Remember the other day when we talked about cleaning the house and how much it sucks? I have to admit that life was putting me in a phenomenally crabby mood, and then the sun had to turn on full blast and trap me in the house for days with an angry toddler and thus life gave me an excellent chance to, shall we say, “review” some of the methods I use to cope around these here crazy parts. So I thought I’d share in case anyone else is also staring defeatedly at a pile of laundry the size of Texas.
1. No One Else is Going To Do It
Here is what happens to me. I wait and wait for “someone else” to take out the recycling, or to put away the stacks of laundry, or to pick up those little scraps of trash that ALWAYS accumulate on the floor next to the trash can. And guess what? No one else does that stuff. Ever. But when I come back to it and the trash isn’t emptied? I get really really mad.
It’s just easier and mentally healthier for me to say to myself “No one else is going to do it” and take the trash out myself. And then it’s done and there’s no getting mad about it!
2. Hide Stuff
You’re going to laugh, but seriously, when I get fed up with picking up my husbands flip flops from the middle of the living room floor where he leaves them every single blasted day? I hide them. Or I tell Eli to hide them, which is even better, because then I don’t even know where they are. This not only gives me a GREAT feeling of satisfaction, but it reminds certain people not to leave their mother grabbing flip flops on the living room floor every damn day of their lives.
3. Just Do it.
It turns out that when it comes to cleaning, I am not annoyed by mopping or vacuuming or washing windows. Call me crazy, but I would rather do that stuff myself anyway because I like my version of clean better than “boy clean”. What does annoy me to NO END is clutter. Things leave Mr. E’s hands and are never thought of again. I spend ENDLESS hours picking up beer bottles and empty chip bowls and pairs of sunglasses and contact cases and pennies and bad sci fi novels and add that to the fact that Mr. E never ever ever ever puts away his own laundry and I was losing my mind. Then I started just putting his laundry away myself, and aside from the fact that it makes me feel a little like I’m his mom and he’s 12, it seems to work out well. I am SO MUCH LESS annoyed at having to put away his laundry than I was by the endless towering and falling stacks of clothes lying around my bedroom. As for the crap he strews around, we’re still working on a solution for that one. I am thinking of buying an electric cattle prod.
4. Face Reality and Fix the Problem
When we first got Belle, the dog I love to hate, she would NOT STOP digging around the trash. We yelled at her, we whacked her, we threw soda cans filled with pennies at her head, we sprayed her with water and vinegar, and none of it worked.
Then we bought a new trash can with a lid! And now she stays out of the trash.
5. Talk about it.
I told Mr. E the other day that I was so stressed out about money I felt like there was a constant weight on me…trying to make a lump cash sum last for a month for groceries SUCKS. At least for me. And so Mr. E, ie the best husband in the world, said that he would do it. And so I hand over the grocery cash and a list and he goes to the store and I don’t have to worry about stretching our grocery dollar and whether or not we can afford the good butter. And it works out nicely because he is MUCH better at saving money in the grocery store than I am, even if we do have seven kinds of chips in the kitchen right now.
6. Get lazy.
Honestly? I am not good about keeping the floors mopped, the windows washed, or the living room dusted. Sometimes my bathroom is kind of dirty. I clean the tub MAYBE twice a year. And I just don’t care. Those aren’t the things that really matter to me. If my bed is made, my dining room table is cleared off,the laundry is put away, and my grass is mowed, I’m happy, so those are the things I focus on. If the floors get a little dirty in the meantime, such is life.
7. Make a one thing to do list.
When I really get frazzled, I get out a piece of blank paper, and write just ONE THING I want to get done on it. Nothing else goes on the list until that ONE THING is done, and it’s only when that first item is crossed off that the next thing goes on the list. This really helps me focus, and that one and only thing? It always gets done. Sometimes when I have a list of nineteen things? NONE of it gets done.
8. Don’t assign meaning that isn’t there.
This is my hardest thing, it really is. But the fact of the matter is that when Mr. E leaves beer cans on the counter or socks on the bedroom floor, he isn’t saying “You suck.” He isn’t saying “I don’t care that you’re going to have clean this up” or “I think you’re my maid.” We’ve had this conversation a million times, and the fact is that what I feel when he leaves those things on the floor doesn’t mean that he meant it that way. He leaves things lying around because they leave his hands and he never thinks of them again, and he’s scatterbrained and messy and that’s just how he is. He’s absolutely not trying to be a dick, and hard as it may be to realize this, it really doesn’t get either of us anywhere for me to take these things personally. Even though I won’t lie, sometimes I still do.
9. Play a game.
Every morning I wake up and because I’m a huge nerd, I try to see if I can get the dishwasher emptied before the water finishes boiling for coffee. I have no idea why, but this helps make a job I hate (emptying the dishwasher) slightly less vile. My mom and my brother used to have a piece of paper with times on it, stuck to the kitchen cabinet, and they’d try to beat their fastest cleaning up time from the night before, so maybe this is where I get my love of a good cleaning game.
10. When all else fails, reward yourself with chocolate chips and Diet Coke.
No explanation necessary. Am I right?
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