has daily (365 passages)of wonderful advise for us woman of vairous topics but all surrounding "simplicity". There is one part (can't remember what entry/date) but she talks about this goddess that represents the home and domesticity and how loving the tasks that we MUST do and looking at it with a different perspective may help us have less regret towards all that cooking, cleaning, tiding up and such, actually enjoying those tasks. HMMMM...not sure about that but it is certainly worth a look! I'll look through it and get back to you on it. :)

As far as finding peace/simplicity in your heart; only you can do that. I don't have all the answers or perhaps any of them, but my rambling advise or what I am trying to work on is this:
balance, forgiveness, letting things go (releasing), being in the moment (that one is the hard one) and I am going to try and incorporate meditation and yoga into my 2008. I need to rest my mind and then I think I'll heart my heart more. Oh looks like I've already over-committed myself (once again)
Forget it; don't listen to me. hahahaha
I believe that any woman who has goals for herself and is working on STUFF is so on the right track and remember; enjoy the journey you will get where you want to be!
I love you Lisa and I just love your blog. Thank you for all the gifts it gives to me and I am sure all of the other women who read it.
~ Col

kari said...

This is a great post, Lisa. I can really relate to what you are saying. Sometimes I feel like I'm so busy organizing things (from closets, to toy boxes, to schedules...) or making grocery lists, or paying bills and balancing checkbooks, or picking up after my four kids, that I'm actually missing out on all the good stuff. It's really hard for me to just sit down and enjoy playing with my kids, when I see that huge pile of laundry waiting. And, I'm afraid I'm a bit of a control freak...I would rather clean something myself, than let the kids attempt to do it, when I know I would go right back behind them and do it "right" or "better". That's definately a goal for me this year, to try and give my kids more responsibilities and tell myself everything doesn't have to be perfect. Thanks for the post!

Annie said...

HELLO, Lisa, can you get out of my head? Just how I feel, only you put it SO much more eloquently than I ever could. You are an amazing writer, and you make it sound like an easy conversation. That's very hard to do, you know? I've even loved reading the comments on this post. Seems like most of us moms have this in common.

new diva on the blog said...

I believe that simplicity is the eternal quest, especially in the heart. I can so relate to what you say right now and am praying for some closure, simplicity,and just being in the moment in my own heart and home right now as well.

BTW you are a writer and a very good one at that.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Ummm...WOW! This was profound girl. I am so with you there. I want those same things. I often sense the resentment in my heart as always having to "be the one with the answers" around here. I sense times that I just want UNO to end so I can get them to bed...etc. I have had to also think about what I am feeling the nudge to go and do.

Thanks for the are NOT alone!