I’m happier than I should be that 2016 is over. I have no regrets about leaving that year behind me. It wasn’t a horrible year, it wasn’t a great year, it was just a year and I’m over it. I’m happy to welcome 2017 and have high hopes that it’s going to be epic! While I’m trying not to get ahead of myself or of what the Lord has in store for me this upcoming year, I’m still feeling very intrigued about what lays ahead. Last year was an “off” year for me. I struggled a lot with my emotions, my overall body contentment, and mostly with my sense of overall purpose and direction in my life. Heavy stuff huh? Yeah, I know, and it was hard to wallow through it all. I feel like dreams I had built, toiled over, and angrily suffered through were laid to rest, friendships were built and lost, days of pounding my body in the gym were accomplished with not much gain, and I registered defeat in more ways that I want to count. I learned that God doesn’t always write out His plans for your life on a neon sign, clear as can be, so you don’t mistake it – He just asks that you trust Him even when you have no idea what is going on. I was in that space so many days this year that I found myself doubting who God is and if He really is there for me – and in all my days on this earth, I have never doubted God’s love for me. Now do you see why I’m read for this year to be over?
I learned something else about myself that I’ve never seen before – I don’t function well in chaos. I get stressed out really easy and it doesn’t take much for me to go from “good mommy” to “crazy-stressed-angry mommy” when the situation becomes overly chaotic. When I get stressed, I instantly go into overdrive of trying to de-stress – I clean my environment, I yell, I get mad at my kids, I start making lists, little things out of place make me yell even louder, I demand that my kids pitch in and help me clean, I just turn into a crazy person trying to tidy up and ultimately calm down. A classic example is everyday when my older kids get home from school. They come in the door and set their backpacks in the middle of the floor of the kitchen and start unpacking them, wanting to show me everything inside – the craft they made in class, their math test, the art project they are working on, their spelling homework, etc. All while my youngest (who has been home with me all day) is vying for my attention as well, wanting a snack, drink and to show me anything he can find at that moment to show me, plus he is usually singing a silly song about stinky farts at the same time (lovely – huh?). While all this is going on, I usually have music playing in the background (yep, because I’m crazy) and am trying to prepare a snack so we all can re-fuel before starting homework.
This mom does not smile through all of this, nor do I patiently listen as they show me items, or do I calmly ask them all to sit at the table so we can eat a snack. I try to take a deep breath, then my heart starts to beat faster as I get more and more stressed by all the chaos of kids, dishes, dinner prep, laundry, homework, shoes in the middle of the floor, backpacks not hung up, etc and I end up yelling and throwing a mommy tantrum trying to get everything back to a normal stress level. This is so dumb. It usually puts the kids in a bad mood and me too and then we all spend more time trying to repair our attitudes towards each other. By this time, it’s 5pm, and I’m stressed and starving and all I want to fix my sour mood and chaotic feelings running through me is a brownie. Yep, I love brownies – but you all know that. I’ll make dinner and simultaneously whip up a batch of brownies. You see where I’m going?? It’s a horrible downward spiral. Chaos and stress are detrimental to me and where I’m going in life. I know I can’t eliminate all the stress in my life, I mean seriously, I have 3 kids, life is going to be stressful, but I can help identify the stress triggers and work at fixing them.
A very dear friend of mine told me about a book she is reading, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. This book caught my attention because I love to organize and I love the feeling of a tidy house. I love to discard stuff, sell it, and move on. My house is usually very tidy – but it could be so much more simplified. I’m totally hooked on this book. I’m only about 40 pages in, but I’m hooked! I’m going to spend the next couple months reading this book, doing what it says and tidying up my home, heart, and my life, and I plan to blog about as I go.
In her book, Marie asks “Why do you want to tidy?” When you can answer that question you can begin. For me, I want to tidy to because I want to have a clean and orderly house so that I don’t feel stressed out by my environment. If I’m not feeling stressed out by my environment I can pay more attention to trying new things, having more fun with my family, eating healthier foods, getting better sleep, and overall being a better wife and mom. I do believe that all of these things can be accomplished by having a tidy home, because your home is so much more than just the place to lay your head at night. As a mom, it’s my work – it’s where I put my time and energy, it’s how I make money, it’s how I prove my worth, it’s who I am at this point in my life.
I’m hopeful that God teaches me a lot about myself and the deep-rooted reasons why I do some of the same things over and over and expect a different result. I want change, which is really hard to say, because I HATE change, but I’m ready for it.
Have you read Marie Kondo’s book? What did you think? What did you learn?