Dear Home-Ec 101,
I just moved. There are boxes to the left of me, boxes to the right and here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
The house is pretty much a wreck and will be for some time until I can budget for the repairs.
I don’t know where to find the energy. I don’t know where to start.
The worst part? I started this website where people turn to me for advice and if they only knew. . .
Oh, Heather, Heather, Heather¹ what will I do with you?
So what if they know. What are they going to do? Write about it on some other website where people in different circumstances can giggle about it? Who cares?
You’re farther than you think. You only have one last load of stuff to get from the previous house and most of that stuff isn’t even coming to this house. You are just in that annoying place where it feels like the more you do the bigger mess you’re making. It will get better.
Set a timer.
And for fifteen minutes do things that will let you actually put away other things. Clear off the shelves in the laundry room so you can put away the canned goods instead of tripping over them.
Decide on a dishwasher already so you can have it installed and actually be able to put dishes away. Or maybe suck it up and install it yourself this weekend.
Call your stepbrother and make him commit to picking up the dining room table so you can set yours up. If he won’t commit put it in the yard and on Craigslist. Then at least you won’t look like you’re living in a bar after last call.
Ask for help to put the bunkbeds together. They aren’t magically going to do it themselves and you -no matter what you tell yourself- are not strong enough to do it yourself. But, you do have to actually ask.
Good enough is good enough. The kids aren’t going to care that you had takeout for a week straight or that you made them eat off of paper plates until the dishwasher was installed. Some people will judge, but it wasn’t their decision.
The kids are going to remember that they helped you fix the drain under the sink. They are going to remember that you let them help paint their rooms. They are going to remember the bonfire you’ll have to clear out the yard debris.
They are going to learn that it’s okay to live in a house that needs a lot of work. Well, they will as long as they see you doing the work -and while they will whine about it now, they’ll be glad they helped. They will eventually feel pride in ownership. And if they don’t, play the mom guilt card, that’s why you had kids, isn’t it?
The kids are also going to learn that if you don’t like the way things are that you make an effort and change them.
You just can’t keep letting every obstacle send you back to the start. It’s annoying and I’m tired of you whining about it.
Get off your butt and make those phone calls and see if you can’t at least get two boxes sorted out before you have to get the kids from school.
And hey, Heather, cut yourself some slack. None of this will matter in six months.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
¹If you’re a child of the seventies or eighties, you wouldn’t even blink at the idea of a Heather addressing another Heather. In fact, growing up in this very neighborhood, my best friend was Heather. She lived just around the corner and we were inseparable for years.
(I decided to let y’all in on some internal dialogue rather than sitting here and thinking I should write, I should clean, I should work, I should, I should, I should. So I did. Things are getting better, even if from the outside it looks a whole lot messier.)