Friday, April 13, 2007

A New Game Plan

After posting yesterday's rant I felt like I may have exaggerated a bit. I do have some other emotions other than anger and exhaustion. I guess it just seems like those two have been in the forefront lately. Last night, for example. I wanted to chill out and relax, but my relax time was spent doing laundry, then I realized that Mabel hadn't done her homework because I didn't remind her. She then went through her Helpless Eight Year Old routine of "I can't find a pencil and now the only one I can find isn't sharpened and I have some irrational fear of going upstairs by myself so I can't go to the den and use the sharpener."

This sent me off the deep end. While I don't think I scarred her for life, I went on this tear through the house, my irritation spilling into the piles of clutter on every flat surface of the house. While I will accept my one-third responsibility for putting it there, I find myself resenting the 100 percent responsibility for cleaning it. This isn't a good feeling to have -- resentment eats at you like a cancer, spreading and killing off the healthy, positive feelings you have about yourself and others.

I tried to explain this to Hubby last night as I collapsed into bed, and tried to do it in a way that wouldn't offend him. Because it would have been easy to say "I'm tired of keeping after you and Mabel like you're both three years old!" I tried to explain the pressure I feel, the feeling that everything I do is half-assed because there never seems to be enough time to do one job thoroughly.

Hubby responded that he thinks I do a wonderful job as a wife and mother, and that he doesn't consider anything I do half-assed. That was nice, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear. But that's partially my fault. I should have said to him, "I need more help around the house, and I'm not just talking about our daughter. I need you to take on a couple chores and I don't want to ask you every time it needs to be done."

The thing is, Hubby is very open about not being a good housekeeper, and the fact is he doesn't view it as a priority and doesn't really pay attention to things like dust and clutter and clothes on the floor. He has told me numerous times that I need to tell him when to do things around the house. But sometimes I don't want to have to be the responsible one all the time; I want someone else to notice the garbage can is overflowing and take the bag out without me having to mention it. I want someone else to look at the skyscraper pile of hunting and fishing magazines teetering precariously on the coffee table and purge them without me having to bring it up. I want someone else to pick up the children's and men's socks off the floor and take their glasses and dishes into the kitchen. Better yet, put those glasses and dishes in the dishwasher instead of piling them in the kitchen sink!

Okay, enough housewife griping. But lately it's just gotten to me and is in the forefront of my mind. FlyLady talks a lot about getting rid of resentment when it comes to cleaning the house and taking care of one's family. I may need to revisit her sight and reacquaint myself to her advice and wise words.

I continue to knock off more bloat from my Easter blow-out. But it will still be a while until I'm back in the groove and zeroing in on 200-199. But that's okay. Really.

For example, last night we went out for dinner and I found myself automatically ordering a healthier meal and the smaller portion the restaurant offered. But I also heartily ate the two little rolls that came with the meal and even put a little butter on them. And I found myself quite content. I wasn't wracking my brain trying to figure out the calorie count of everything, and I wasn't fretting over eating white flour and half a pat of butter. I just ate, knowing that overall I had made decent choices, didn't stuff myself and enjoyed my food. It was a good feeling.

I know the time is approaching for a weekly weigh in, but I'm doing something different this time. On Sunday I'm going to view my week from Monday-Sunday and lay out how I did. So far, other than Monday I've been doing great. No compulsive eating, no binge eating, and an hour of exercise a day. Lots of vegetables, small portions of meat and grains, and snacks that are portioned out and controlled. Yet I've pretty much eaten whatever I wanted when I wanted it.

So here's the new game plan: since I haven't deprived myself all week, I'm going to carry this same method to my weekend. I have no excuse to pig out because I can have whatever I want, as long as I take a specific amount and not make it a free-for-all. This is new territory, trying to eat intuitively, and it may take me a while to get the hang of it.

But I need this right now. I need to take some of the pressure off of myself somewhere in my life, and this seems like a way to do it that won't cause me or my loved ones any harm. The weight may not fly off, but it won't fly up, either. And it's a real taste of what life could be like once I reach maintenance; a feeling of control and contentment that keeps me healthy and sane.


Lori said...

Maybe I've watched too much Supernanny and Clean Sweep but maybe you can put up a list of things that Mabel and DH can do and their job is to LOOK at it and check it off when it's done. You can put this on a dry erase board and use some kind of incentive for Mabel (treat? gift? more TV time?). Mabel's short, she can do some dusting on the lower furniture for example :-) (I stole that from "Cheaper by the Dozen" book.)

It's good that he appreciates what you do but that and $4.00 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks and the house will still be a mess. Talk is cheap. ;-)

I think you're doing great with the food and your planning for the week.

Beula said...

I have learned to ask Mark, "Will you take out the trash right now." I then specify kitchen and bathroom or he just stands there and looks confused. I then thank him profusely.

I have quit expecting him to notice any dirt at all. I ask straight out will you vacuum the living room, and give a specific time. Then I go in another room and don't watch. I thought he would think I was ordering him around but he doesn't seem to mind. As long as it is one job at a time and I am specific about what needs done he is okay. He always seems surprised that you can't just do the laundry once and be done with it forever. Oh to live in a man's world.

Vickie said...

Another idea would be to tie it all together - as in - if person #1 does this, and person #2 does that, and person #3 does this other thing - then we can all go out for a walk with the dogs.

Or, I am going to be right by the VA in the next couple days and they love men's magazines for the waiting room - can you sort thru your stack and put them in the trunk of my car so that I have them all set to take?

Also - I have gotten a big box and dumped their stuff in and put it away. Yes, I let them FRET when they can't find - before I remember where it might be.

If you can deal with it - everyone picking up before dinner or before bed works great.

We have figured out that on busy nights - too much stress - on non-busy nights - easier.

HAve I ever told you about the mother of 5 that took away all of the youngest's clothes? She had a messy room, couldn't get her stuff in the dirty clothes, was uncooperative in general. Her mother packed up all but one summer outfit and one pair of pj's and two sets of underwear/socks. The kid wore this same thing ALL SUMMER. Yes, the mom washed outfit every night - but with 5 kids (7 total in family) - she does laundry every night anyway (so do I). By the end of the summer - youngest was DYING for variety of clothes - she did not get them all back - she got a couple outfits and a warmer pair of pj's. She had to EARN back more - by showing how cooperative and clean she was.

My aunt used to pack up 3/4 of kids toys - in sections of 1/4 each. She would rotate every other month or so - so only 1/4 was ever out. Like x-mas each time she rotated.

PS - get another pencil sharpener for a "safe room" or go with her to sharpen a WHOLE bunch and put them in a drawer somewhere safe.

PPS - we are still "dirty" but much more picked up.