I am always thinking about the next thing I need to do. My brain is like a revolving hamster wheel of things I need to get done today, tomorrow, and most often what I should have done yesterday. I stress myself out over getting the kids to bed at a decent hour so that I can clean up and take a whack at my never ending to-do list (both the one I have physically written down and the one I have jumbled in my mental hamster wheel). During the day, I find myself following my daughter and dogs around with a broom and/or hand held vacuum in an attempt to keep up with the messy build up of stay at home life. I keep cleaning supplies in almost every room so that I can dust and Windex whenever I have a 5 minute break from my busy body toddler and non-napping newborn.
What is wrong with me?
I constantly stress myself out over nonsense. I am a stay at home mom with two kids, two dogs, and a cat. We are home most of the time, so why can’t I accept that things ARE going to get messy?
I recently learned to let go of such intense anxieties and not sweat the small stuff. One Sunday evening when I was (of course) cleaning the kitchen, my daughter popped up next to me with an overtly mischievous grin spread across her face. I noticed she was holding my Ipod in her hand. I looked at her, looked at the Ipod full of our favorite boogie tunes, grabbed my husband, and we all spent the next half hour busting our moves on the kitchen floor. We were like a ridiculous group of wannabe back up dancers, breaking it down like our lives depended on it. The laughter that came along with the booty shaking was infectious and the pure enjoyment was inevitable. From Bruno Mars to Maroon 5 and Justin Timberlake to John Mayer, we spun, jumped, flipped, kicked, and skipped to every beat.
When the dance party wound down and the music hushed to a dull roar, I surprisingly did not go back to cleaning. I did not partake in my usual barking of orders as to what needed to be done next in our nightly routine. Instead, my husband and I took the time to bathe and get our kids ready for bed TOGETHER (something we did not usually do, as I would employ skills acquired during my time in the corporate world to maximize production). And with my anxieties being left out on the dance floor, I enjoyed every second of our night as a family. Not once did I check the clock to see if we were on schedule and I did not experience an ounce of tenseness.
I realized that my world did not come crashing down as a result of leaving a few dishes in the sink. I am the CEO of my own household, so the only person that is going to hold me accountable for the outcome of my day is me (I was 100% satisfied with this day’s outcome). I would rather teach my children to find the fun and laughter in every situation possible, then to instill in them the need to strive for perceived perfection, especially at the cost of their own happiness.
Letting loose on the kitchen floor changed my life.
Okay, that may be a bit of an extreme statement. BUT, if you’re an OCD stress case, like me, I highly recommend you try it. Boogie on down to stress free town!
It’s also quite possible that many of you already employ this strategy and I’m just extremely late to the party. I’m just glad I made it there eventually.