I like things tidy. I like things in their place, put away, at the end of a day. Actually, I put things away during the day too.
It is part of my energy. I like to tidy. To organize and arrange. I like to purge and declutter.
I still remember the feeling I had, late in my pregnancy with Ava, after I scrubbed our large porcelain sink clean. It makes me want to do it again, soon.
My house is usually tidy and clean. Right now it is not, and I feel it like a humming in the back of my head. I think about it while I'm away at work.
It is just part of who I am.
Some mama friends told me recently, “You have your shit together.” and I think that it is part of my need for neat and tidy. I must do it in my brain too. The messes get cleaned up and organized in a way that feels good to me. That I can manage. I compartmentalize and process things.
I don’t “have my shit together.” I get how I present that way, but I also know and acknowledge the real. I know how I operate. How I can compartmentalize. How I don’t often let stress show. In fact the most consistent feedback I've received from managers in my career is that I'm so steady and steadfast, nothing seems to get to me. But then I go home and I have to tidy my house, right now.
Exercise helps. Enjoying tidying helps. I manage my anxiety through having a picked up world around me. And sometimes that need can get in the way of living.
But that’s not to say there isn’t living that happens in our home. There is a lot of living, and there is a lot of stuff that fills our home up in happy and warm ways.
On a weekend recently Emilio built a house in the living room. He used blankets, and chairs, the coffee table and couch, some pillows, a play tent, and our new exercise bike . There was a back yard, a main area, tunnels. It was pure kiddo creation at its finest. And I will not lie and say it was a joy for me to look upon it and reveal in his creation. It was hard for me to let it stand all Saturday and in to Sunday. My desire to clean it all up, fold the blankets and stack them neatly away was strong. I pushed against it.
Children need a place and way to explore and create. And he loved his house and it naturally met its end during the afternoon on Sunday. And when I looked at our living room after it was cleaned up, I felt happy. But I also felt a little sad that his house he built all on his own was gone.
Always a balance.
I find myself in moments when I could be engaging with my children to be picking up, and I'm working to stop that more often.
I'll often look up and realize that instead of playing with Ava in her water table I'm weeding the garden. Always trying to do it all and release my energy.
What stops me from being engaged in the moments? How do I know when picking up has to happen versus when I can let it go? How else can I process and release anxiety in those moments?
It is a work in progress. And I'll talk about it here.
It is what I come back to. Us, as a family, Me in my role helping to define that. What is that us? The good, the bad, the works in progress. Embracing it, owning it and talking about it. It is what makes us the family we are.
And I love us.