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Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
If you are a regular reader of mine, you know the following:
a.) I am an obsessive clean freak.
b.) I had hypnotherapy 18 months ago to curb–not cure–the obsession.
c.) I want to be buried with my dust buster.
But because of hypnotherapy, I no longer meltdown when I see crumbs. I can walk past them and they no longer taunt me. Plus, now I have cleaning ladies once a week. If I didn’t I would never leave the house and my tots would not survive. I would be strapped to my vacuum all day while they played with knives.
However, since we sold our Brooklyn apartment and had all our stuff moved out here, the boxes, even though out of sight, have been driving me mad. Just knowing they are there and full of “stuff”–stuff we haven’t used in 18 months–is enough to send me back to hypnotherapy. Not only that, but we are in a rental house where in less than two years we have accumulated enough to warrant another moving van when our new house is ready.
The clutter is mentally draining. I get so cranky thinking about going through all the closets and the boxes and getting rid of stuff. It’s like the world’s worst term paper hanging over your head. And when I have little snippets of time (like when the kids nap) I think, “Well, what’s the point in starting, since they will wake up and then what?” It’s a procrastination tool I use frequently.
So a few weekends ago, I was in uber b-tch mood. I think it’s because the clutter was infiltrating my cells. Phil took the kids to the playground and told me to do something to snap out of my mood. I had 45 minutes. Not nearly enough time to clean out an entire house. But guess what? I started. And by the time he got home I had filled 3 garbage bags full of clothes to donate. What’s even better is the mood it put me in. I was downright giddy. Confirmation for Phil that he married a neurotic.
Since I’m a person of extremes I couldn’t stop. I got on a manic roll. Over the next week I cleaned out every closet. I even scrubbed all the shelves. I did it even when I had small snippets of time. I realized you can accomplish a lot more than you think when you just dive in and stop procrastinating. I went through at least 12 of the boxes, piling up more stuff for donations and garbage. It was better than any drug or drink I’ve ever had. Well, almost.
The high lasted well after I finished the projects. Like two weeks longer. I honestly think that getting rid of the clutter also got rid of clutter in my brain. I felt less scattered, and far less miserable and blah. It was a remarkable undertaking with extraordinary results.
Of course now I’m back down from the high. But in the back of my mind I know there are more boxes waiting. So as my clutter starts to build up in my head, I know if I just unpack a box or organize a shelf I will probably feel better than drinking that bottle of wine in its entirety.
It’s like the revelation I had when I wrote The Mom Mystique. I need that sense of accomplishment that goes beyond child-rearing. Cleaning isn’t intellectually stimulating but the results strangely felt the same.
Now when we move in and are perfectly unpacked and organized I may need another “project” to tackle. But that is months away. Plus, I found a new therapist so maybe she can help me get to a happy place without filling up 8 garbage bags.
One of my favorite expressions from the days when I hosted Simple Solutions reports still rings true:
“Get rid of the mess, get rid of the stress.” Amen.
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cleaning, cleaning obsession, clutter, counseling, crumbs, dust buster, hypnotherapy, junk, OCD, procrastination, scrubbing, sweeping, therapy, vacuum | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Monday, June 11th, 2012
I don’t think I’ve ever sat on a public toilet. I squat, but I don’t let my legs touch. My quads get a good workout. So does my brain. I will myself not to look at or think about the grime, the hair, and god-knows-what-else that is lurking. I have already been in hypnotherapy for my compulsive cleaning addiction. But training Fia to not only go into a public toilet, but to SIT on one, is going to be tough. However, doctor’s orders: Get over it!
At her 2.5-year check up last week he really set me straight.
“How’s she doing with potty training?” he asked.
“She does great with the poops, but we haven’t worked on pee as much.”
“Why not?” he asked.
“Because she will pee a lot more frequently, which means I have to deal with public bathrooms. And I’d prefer diapers to kneeling on a disgusting floor with her on a disgusting toilet. So I’ve been putting off the inevitable. With poop, it’s only once a day and usually in the evening, so we’re at home.”
“Ahhh…. this is very important to discuss then,” he said.
The short of it is: if you don’t train your children to go the bathroom–#1 or #2–in every scenario, then they will develop an aversion to using the bathroom outside of the house. He knows people who are prisoners to their own potty. They literally won’t leave their dwelling until they’ve shat.
“There’s a fire? Sorry, I can’t evacuate. I haven’t pooped yet.”
Basically, if I don’t teach her to go everywhere and anywhere, she could end up with a bathroom obsession. And lord only knows she probably already has many obsessive tendencies/genes. She doesn’t need anymore.
My next meditation will consist of positive imagery. I will envision us walking into the bathroom, dressed in fatigues, my head held high. I will properly line her toilet seat with paper. I will cheerlead. A cockroach might run past with a pubic hair in its mouth. “Look Mama look!” she’ll shout with excitement. “Wow, how neat!” I’ll say through clenched teeth. “Are you finished yet?”
My face will never show disgust.
We will sit for 15 minutes. She will pee a teaspoon. And damn it, I’ll enjoy every minute and drop.
Another good example Fia’s pediatrician gave:
He hates salmon. Every time they have it, his girls whine, “Daddy, do we have to eat the salmon?” He replies, “Of course you do. Salmon is yummy!” and puts a forkful in his mouth (even though he is cringing inside). If he took a different approach, i.e.: “I don’t like salmon either,” they may never eat that fish again. If they end up disliking it, fine. But don’t let it be because of you.
We all know kids are little mimes. As parents, we are asked to do the impossible: show them the way, even if it’s not our way, our preference. But when it comes to bodily functions, there really isn’t a choice.
For me, I want to travel the world with my kids. She’ll have to learn to squat over dirt holes in India, on bushes in Africa, and in outhouses in South Dakota. And I get to lead the way. From now on, I will see the filth and squat right next to it. I will smile at it.
In short, I will embrace the gross.
Grungy toilet via Shutterstock
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addiction, clean freak, cleaning, compulsive cleaning addiction, germs, hypnotherapy, milestone monday, obsession, obsessive, Pediatrician, pee, poop, potty training, pubic hair, public bathroom, public toilet | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday
Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
My boobs have become a secret weapon in survival. And not just because they feed my child.
When Fia came, it was all me all the time. I was drowning in her barf and tortured from lack of sleep. I became resentful that everything was put on me, even though yes, I am the mom.
Flash forward to Emmett. I am the picture of calm. That’s not an adjective you would typically use to describe me. But between hypnotherapy and the beauty of the boob, it’s a totally different scenario the second time around. Phil on the other hand seems to have postpartum frustration. He stomps around; I sit in lotus. He’s angry; I meditate. Here’s what shifted:
Fia’s melting down at dinnertime? Sorry honey, I gotta go feed Emmett.
Fia’s awake at 5:51 every morning? Sorry honey, Emmett’s hungry.
When you have the second baby, the parenting of the toddler falls more on the dad. Or at least in our house. I’m not kidding when I say that I get an extra hour-plus of sleep every morning because of this. AN HOUR. PLUS. Do you understand what that means? That’s like winning the lottery every day. I lay in bed with my little man as he nurses and we drift off to sleep. It’s heaven.
Cut to Phil downstairs with Fia screaming for Elmo, spilling orange juice and crying for eggs (Phil hates eggs and can’t make them. He claims he will barf. And we have enough barfing in our family with Em’s reflux).
At around 7 or 7:30 (the latter if I’m feeling greedy), I serenely float down and take over. Phil goes back to bed for an hour. I cook eggs, clean up the OJ and read the paper. I hold Emmett and Fia watches Sesame. Or we all play. It’s great. And to be fair, Phil wakes back up refreshed. Don’t feel too sorry for him–I’m not killing the guy.
At night, as Phil is trying to get Fia to eat, I’m sitting in the living room, a glass of wine in hand, watching the news, nursing my boy. Ahhhh… this is the life!
I’m lucky to have such a hands-on husband. I don’t know what I would do if he weren’t. But I wouldn’t have married someone who didn’t look at our relationship as a partnership of equals. I will admit that the scale is tipping a bit more in my favor lately. I’m taking it–guilt free. I carried these babies for 10 months. I endured another c-section. And I know that eventually everything circles back to the mom. This is a temporary reprieve.
When Emmett’s reflux started to increase last week I panicked. Not only because I want to breastfeed him for health reasons, but for my own personal Zen. Hell, if I keep getting these kinds of breaks, I might breastfeed him until he’s 4. Or 14.
So for all you moms out there expecting baby #2, this is my big secret—use the boob. It’s survival for us. And justified because it’s also survival for your baby. Nothing wrong with that.
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babies, barf, bottle, breastfeed, breastfeeding, formula, hypnotherapy, reflux, sesame, spit up, toddler meltdown, toddlers, wine, zantac | Categories:
Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Monday, April 30th, 2012
I don’t think this milestone is for the baby book. But it did happen. Fia got in a fight at school. And unfortunately, I think she suffered the brunt of it.
Her pre-preschool called to tell me. I happened to be in my hypnotherapy session (ironic, as I’m learning peace), so Phil spoke to them. Apparently she and another girl were playing on the carpet and the teacher was at a table nearby. Next thing you know, Fia is sitting in a corner looking upset. I can’t believe she didn’t cry or scream. This is a girl who sobs for a bandaid when a pebble hits her pinkie. I think she was in a state of semi-shock.
No one actually saw what happened, but they think they were both fighting over a scarf (good god, it starts early). They think Fia may have then gone in to hug the girl… and the girl lashed out. She grabbed her nose area and did some good scratching. Not sure if her parents own nail scissors, but if not, maybe buy a pair? Then she bit her. Fia had welts on her arm from the tooth marks, but luckily it didn’t break the skin.
I know Fia’s hugging can get out of control, but since no one saw, I don’t want to jump to conclusions that that’s what was happening. The teacher had the girl apologize, and then had Fia sit in her office for comfort, where I guess she sat quietly. The picture of that breaks my heart–her little legs dangling off the chair, her head hanging low. I’m sure she was shook up and had her feelings hurt.
I don’t want to be a helicopter parent. Nor do I want to be overly dramatic, as this is probably the first of many squabbles. But I can’t help but feel like a mama bear when my baby is hurt–physically, emotionally or otherwise.
When I went to drop her off the next day, I ran right into the other girl and her dad. Thinking I’d break the ice I said, “Hey–I hear we had a little incident yesterday.” Now if that had been me, I would have bent over backwards to apologize. Instead, the dad basically shrugged his shoulders and said, “Yeah, sorry about that. Her sister also has a lot of bite marks. Must be a phase…kids bounce right back.” Whhaaattt? You give my child welts and say it’s just “a phase?” What about a little discipline? Like “Don’t do that Anne?” If there’s one thing I can’t tolerate it’s RIE parents (ie: we just like to let the kids work it out themselves…). What utter bullsh-t. In this case, I don’t even think the dad has a parenting method. He was just oblivious. My friend Cassandra wrote a horrifying blog about lack of parenting she experienced on a playdate. This must just be part of motherhood.
I don’t get it though. I want my kid to treat others well and be treated well in return. I want to teach her that biting, hitting, even hugging is wrong when it’s not welcomed. I would think that would be a universal goal.
At any rate, Fia is fine and her war wounds have healed. And if she ever does hug too hard, believe me, I’ll swoop right in and put a stop to it. Because I’m that kind of parent.
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babble, cassandra barry, first fight, girl fight, helicopter parent, hugging, hypnotherapy, peace, preschool, rie parenting, toddler bite, toddler scratch | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday, Mom Situations