Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Trigger" Tasks

I was reading the blog over at LargerFamilies.com. Meagan Francis was talking about "must-dos" around the house. Basically, her assessment was that there are certain chores and/or areas around the house that a person finds particularly important, and when they are not done to liking, it can lead to a lot of stress.

Now, this is something I have realized about myself for years. It's something my husband is aware of (about me), since he has seen my mood turn from day to night in the course of a few minutes when my must-dos are not done. However, I found the timing of Meagan's particularly funny since I had just talked about this very thing with my daughter last week.

For me, it's not so much a "must-do" but a "trigger" (though Meagan does actually refer to them as such in her post). I guess the difference is that I don't necessarily need to do them myself. I'll admit, there was a point in time where I would obsess on how a certain task was done--I really wanted it done a particular way and would freak if it wasn't done right. However, for my own sanity, I have let go of a lot of that. There are still moments I will go and re-do a chore someone did because I want it done a certain way, but for the mostpart I'm okay with a noble effort. If something is not done at all, that's another thing, and definitely triggers me.

I work out of the home. With a husband out of work, I'm now the sole breadwinner. I'm simply not home during the day, and thus my house never reaches a state of clean I like it to be. That said, I have accepted the fact that I have 8 kids. I'm really okay with a home that looks "lived in." I have resigned myself to the fact there is always going to be a level of clutter. Dirty laundry, a sinkful of dishes, toys all over my bed...I can handle that. However, if I come home to a messy living room, watch out. On the flip side, the house can look like a tornado hit it, but if the living room is tidy, I'm all smiles...mostly.

Last week I came home to find another cyclone had breezed through the front room. As the kids were still cowering from my wrath, the conversation I had with my daughter was pretty funny. I simply said to her, "You know that I flip out over a dirty living room. You would think it would make YOUR life easier if you had it clean every day when I got home."

Tht next day it was clean when I came home. The following day it was a mess.

Another thing that bugs me are messy floors. I can live with clutter, as long as I can walk through a room. I mean, the bathroom is a prime example. I honestly don't care if the sink is messy, but I hate coming in to find clothes all over and empty toilet paper tubes strewn around. I mean, the hamper is right there and the garbage can is over there. No excuse. My problem is, I refuse to pick it up--I want my kids to. Unfortunately, that means me getting upset every time I go in there and still see it a mess. *sigh*

Despite the occasional blowing of my top, I have to admit things are getting easier around the homefront. My kids are getting older and they are better at cleaning independently. They don't mind (much) pitching in. Plus, they really are starting to figure out that doing a little to keep certain areas tidy can save a lot of stress--on both our parts--later.

So, do you have any household triggers? And on the flip-side, what part of the house can be a mess and it *doesn't* freak you out? For me, it's my bedroom. Why? Because it is always the catch-all and I am used to it being messy. In fact, I'm more surprised when it stays clean for any length of time!

***Edited to add: I don't know how it happened, but Blogger posted an older version of this entry where the last line was cut-off. Have to admit, I'm usually bad about proofing and typos. However, this time I really read and re-read to make sure it was clean, and then Blogger goes and does me in! Sorry!***