Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Toddler Induced Anxiety

I read an article once about how people who excessively clean may actually have anxiety and that's how they cope with it. Before my AFE, I used to clean. A lot. I was meticulously organized, my house always smelled like bleach, I had constant vacuum lines in the carpet, laundry basket was always less than a load in there, I was the over achiever when it came to keeping my house clean. Even when I had two kids and worked full time and volunteered 20 hours a week, meticulous. Our house was always very clean when I was growing up so I just had this standard and I felt like that's what it meant to be a good mom and wife. I never bought into the "excuse the mess- we're making memories" bullshit and I don't even now.

Then I died.

In my aftermath I am sick often. I tire easily. I can't focus. I can't stay on task. I can't prioritize what I need to do. I can't keep up. Is my house trashed? Not by any means. Is it too much for me? Everyday, yes.
I tried hiring a cleaning service but I've developed this bizarre fear of strangers in my house. I struggle with anyone being here at all but it's not as suffocating when it's someone I know and am familiar with. But I had a cleaning company here and I made it fifteen minutes into it and I had to send them away. I paid for the time they were supposed to be here, thanked them, and apologized for being an anxious mess, and closed my door.

I couldn't do it.

Leaving my house all together isn't an option at all because that is worse for my anxiety so I thought maybe being here would be easier. But no. It's really horrible. 
Everyday though, I am forever picking things up. Wiping surfaces down. I get so tired and sometimes I just can't and I'm forced to see all of this. 
I can't go anywhere without seeing a mess and disorder. Even on the best days it only stays nice for a short while and having two toddlers means it's next to impossible to manage it. 
Is this horrible? No. God, no. I'm not a hoarder climbing over piles and walking through tunnels of crap in my house. I do have some perspective about this, so I'm not delusional. 
But it is too much. I feel like I'm drowning. I want to just throw it all away but then I'd have nothing to entertain the toddlers with so there's that. I have a greater appreciation for myself back then because I don't think I ever gave myself credit for doing as much as I did. Back then it didn't feel like a big deal at all but there isn't a chance I could do that much now. I wish I had known  how to give myself grace back then. I guess I never realized I really needed it. I do now, though. 

We, as a family, have made some changes. Olivia and Jackson are responsible for cleaning the downstairs bathroom (that's the one they use to get ready and shower in), their rooms, and their laundry. That alone has really made a huge difference in the work load and now I know they'll have clean clothes when they move out. Ha! Matt has been doing the laundry on the weekends which is nice because I have a hard time walking down the stairs while holding a full basket, but also going up the stairs with a full basket is tiring. I try to work on one area a day (floors, kitchen, upstairs bathroom, vacuum, etc) but even still, it's tiring. I hate that doing something like sweeping or mopping a floor wipes out my energy for the day. I'm trying to not get angry about it but sometimes I slip up. I can't help it. 

So if you're out there and you're struggling to balance it all- relax. Give yourself some grace. It doesn't make you a better mom or wife if you can eat off your floors. I'm trying to relax and not let this kind of thing get to me because lord knows I have enough things that cause me anxiety, I have to learn to let this one go. 


Beth (Coffee Until Cocktails) said...

This is an area I struggle with too. I used to be a clean freak also before my son was born and now between long days at work and keeping up with him, it's just really hard to keep up with the mess. I have designated days that I at least clean the bathroom and vacuum and my husband keeps the kitchen picked up, but everything else is kind of a crap shoot. I like to say it just means my house is well lived in or something like that.

mypixieblog said...

Oh man. I feel like this was written for me. I get in fights with Bryan constantly about cleaning messes. He just comes with a lot of clutter. He’s super organized about it, but when I see it laying around, it’s just junk to me/ and I have to learn to live with that, bc it’s always been that way and ain’t no changing that now.

Anyway, what I mean is I can empathize. I’m glad that you are allowing yourself grace and being gentler on yourself. You don’t need lines in you carpet to be a good housewife or whatever. You are awesome and good on you for divine tasks along the kiddos in the house!

mypixieblog said...

Dividing tasks. Good lord, that’s what happens when I type from my phone I guess

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I have heard that cleaning is calming for people. I'm not messy by any means, but I'm definitely not a big cleaner. LOL I think moms that can keep some semblance of order in their house are amazing though, and while this might seem messy or too much for you, I think you're still doing a good job. I hope that you'll eventually feel less anxious about this though.


Lecy | A Simpler Grace said...

I am DEFINITELY a cleaner when I'm stressed or upset or anxious. I have (shamefully) vacuumed my floor several times in one day because I got so bad. It's a great idea that you're delegating some of the chores in the house. One person is only capable of doing so much in a day, and when you are feeling unwell, it's even more difficult to keep up.