Dear Home Ec 101,
I’m overwhelmed. There’s stuff everywhere, I was late to work again, there’s no food in the house, it’s hot, the kids are cranky, and my butt hurts.
Not really a single reader, but a compilation of about 30 conversations over the past few weeks
Dude. I feel your pain, well maybe not the butt part. Let’s start with the bad news, this isn’t a one day fix, sorry. The good news is that there is hope.
Being overwhelmed sucks.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s by a new work project or your home life, that overwhelmed feeling is soul crushing. The extra annoying part, whatever seems to be the problem, isn’t actually causing that feeling of helplessness.
The real problem is inertia.
When you stand at the base of the mount of crap to do, it looks deceptively large. It’s way too easy to fix another bag of popcorn and watch another reality show than to take action.
Today your job is to take one step toward the solution.
If you have too much clutter and junk in your home, today one box or bag will go out. Still no clue where to start?
What about clearing off the bathroom vanity, your nightstand, the kitchen counter, the table, that place near the door where everyone dumps their crap. Pick one.
But Heather, one bag won’t make a difference. Sorry to disagree, but one bag does make a difference, you just might not be able to see it. Today’s bag isn’t the only one. Another bag will go out tomorrow. Today that first bag needs to leave the house, whether it’s via the trash, recycling, or sitting in your trunk waiting for the next time a GoodWill or other donation center is on your route.
Why were you late to work?
Couldn’t find your keys? Your uniform or clothes weren’t clean? Today the keys get a designated hook or bowl, the uniform or clothing is ready before bed tonight. Traffic snarl? Leave earlier next time. If you’re consistently five minutes late, most people interpret it as apathy or disrespect. They really don’t care about the whys. Keep a book in the car, it won’t kill you to be five minutes early from time to time.
No food in the house?
Stop that cycle. Take inventory of your fridge and cupboards. Dispose of the science projects and expired foods that fool you into putting off a trip to the store, just one more day.
No, well then maybe you do need to go to the store, but start by menu planning. It doesn’t have to be rigid, but a framework prevents the 5:30 refrigerator stare.
Cranky kids? Well, if they are healthy and get enough rest, they are frequently reflecting the stress and misery you are projecting. Rein it in, get help for yourself -medical if necessary- first. Get your house in order literally and figuratively and eventually some of the bickering dissipates. (Not all of it, kids squabble by nature).
The heat, wait a few months and you can complain about being cold. The butt hurting? Well, you’re own with that.
So for the TL:DR crowd, we all get that way. Sitting around and complaining about the problem only allows it to grow. Get up and do something. Do anything productive today and tonight there will be less guilt. Don’t judge your progress by looking at the mountain ahead. Celebrate the small accomplishments. It’s discouraging that atta-boys (and girls) are often far and few between. I may not know you, but I know what discouragement feels like and I am pulling for you. Hang in there.