Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cleanliness is next to...CRAZINESS

OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Or what I like to call Occasionally Crazy Disorder. If you know me really well, you know I like to have the house clean. And by clean I mean CLEAN. I don’t know when this desire started. When I was really little my room was a disaster. You could hardly see the floor. And I hated to clean it. But by the time I was in high school, my room was relatively clean most of the time. I don’t recall whether I had a deep desire for my room to be clean, or if I just did it. But nowadays, the desire is indeed deep. And a little overboard. OK, maybe a lot overboard. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a clean house. In fact a clean house is usually a very good thing. However when it comes to Terri, something snapped somewhere, and my NEED for clean, no spotless, is out of control. For example, Jeff used to take guitar lessons on Monday nights. So Monday is when I would clean. It was a good time for me to put on my iTunes and go to town without worrying about the vacuum making too much noise. I also don’t want Jeff to feel guilty about not helping. Sure, I like it when he helps, in fact I LOVE it when he offers, but let’s face it, I do a better job. And because of my weird obsession, I’d rather just do it myself so I know it’s done “right.” Right there is part of my problem. Hello, if someone offers to help clean, LET THEM. Back to Mondays, though. I would be at work on Monday mornings and all I could think about is getting home to clean. What would I clean first. What needed the deepest clean. What could just be sort of dusted over. OK, maybe it’s not ALL I could think about it, but the fact that I was thinking about it at all is another part of the problem. It gets worse, though. I worry about it. Dust, crumbs, spills, footprints, cat hair, unmade bed, papers lying around. It makes me feel “weird.” Like I just have to wipe it away, pick it up, straighten it out, wash it, or I don’t feel completely relaxed. I see things that other people would never notice. A smudge on the coffee table. Little spots on the floor where the kitty sneezed. Dust on the kitchen chairs we don’t sit in. A magazine out of place. It is ridiculous. And it still gets worse. I let these things become more important than what is really important. I say over and over again “take off your shoes. Did you take your shoes off? What are these tracks I see?” To my step son. My 12 year old step son. These are the things he’s going to remember about me. Instead of “did you have fun playing with Brandon? What did you guys do? Show me what you made. Want to play a game?” It’s something I’m working on. I do feel like I’ve gotten better. I KNOW what is important and what isn’t. I KNOW family time, feeling like you can be yourself in yoru home, feeling comfortable in your home, not stressing about smudges and footprints, not cleaning every day. I WANT to be the carefree wife, step mom, hostess. I WANT to feel relaxed whether my house is clean or not. I don’t WANT to think my house is dirty just because there are 4 pairs of shoes at the door and the mail hasn’t been sorted and the counter hasn’t been wiped down. I want to be able to leave the dishes in the sink for a day and not give it a second thought. Clearly whether I wait a day or a month to clean, the house can still be made clean. Sure it might take a little longer, the longer I wait, but the end of the world will not come. Yes, cleaning can be sort of therapeutic for me, but really it’s the end result that I crave. Like I can take a deep breath. Like I can sit and do nothing. Like I’ve accomplished something. And it’s only in my own house that I care. That I feel this need to have it perfect. Spotless. Other peoples clutter, dust, piles, etc don’t bother me at all. In fact I’m not sure I even notice them. Why is that? What is going on with me and how did it happen? How can I find more balance? This is not a rhetorical question. For Cade's sake. For Jeff’s. I don’t want a dirty home. I just want to be the wife and mom that doesn’t worry so much about it. That clearly cares more about her family than her house.

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