Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I am on a roll, a kaiser roll

At some point to, far down the road, I am goin to stop being amazed that I am actually still doing this. Which I have just decided is today's topic.

Consistency, Habits, Routine, whatever you may call it, those things we do everyday that make us who we are, or who we are not. Of course being something I have struggled with I have given the topic much thought.

Many, many, many ideas on how to achieve these daily actions that will improve or disrupt our lives. There are books, classes, and even professional organizers who will come into your home and create habit forming spaces just for you. So obviously many people struggle with it. I myself have shelled mucho bucks on planners, planner software, planner pages, books on prioritizing, file folders, better organize my life and my time. Sadly, I always fall short and abondone said activity in the name of laziness and sheer lack of desire. Somehow I have managed to pay my bills, cook dinner, and all the other things to take you through daily life.

My first question, after all that, would be why do I desire to improve upon my current state of disarray? Secondly, is it necessarily an improvement if you are miserable or all consumed with organization that you miss the more important things, like playing with your children or reading a good book.

To answer the first question: I strive to make the improvements to be more productive. However, I have learned there is a limit to productivity if you are unwilling to sacrifice. Everyone has heard of the listing your priorities and making goals for those priorities. This is part of the Franklin Covey stuff, the big Planner/Life organizer company. I have been doing this since high school. It never really made sense or was completely applicable until recently. I learned there are several things I see other people sacrificing that I am unwilling to do. For instance, time with my son or husband. They are the first priority and any thing that doesn't fit in or conflicts with their time I simply do away with. This has consequently made me unproductive as a money maker or house cleaner.

I also strive for improvements because my mother told me to. How many of us drive ourselves into the ground to do something our parents drilled into our head as a child but conflicts with our current belief system as adults. My mother was and still is a cleaning nut! Her measure of a good wife/mother is based upon the cleanliness of the home, just like her mother, and how pretty you look. Although I know this to be untrue I learned this lesson clearly as a child. Every Saturday was spent cleaning, usually motivated by mother screaming or nagging us into completing the chores assigned. We rebelled by doing them slowly, or as a teenager arguing the illogical notion that it was my room and I could keep it however I wanted. Even though I have been out of my parents house for 11 years now, I can still hear Mom screaming and nagging when I look at the pile of dirty dishes in my sink or the unmade bed. The guilt of not pleasing her is still present. The disappointment I must be to at least part of her nags at my soul. As for looking pretty, my husband thinks I look great, and I tell myself that is all that matters. Sometimes it doesn't feel true but that is a completely separate topic for which therapy has been required.

Second question: Is it truely an improvement if you are miserable? Well, I believe that depends on what you are improving. If you are trying to quit smoking, eat more healthy, or exercising and it will save your life, then yes it is an improvement and will eventually not be miserable. However, I believe I am speaking of more subjective things, such as how often you clean your bathroom or vacuum the floor. I have recently been exploring my limit to how long I can go without cleaning the "house". It was longer but the presence of my son has lowered my tolerance for dirty floors and bathrooms. I am still uncertain of the exact limit. IT is often confused with boughts of depression and stress, but I am determined to prevail and discover my true limits and not default to my mother's.

My long thought theory on how, why, and when we form our habits/routines and the level of consistency we maintain with them is fairly simple. (This is a little Dr. Phil, but...) Our childhood combined with the reward we receive compels us to continue repeating these activities.

SOOOOOOO, blogging is apparently rewarding. It is something my mother has never done so she can have no influence in the arena, nor do I let her read this. I receive much needed venting and mental exercise. I also feel I have accomplished something toward my goal of self-improvement. I get a gold star for today!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kenna,

    I am probably old enough to be your mother, but since my children are ages 21 down to 4, I am still where you are, to some degree. I struggle often with how to get everything done, and frustration and despair because I am so far behind in many areas.

    Aside from making lists and prioritizing them, the best advice I have received is this...

    When you look back on today, look at what you DID accomplish, not what you didn't.


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