Finding the freedom of defining your own priorities and chucking the rest.
Yesterday. It was nearly 5pm, I was under the gun with a work project. My three and a half year-old, Ivy, was being unusually high-maintenance. The dogs were being insanely rowdy. Our house was (and still is) a mess. Western stand-off music played in my head as I walked from the living room to the kitchen and tumbleweeds of dog hair rolled by. Ivy’s underpants that I washed and folded three days ago are now scattered across the rug on the floor. Endless mugs of unfinished coffee cover my kitchen island.
When my husband came home, he grabbed the dogs and took them for a walk, so I could finish my work. I finished up and, as they were still gone, I grabbed a glass of red wine and went upstairs to do something I never, ever do: take a hot bath. I made a glorious, sudsy oasis (using dish soap, of course, because we have no bubble bath) and was about to step in when Ivy appeared behind me, back from what felt like the quickest walk in history.
“You takin’ a bath, Mom?”
She looks over my shoulder and observes my glass, “You havin’ wine?”
“Ok. Did you want one of my bath toys?”
I just started laughing. As much as I want my alone time, who can be annoyed with a tiny human offering you her bath toys?
So, she stayed in the bathroom with me — and played with her bath toys from the other side of the tub — while I just sat there, sipping my wine and washing off the day.
Some days are harder than others. For all of us. But, yesterday as I sat working — still in my pajamas with unbrushed teeth at 5pm — I looked around my chaotic, messy, home and I just said to myself:
Chuck it in the f*ck it bucket.
My husband is right: You’re not expected to do it all. But, even more importantly, sometimes you don’t even have to do half of it.
- Laundry: It gets done (on my end) in this house when I’ve officially run out of jeans or good underwear. Chuck it.
- Cleaning: My husband often sings out “Nothing cleans like company!” when we are expecting people over, because that’s usually the only time we thoroughly clean this home. Chuck it.
- Ivy doesn’t seem to be phasing out of her I am terrified of everyone except my immediate family phase. She hisses at people in the grocery store and clamps her hands over her eyes when anyone looks at her. Because I have run out of excuses, I no longer make apologizes. so I basically just look like I’m raising a total asshole Chuck it.
- I’m sure there are moms out there who just read the above and think I am raising a total asshole. Chuck it.
- Willow, our dog, is digging holes all over our backyard and nothing seems to stop her. Chuck it.
- I’ve killed every plant in this house out of pure neglect because unless you are a toddler telling me you are hungry 57 times a day or a dog nudging me incessantly at meal time, I can’t be in charge of your livelihood. Chuck it.
- I watched four bananas die a slow painful death on my counter and I didn’t even make banana bread. Chuck it.
- We are retraining Ivy to sleep in her bed, because she’s suddenly scared of everything. I have done an army crawl out of her bedroom more often than I care to admit. Chuck it.
- I owe about 50 friends, family, etc. emails, return texts, messages, etc. and I don’t even know where to begin. Chuck it.
- At all times, I feel like I have 50 balls up in the air — and I only catch about 7. The rest land on my head. Chuck it.
- And, lastly, it is guaranteed I will have more than one person read this post and think, “You think that’s bad, try having….” CHUCK YOU!
Here’s the thing: as much as we are all in this thing together, we are all in this thing alone. So, decide for yourself what you want to throw in the f*ck it bucket. It’s YOUR f*ck it bucket and you can do whatever you want with it! That’s the beauty.
You may care about a clean house more than I do (for the record, I think everyone on earth cares more about a clean house than I do). But I’m of the mind that as long as you are not living in filth that qualifies for a social services well-being check, you’re a winner in my book!
We all have things that appear higher on the list of priorities than others. And everyone gets to decide what tops their list. A word to the wise: keep your eyes on your own list. What matters to others may not matter at all to you — so don’t let other people’s priorities trick you into thinking they should be yours as well.
And maybe consider chucking all of those “How to…” articles in your bucket as well. Then start a running dialog in your head that begins with “How I…”
Originally published at lemonsintovodka.com on October 27, 2016.