Yesterday was one of those days. You know, one of those days. It all started much like any other day. My husband and I were enjoying a cup of coffee in the kitchen when my daughter bounded into the room, and gleefully chimed:
"I am ready early today!! Wow! What am I going to do until it is time to get the bus??"
I responded with encouragement, coffee mug in hand:
"Well, it would be great if you could take 15 minutes or so and pick up some things off your floor."
Husband, with enthusiasm:
"Yeah! That would be great."
Pause here for indignant look of distaste, followed by a scrunching of one's nose...you know whose.
"But....That would be a waste of time."
Yep, it was time for what we call in our household a little "Come To Jesus" meeting.
The frustration level in our house has been building lately. My kids aren't frustrated...not at all. They are distracted. Distracted and forgetting the basics of how to be good citizens of our household. They are too busy being understandably gleeful about the impending end of school, and all the fun that goes along with the weather getting warmer and the days getting longer. My son, who is twelve, is especially distracted. "Like, .....I don't know....why I....just came in the room....(oh, yeah! I need a snack!)" distracted. I think there should be a whole separate clinical category for 12 year old boy distraction. It is epic and amazing to behold.
So, if you are frustrated, too, here are some things to remember and steps to take:
1.If there is smoke, there is fire--That's right, if you are feeling frustrated with your house, nine times outta ten there is probably CLUTTER involved. You won't see it as clutter at first (it is really good at disguising itself as useful, meaningful items), but once you start looking more closely you will see there is a lot of stuff hanging around that you don't truly love, find useful, or think is especially beautiful.
2. Put out the fire--I mean donate it, recycle it, give it so someone who will use it. Having less STUFF to clean up, put away, dust and fuss over is the way to lessen frustration and gain peace.
3. Remember that it is a journey, not a destination--I have to remind myself of this one all the time. We are so seduced in our culture by the "once and done" myth. You know the reality decorating shows that have the awful "before" followed by the amazing reveal that make us all subconsciously believe that now the people's house, lives, everything is now finished and perfect--no more worries. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Creating a home that nurtures you is an ongoing process that requires day in and day out maintenance and the understanding that rooms, like people and families, evolve over time.
4.Play to your strengths-- There are things we are good at, and hopefully like to do, and there are things we wish we never had to do again. If you live within a family, I bet there are things that you don't like to do, that someone else in the household is particularly good at and doesn't mind doing. For example, my son is wonderfully good at washing cars, and he loves to do it. If he washes my car once a week, I am so happy to help him fold and put away his clean clothes. Family life is about working together and sharing, making the whole thing easier (we all just need a reminder of this from time to time--hopefully before someone gets to the point of snarkiness and feeling like everyone else's slave. Ahem.)
Frustration is a symptom not of a terminal disease, but of a malady that is swiftly cured with teamwork and a little elbow grease. Amen!