Friday, June 29, 2012

When the little things don't feel like enough.



       Yesterday started off beautifully with a fresh cup of coffee, yummy breakfast i had just finish making and a chance to parooz the new southern living magazine that arrived the day prior.  I sat there peacefully for a good 20minutes. Then it hit me. That little voice inside of my head that shouts "you are wasting your day away!"  I felt like I had to get moving. I threw on a country radio station and got to work cleaning the kitchen. Two hours later it felt like I hadn't done anything worthwhile. In my mind that calls for a break from the work to reevaluate the situation. This means frisbee time with the hyper dogs.
       As I stand in my rather noisy backyard (construction on the other side of the back fence) not so gracefully tossing the frisbee to the puppies I tried to think of what I should be doing to feel more productive. I determine that I needed to really accomplish something though to get that feeling. What on earth that meant I was going to do today was beyond me.
      Defeated I walked inside with my tired pups, glanced over the room and let out a big sigh. It appeared as though my hour of work had yielded very little visible progress. Sure I had washed the dishes but the drying items made my previously straightened up counter appear cluttered again. I let out another big sigh and foraged ahead.
       I managed to clean the stove, sweep the floor, and declutter the counter tops once again. The whole while I try to tell myself that this is productive, repeating it over and over again in my head. It didn't stick.
A while later it still felt like I had done nothing. So another break it is.
       Back outside with the dogs. this time at least it's quiet enough to hear my own thoughts. The ones where everything I feel like I am doing seems so insignificant and unproductive. I unsuccessfully try to turn off my brain and enjoy my break from "work". Hmm "work" now there is concept. Is this really work I'm doing? Unenjoyable chores sure, but actual work? surely this can't be. What do I really have to show for it? I don't receive a pay check and there certainly isn't an award, merit, or promotion for cleanest kitchen by a stay at home wife. Maybe it's because it's not a conventional 9-5 job that I just don't get the same satisfaction out of the effort I am exerting. And How does June Cleaver always appear to be satisfied with taking care of the house all day? Or my self professed "I love to clean" mother in law? How do they seem get such a sense of accomplishment out of cleaning a house? Sure I love a clean house as much as the next person but I will never enjoy the process of getting it that way. The heat and my thoughts become to much so back inside we go.
       Reluctant to get back into cleaning I make a cup of coffee and sit down to meal plan and make a shopping list. I slip into a trance looking at recipes and forget what time it is. 5:15 crap, I need to prep dinner so that is ready around the time Hunter gets home from work.
       The prep work takes me an hour when I am sure it would take Hubby twenty minutes flat to complete. Oh well. I shake it off and start in on round number two of dishes. Once they are complete a once over the table to pick up few items that don't belong and I'm off to do a bit of laundry.
       Hubby calls and I start really cooking the Chicken Tortilla soup. Hunter walks through the door yells out "it smells good" and disappears into the bedroom like normal. He emerges while I am Still cooking dinner and mentions that the kitchen looks good. "what?"  "you cleaned. The kitchen. looks good sweetie."
       I survey the kitchen. "um thanks I guess.". In my head all I could think of was shouting are you blind? It looks like nothing is different than when I started late this morning! The sink is full of dish, there are even more dish on the counter drying, the stove looks a mess, and the table still isn't even cleaned off. How on earth can you even notice I cleaned. I couldn't hold it in any longer. In the politest way I could think of I blurt out, "I guess I don't see what you see.". I mean after all he did throw me a compliment and I don't want to seem ungrateful for it.
        He mentions that I did the dishes and picked up which to him I guess meant it was cleaner than when he left for work. However in my eyes It appeared that I hadn't done very much. The kitchen still looked like a mess to me.
        After eating dinner I packaged the soup up into containers, threw up my hand in defeat and walked away from my still messy kitchen.
I had done all this work and yet the kitchen is not how I set out for it to look. In fact it's no where even close to it. I felt unproductive and unsatisfied with how I spent my day. Nothing was going to convince me otherwise.


        This morning I got up, made a cup of tea and sat down in my messy kitchen once again. I got to thinking about all the work I had done to get it to its current state. The scrubbing, the moving things from A to B, even the cooking. Was it all really for nothing?
        Well I guess the dishes in the sink are at least only from last night. And while the stove is dirty again, at least the meal I cooked was yummy. And that twenty minutes I spent eating breakfast yesterday was rather enjoyable even if I didn't realize it at the time.
        Maybe just maybe I will admit that it wasnt a total loss. While I still think that the kitchen is a mess, in the light of a new day I can see the progress I made in it yesterday. I guess I'll take the small victories and walk away somewhat satisfied with that.