Last week I had a hotel room all to myself. Before you get too jealous, the only thing I really did in that room was sleep and study, so it was not some fancy vacation where I went to recharge. What it was though was a chance to reconnect with myself, and while that was great in many ways, it was also a bit eye-opening. Typically, I enjoy my own company. Maybe it’s being a bit of an over-scheduler, maybe it’s just that being a mom of three means there is a lot of noise in my day to day life that tends to drown out any thoughts I may have. Whatever the case, I enjoy a little quiet time to actually pay attention to my own self.
This time was no exception, but in addition to listening to my own self, I also had to live with my own self and it turns out I can be a bit of a pain. Turns out, I’m kind of a slob. Oh, I do hate clutter and there are areas that must remain OCD level neat at all times (bathroom counters) but overall, I might be categorized as a hot mess. One afternoon (before housekeeping came) I came in to grab something and realized the clothes from the night before were in a pile on the floor-exactly where I stepped out of them. And the bathroom floor was covered in towels that I threw in there to get them off the bedroom floor. Oh, and my desk? So full of technology gadgets/cords, water bottles and school papers you could barely see the surface of the desk. Poor cleaning crew!
I’m sure this wasn’t a hotel-room anomaly. My bedroom and whatever surface functions as my desk at any given time (kitchen table, dining room table, bed-damn laptops make my mess that much harder to contain!) are exactly like this at home. I’m also sure this probably drives my husband crazy. I know this because there was the “Great Stevia Packet Incident of Aught Eight” that helped me see the light. The Husband had the nerve to point out that perfect little me actually did something every day that was slowly driving him insane. I left my fake-sugar packets next to the coffee pot every morning and didn’t clean them up until the dinner dishes were being done. I come from a long line of kitchen slobs. My mother passed down the “clean once at the end of the day” philosophy and I’ve stuck with it. Up until that conversation with The Husband, I had never considered this way might not work for him. That perhaps he had not inherited the gene that allows you to ignore the mess until there is time in the day to take care of it had never occurred to me. It’s a fantastic gene, but if it is absent in a person, there may be trouble.
Last week, in addition to being alerted to my pig-sty tendencies, I also learned a lot about marriage. When you spend a week in intense mental health counseling experiences, the topic of love and marriage comes up quite a bit. I learned what we all know to be true; falling in love is a chemical reaction, staying in love takes a lot of hard work.What I’ve learned through experience is that often that work needs to come after holding a mirror to yourself. Sure, you can communicate well and be tolerant of your partner’s stuff, but what really works to make a relationship work is recognizing you have plenty of your own stuff and taking care of it will benefit both your partner and yourself.
So, honey, I’ll be sure to work harder at picking up after myself now. I’ll throw away the sugar packets (most days). I’ll try to tidy more than once a day and I’ll be sure my clothes hit the hamper as soon as I take them off, not only on laundry day.
Well, maybe I’ll leave out the red heels and underthings. For you, of course. I am a giver after all. <wink>
This post was inspired by the novel The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger. In the book, young lawyer Sophie unwillingly takes her first divorce case with an entertaining and sometimes recognizable client. The story in this novel is told mostly through letters and legal missives which makes for a fascinating read. Join From Left to Write on March 18 we discuss The Divorce Papers. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.