This has continued to be the case throughout my life. While I don't necessarily clean everything on Sunday night, I do like to have things in order. I like to have the laundry done. The kitchen cleaned. I like to have meals somewhat planned for the week. I like to set goals. I like to write lists.
I can't go to bed with the decorative pillows thrown about. Everything has a place. I can't go to bed without washing my face, picking up the house, etc. I hate leaving the house without the bed made, the house cleaned. The windows and blinds open and the dishwasher loaded.
My need to control everything has always been a difficult part of my relationships. While this part of my personality is a bit nice at times to my husband (who really appreciates a clean house) it is also really challenging.
Seth is completely opposite from me in so many ways. He isn't remotely a control freak. Go to bed with the house a disaster? No problem! He doesn't write lists. He is a bit scattered. He will continually ask me to come and relax (something I can't do if the dishes aren't done) and ignore the mess. He often feels like cleaning is a priority over him.
It is. And I'm ashamed of it. I can't help it. I try to let it go. I try to let things be. But I can't always help it.
Having kids has shaken my ability to be a control freak. With one child, I could still keep up. I could still go to bed most nights with things in order. I could still cross items off my many to-do list. I could follow Millie around the house and pick up after her. I could clean during naps. Or I could send her off to my mom's on a Saturday for awhile and speed clean my house. It was definitely more challenging but not impossible.
Then I had Matilda. And boy did things shift. Now I can't keep up. I just can't. This feeling that my life was spinning out of control was one of the main reasons that I fought postpartum depression. Truthfully medication has helped. It has helped me not feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety when I come home to a complete disaster. Sure, I feel annoyed but I don't get tense, short of breath and upset. Now, I do admit that after awhile I tend to lose my cool if things are too messy for too long but those freaking out episodes are less than they have ever been.
It is so hard. Every night I think to myself, "Ok Becky, once the girls are in bed take some time and clean. Don't watch TV. Just get some things done." Yet by the time they are in bed I am so exhausted that I don't want to do anything. I just want to sit. I want to relax. So the house stays a mess.
Now most people don't let this stuff eat at them. I recognize that. I can't tell you how many times people have advised me to just "let it go! Having a clean house doesn't matter! Spend time with your girls. That is more important."
Here's the thing. I agree. I completely agree. I just don't know how to let it go. Since I have had Matilda I have really improved (it's true - ask Seth!). I try so hard to just be ok with my situation, but I still struggle with it every day.
And then I broke my damn foot.
My ability to keep up at all was taken out from under me. Not only did my foot make everyday tasks hard, it took away my main ways to relieve my stress/anxiety. I couldn't run or go to yoga.
Soon I felt like a tightly wound mess. I was having crazy dreams every night where I was just raging. I was so angry. And I think it was all because I lost control. I couldn't take my girls to the park. I couldn't go for long walks with the baby. I was stuck at home. In a messy home. My friend Ashtin told me that maybe having a broken foot would help me slow down and enjoy this time with my girls. I think she was right.
Sometimes you just have to surrender yourself to your circumstances. You just have to sit back and say, "Ok life. I get it. You win. You suck. But you win." And I think I finally just came to terms with it.
Yesterday I went to a specialist, anticipating being told I had to have surgery. A fact that made me so angry I could hardly stand it. 6 more weeks in the boot. 6 more weeks with no exercise. I was livid. And yet I walked away from the appointment in higher spirits than I have been in in weeks. I could take off the boot! I could start running again. I felt an enormous weight lifted from me.
So did I learn to let go? Well lets just say that my to-do list this weekend is enormous! But it is less focused on cleaning/errands and more focused on "take the girls swimming" and "go to the farmer's market". Because now I have full mobility and I am over the moon. I'm going to embrace the final weeks of summer because I can.
That's the thing about letting go, it takes awhile to understand the beauty of it.