a hot mess.

Friday, March 4, 2011

my closet is,
a hot mess.
this is not me.
seriously.  
i don't know who this woman is.
and i don't really like her.  i've accepted, that this is who i need to be, 
at this phase of my life,
raising small children, rocking sweat pants and side pony tails,
cleaning toilets, maneuvering a mini-van between the tree-lined streets of 
our quaint little town, to and from school.
a life where my desk drawers and closets are not up for discussion.
and although i get annoyed with the state of my closet and myself for not keeping on top of it,
i've learned to find some peace and solace in the mess,
and could learn to like this girl.
who knows it's ok.
messes are ok. 
they mean nothing and are no reflection of the person i am
nor are they holding me back from the woman i'm supposed to be.
of course, in the world of stay-at-home-moms,
we seem to put upon ourselves that messes (and this is just me talking,)
equals failure.  
physical proof that you just can't hack it in this weird world of parenting.
can't keep your floor swept, the cupboards organized,
the toys picked up, your coffee tables dust-free AND raise the children?!
how we scramble to pick up before people come over,
shove things in closets and drawers,
to portray the image that we're 'put together' and 'in control?'
to create some sort of 'image' that we don't live in chaos and are perfectly capable women?
heh!
(i don't do this much anymore. . .well, depends on who's coming over.:)
if anything, learning to let go of this part of me,
that part that performs and wants to be. . .'perfect,'
has been invigorating.  has given me a small taste of another life, 
ANOTHER way and a better way to be.
i actually ENJOYED cleaning houses at one point in my life, before kids.
i was a neat freak.  freakishly neat and organized.
as early as 6 years-old, i don't think my mom EVER had to ask me to clean my room, pick up my mess, make my bed.
i did it lovingly.  and obsessively.  
being neat and tidy and organized and clean was wired in to my veins from birth.
i used to make my sisters' bed (because she couldn't do it the right way.  i could.)
i used to do EVERYONE's laundry, parents included, neatly folding my dad's tee shirts, my sisters' underwear, the bath towels.
and not because i was asked to.
i just did it.
i loved it.
a stay-at-home-mom in training.:)
i think what fueled this weirdness, was imagining the people on the other end.
my mom coming home to find all of the laundry done.
the floors being scrubbed, the pantry being organized.  
at the time, i didn't think much of it.  and no one said anything.
although, i'm sure they were talking about this weirdness,
but if i found myself home on a friday night in h.s. or a random weeknight, not being able to sleep,
i'd rearrange my room, redecorate, vacuum, sometimes at 1 in the morning.  
so weird.
i know my parents probably lay awake in bed those nights,
hearing the lull of the vacuum upstairs, me making perfect vacuum lines in the dark of early morning.
yet i would find comfort in the messy rooms of my friends,
who were typical teenagers.  clothes piled high, purses flung over bed posts,
shoes and nail polish and bras strewn about.
i thought it was so cool, that they could function in that chaos
that it didn't bother them and they knew EXACTLY where everything was,
even if they had to dig under the rubble that was their room.
not me.
and on more than one occasion,
i just couldn't deny the urge and found myself organizing my friends' dresser drawers,
their closets, sometimes without their knowing, thinking it'd be a great surprise to them!
now, even more weird and bordering on innapropriate.
i did that for one of my roommates in our awesome apartment after college.  i can't remember if i asked her or just surprised her.
and i can't believe she didn't kick me out.
(my gosh, now thinking about it, i think i have a friend from each phase of my life, who can attest that i ransacked their room while they were out, 
to organize it and make it. . .'perfect.'  underwear drawers and all.
what a jackass, i was.
but i couldn't help myself.
my first job in h.s., was cleaning houses.  because i loved it THAT much.
i worked for an amazing woman who taught me some sweet tricks and provided ELITE service to heavy-hitting chicago suburb homeowners.
where it took two people to clean a bathtub (which was actually the size of a small pool,) or a 6-man shower, shining ALL the shower heads, polishing the tile floor and the sliding doors, 
larger than my kitchen.
a home of a wealthy, single man,
that shot rubber bands in to unused and empty rooms,
but still wanted vaccuumed and wanted to test us to make sure we were doing them, despite the fact they hadn't been stepped in to since our last cleaning visit.
so we'd have to walk in to the room to pick up the rubber bands, in turn, leaving our sock-footed foot prints on the otherwise untouched carpet, 
THEREFORE, having to vacuum up our footprints off, to perfectly linear but FRESH vacuum lines.
i know, insane.
but i loved it.
i loved envisioning these families, these tired moms, these stressed out dads,
coming home after a long day,
kicking off their shoes, tossing their keys on the counter, their jacket over the chair,
reaching in the fridge for a beer or popping open take-out boxes,
putting their feet up and breathing a sigh of relief and gratitude,
that the house was taken care of.
shining and beautiful and clean.  and they could relax in its cleanliness.
how WONDERFUL i imagined, that would feel.
i was 14.  not the typical thought process of a 14-year-old, 
but that's why i did it. 
(and i was paid well, of course.:)
after college, obnoxious hours and extreme exhaustion from a job that was getting old, 
i decided to leave, fueled by the urge to find my own way, satisfy that urge i've ALWAYS had, to own my own business, 
be my own boss,
i started my own 'organizing' company.  
well, the company was just me.
'the way to simplicity,' it was called.
i giggle now too, thinking about that attempt.
it didn't last long. . .a few months.  
traveling from coffee shop to local coffee shop, putting fliers and business cards up,
to advertise.
i wanted so much to help people de-clutter and simplify their lives, because mine was so organized.:)
no, really though, because i knew even then, 
life could be so much more simple.  it didn't HAVE to be so cluttered, so complex, 
so overwhelming.
and sometimes all it took, was cleaning out a closet,
or a kitchen cupboard to make it more functional, more efficient in giving you what you needed to make your life run more smoothly.
my awesome fiance (now husband,) at the time,
told me i needed to quit dinkin' around and get a 'real' job.
which i did.
those days are long gone, especially since becoming a parent.
i've learned to trade a beautifully scrubbed floors and color-coordinated closets,
for a snuggle on the couch,
have adopted one of my husband's great quotes,
"don't let perfect be the enemy of good enough,' in to my daily routine.
i've slowly had to say goodbye to this perfectionistic attitude i've carried, to make room for
'that'll do.'
but i got a little glimpse of her this past week,
as we finished fixing up our playroom.
oh, it makes me so happy.
everything perfectly labled, stacked, organized and within arms reach,
unlike the rest of this crazy life.
i love organized, but i LOVE simple.
for me, the burden of THINGS, overwhelms me.
oh, i'm not saying i don't like to peruse ETSY a few times a week,
flip through pottery barn's catalog planning my next purchase,
devilishly eyeing items in our home, wondering what i can sell on ebay or give to goodwill, to make room for something better.  
but i have a rule, bring something new in?  get rid of something.
it works.
underneath this hodge podge, worn down, wrinkled and pasty exterior (that is myself,)
is a clean and polished, WHOLE lotta' martha steward bubbling below the surface.
definitely not as beautiful and soft and pastel-infused as martha,
but oh, i'm capable.
for now, this is my perfect.  and my perfect is for my kids.
working to make THEIR life easier, more accessible, more inviting, more awesome.
this time of year, as we anxiously await that first day above 40,
for the piles of dirty snow to melt,
i go in to spring-cleaning mode,
wanting to simplify.
reprioritize, not just my home, but our life, for the new season ahead, so we can enjoy.
i feel this strong urge to edit our life to it's simplest form.
our home is small and cozy and simple.  
i have my things i like, but i don't like a lot of things.
less is more to me.  and unfortunately, to my loving husband,
this belief has caused some tiffs in the past.
i LOVE to throw away, get rid of, toss anything that hasn't been used.
i don't think twice about THINGS, just throw them.
he jokes that i have no emotional connection to any THING, that nothing holds sentimental value to me.  not true.
i just remind myself that they're only THINGS, and if we're not using it or enjoying it or wearing it, 
why have it?
get rid of it.  it's gone.
anyway, speaking of hot messes,
i shouldn't say that.  she's not a total mess.:)
but this picture doesn't protray the mess of a cold she had this week.
damn winter.
but sick days are kind of nice when they're mild and not life-threatening.:)
a good excuse to hide under the covers, watch tv all day,
give that little body a much needed rest after this crazy winter.
a day to be served every meal in bed,
and just. . .veg.
where the best place in the world (our bed,)
takes on a life of it's own, filled with little hands and feet,
toast crumbs, jammy bottoms and baby dolls, 
bringing comfort, warmth and the rest needed to bring health back to life.
(tuna wasn't sick.  just took gracie's spot as she moved on to the couch.)
and these are the days, when the kids get sick, that i turn inward.
nowhere we can go, no where we need to be,
so i organize.  clean.
take the opportunity of kids laid up in bed,
to look for ways to simplify our life.
brainstorm ways to turn sub-par
 in to our kind of perfect.
 (yes, i was going to go with some color, but opted for the simple and boring, choosing to accessorize with a cool rug and soon-to-have curtains.)
it's all about accessories.  they make or break the outfit.
and a simple floor rug, has invited our kids back in to their playroom, 
that has been non-existent for much of the winter.
but this is the time of year, 
to start to make room for less, allowing more time for just being.
time to notice what IS, time to linger after dinner, 
take a walk,
read in bed,
bake a cake with my daughter on a tuesday afternoon.
to learn to let go of the THINGS that serve us no purpose,
to selflessly send off the, 'i might use those somedays,' to someone who will use it NOW.
to be surrounded by the THINGS that bring happiness, joy, comfort.






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