When I earlier asked, “What do I do all day?” I didn’t go deep enough at all. Because cleaning a bathroom and watching a TV show that lets me cry over my dear Millie… Those things are things that take time, and are recognizable areas of time, even if I don’t think they count as what is important in a day.
Weeh hehh hhell! Those things took time, but it was like putting largish rocks in a jar. Try this sometime:
I am asking you to fill up a glass jar. Fill it up. So what can you do? Put in largish rocks until you cannot put any more in. That would be full, right?
Now, I hand you small pebbles, and ask you to put those in until you cannot put in any more. They run in between the large rocks, and you have filled up the jar even more. You are full, right?
I give you sand. Then water. All these things fit into the jar to make it full. Really full. Completely full.
I noticed this analogy when I woke up today and saw that I have a pile of clean laundry right by my dresser. Only my clothes. Clothes that I could have simply put away. But I didn’t because, day by day, I have thrown them there (thinking I will get to them later that day, or tomorrow) as I rush to put a thought, and idea, or sentence down in my story. I see that trash is littering my room. MY ROOM!!! and it is made up of things like pieces of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup wrappers (these have been my standard breakfast for the last 4 days. Before that I had chosen dry fruit loops in a cup.). Also, the trash is hair bobs, and loads of paper that I have ripped off a notebook, and yarn that unsuccessfully served as a belt one time. And tags from new clothes that are now in that pile of clothes.
And this is just my room. I opened my door and looked out upon my kingdom. The kingdom that is my home. I see blankets skewering my sofa, as the cushions are half on/half off the sofa. I see homework pages littering the fireplace bench. The lights have been on for 15 days straight, and 3 different types of music are blaring. Also…Food. Is. Everywhere. Bowls of cereal left from the day before. or the week before, who knows? Leftovers on the tables and chairs. Anywhere kids can leave them to rush on to the next activity. Pets have not been fed for quite a while, I see, because they are reaching slowly up, looking to see if anyone will catch them, for the said food. THIS IS CHAOS!!!!
It looks a lot like my room.
Why? Why did I let it get like this? Where did my reason go? My mothers instinct to have kids do chores and homework and pick this up, and don’t fight, and get up on time and… it had all left. All reason has left.
Things like showering. And shaving (sporadically, but still). And putting on makeup/skin care. Or even things like taking the trash out and doing a load of laundry. But more of correcting the kids when they argue, or turning off their TV and other screens. Those are tiny bits of time that all add up. It’s called parenting.
I had become the kid. Ouch. I had found childhood, but I got to call it, “I am busy writing. Please do this for me, and I will be done after November.” And then I honestly, sincerely, expected it to get done. By children. Really.
Here’s the thing.
When I don’t do them, whether by choice or by, say, just not noticing that they are being overlooked because I’m writing a book that has me cooped up on my bed for hours a day, every day….. well, there seem to be an abundance of things that I had no idea I was in charge of. NO CLUE.
I mean, I get the showering thing. That’s on me. As it is my body. Ok so showering, shaving, upkeep of my body. And I haven’t, really well. (In fact, I have a part of my lip on the left hand side that is starting to bulge out because I am constantly chewing on it with my teeth when I get stuck on a particular bit of book. I also have chewed my nails daily. None of this is pretty. 🙂 ) But like I said, the other stuff is astounding to me that without me, it just doesn’t get done. I don’t know if I am disturbed and overwhelmed by this, or a little proud of myself.
I did do Thanksgiving dinner. And I created a clean spot (the kitchen) to do this. And I felt redeemed. Like knowing that I do remember how to be a parent. It started with me putting away the laptop for the entire day. No writing. Period. So all of that day was about maintaining a clean or at least clean-ish spot for us to eat, graze, and then eat again. And the maintaining looked like this:
Clean surface. Cook. Clean up spills.
Set table. Eat. Clean up dishes and spills.
Watch kids graze in the kitchen as I’m chatting with Grandpa and the Missionaries that dropped by.
Clean up space to serve pie. Clean up pie. Clean up surface.
Walk out and visit. Come back and see dirty dishes and food out.
Go to sleep.
All day long. Just that room. And at the end of it, I went to sleep upstairs, and husband and father-in-law did the last round of tidying up. WHEW!
Now I am not saying this place is filthy. Lets be clear on this. I’m saying that when I’m in the kitchen doing a load of dishes, I also am breaking up an argument about whose turn it is on the computer, and asking 2 kids to do their chores and homework, AND feeding the cat. But I would have counted this, before, as nothing. Or at the most, as doing dishes. Nay Nay! It’s just part of being a parent. I now know that these things would and did not get done while I chose out of that upkeep life for this month.
The month is almost over, and I will get back to the stuff that I didn’t know I do. But I think I will miss the choosing out of maintaining a bit. It’s fun to watch the pile of clean laundry in my bedroom grow. It is astounding how quick something grows. That laundry pile is crazy. I may post a pic. maybe not. Because I always thought that this: Wear something for a day, or an hour or an event. Pull it off and put it to the side of my dresser… was a woman thing. I now know that in addition to it being a woman thing (maybe), it is also a childhood thing.
I am just too busy being a child to pick up because I have a great idea for my book. I go to sleep in the clothes I wore that day. I wake up in them and sometimes I wear them. At sometime I get tired of the ew-ness that is me, and shower. Then I go through 5 outfits to get the one i want to wear. Then I throw it on the pile to the side of the dresser because I just have to write. Then….Rinse and Repeat as necessary. All month long.
I find this funny, and not disturbing because, after all, November will be over soon. Then I will allow myself to feel guilt and remorse that I have done this gross inadequacy of upkeep. But I will also notice that thinking that thought and having that guilt… Well that all takes a bit of time, too. I may have just found reckless abandon. 🙂