I am in the step of my cleaning process where I put everything up off the floors, put it in its “right room” and completely disrupt whatever “order” the house was in for it to be assessed, cleaned and changed in little ways based on how we all are living.
What do I want to do? Make a list. So I can think it through, check it off. Time myself. Pride myself.
What am I doing instead?
I am intuitively moving through my house.
I am trusting I’ll do the things that need to be done. Trusting even the order I would have written down would have likely been interpreted a time or two. And, importantly enough, I am trusting I will be as accomplished one way as the other with a deep knowing that “accomplishment” is actually a super relative term.
I am now about three hours into my cleaning day. Usually, at this point, I am finishing up the floors hopeful I have juuuuuuuust enough time to put furniture back down before leaving to get Aria from high school. Today, however, the absence of my project mgmt to do list was joined by the absence of “rush”.
“Fuck it. What if I took all day to clean?” Is literally what I said to myself when I felt the pulse of “hurry”.
What if I acted less like a cleaning lady and more like a person home with a dedicated day to just take care of the home?
So – My usual cleaning day involves a fun little point in which I get cranky. Despite the bops on my playlist, I lament the towel on the shelf for no good reason. I shake my head scornfully scrubbing crystalized sugar off the cabinet door.
I wonder what makes the lid to the band aid box so much harder to put on than to take off.
I curse the cat food in the cracks on the wood floors.
I CSI the muddy boot print and add to my list of things I am going to gently shame.
I get hungry.
I notice everything.
I check the clock. I go a little faster. I audibly sigh like an annoyed person.
I am not mad but I’m mad. I’m not in a mood but I’m moody.
And *every single Tuesday that I clean and get like that* I ALWAYS WONDER WHY.
I like cleaning. I like organizing. I like how it feels when I’m done.
I like listening to music or a podcast.
I like that I am NOT on a call or working. So why do I get so crinkled?
So I figured it was only wise to change it up and infuse my cleaning today with spurts of FaceTiming and texting friends and shift my attitude to where the house was “being cleaned” vs. where “the house is clean”.
Even David commented that I seemed really positive (as he joined meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting I told him to look on the bright side, he could *actually work for Enterprise*. lol… EHI has A LOT OF MEETINGS.) Anyway, it seems to be an enjoyable way to experiment with my attitude. I haven’t been cranky about things. Puzzled, yes. Cranky? No.
So far, so right. But alas, it is time to go bundle up for a cold, snowy drive to get Aria from school.
Settled into my study with my dual monitor and coffee. I wrapped up yesterday’s cleaning at about 7:30pm. (With making homemade burger buns and 5 star patties *and cleaning up dinner* to boot.)
In hindsight, I wondered why it took me so long. I kind of replayed my day in my mind as I fell asleep…
I did all my normal cleaning things along with some detailing: total wipe down of the outside of the fridge and purge of kitchen papers, deep cleaned the cracks of the hardwood floors, wiped down like the itty bitty ledges on the counters and vacc’d up high. In my mind, I had to make the long day of cleaning feel worth it as it truly was all I did yesterday besides cook.
And so I guess that’s where the attitude shift and the no list approach comes in.
When I was working a full time job and caring for the things at home, it was all about doing the things as fast as I can to allow time for the next. But now? The time is all mine. It is presenting a mindset change that is quite literally embedded in my DNA.
As David’s Teams notifications blurped and pinged throughout the day, my senses perked with this “I need to answer” and I then got the experience of relaxing back into whatever I was dicking around with. It was muscle memory of response shifting to a softer way of being.
Anyway. In the spirit of summing this all up, along with that, here are four important things I learned about managing the house and family:
- Best way to teach others how to talk to you is through how you talk to them.
- For each legitimate annoyance you have, there is an equal opportunity for more openness in your perspective.
- Run the dishwasher in the morning and unloading it in the afternoon is more efficient overall. More on that in a future post.
- When a teenager asks how long till dinner, the answer is always the actual amount of time or half that if they help out. You get an extra hand 9 times out of 10. :)
Time to do the things I have time to do now. YAY. :)