and so I cleaned

I didn’t clean for a visitor, I didn’t clean because the kids made a mess (because that is normal), I didn’t organize and call that cleaning.  I took out the antibacterial spray and paper towels and I sprayed everything and wiped everything.   Now, this may seem to be a strange thing to write about, as I am sure many do this often; 2 to 3 times a day, I am sure.  But for me, I wipe counters down with a soapy sponge hide things in the cabinets and just walk away.  Clean enough, I scoff to myself.

But today, I felt like crap.  For a few days, I had felt like crap.  Tried taking showers, still felt like crap, trying to eat less crap, never succeeding making me feel more crappy.  I would run my fingers through my hair to find many, MANY extra strands of hair falling from my head.  I would look in the mirror and see the awesome bags under my eyes, the awesome shiny, oily skin, the scraggly hair, and my own sad, reflection looking back at me.  

So, I put on my big girl pants (I actually did put on pants, it was only 60 degrees and cloudy in NC), and I went into the kitchen and I cleaned.  I got out the antibacterial multi-surface cleaner and I sprayed.  I wiped down all the countertops.  I scrubbed and scrubbed the electric stovetop.  I put away all the junk that was sitting on the counters.  I swept up the floors and made sure all the Bermuda grass that makes its way into our house was gone.

Again, this might sound silly, but the kitchen in our house is connected to the living room, which is where the kids spend most of their time.  The kitchen is where I spend most of my time, either preparing them a meal, playing on my laptop, or just standing around watching the boys.  So, if that is a cluttered mess, I absorb it.   I absorb it all, the good, the bad, or the indifferent.  I think that when you start ignoring your surroundings, you don’t realize how it impacts your body and self. 

 

I was allowing myself to slip into a bad place.  Mentally cluttering my mind with the clutter that I was allowing to form in my living space.  By cleaning up my living space, I felt as though I had cleared some of my mental space too.  I suddenly felt a sense of relief from something I didn’t realize was weighing me down.   

After the cleaning was done, the boys and I took a much-needed nature trek and enjoyed the great outdoors.  It was a good morning and afternoon of actually no fighting.  I hope to be able to clear up some more space, mentally and physically.   I am realizing my body is a sponge, and as tough as I may think I am, I can’t shut out everything all the time. 

Can we actually be the cause of how chaotic our children are?

My peaceful day with the boys, but not one minute to myself.

 

Here we are, two boys and their mother.  Hanging out in a barely furnished new home, trying to live as “normal” of a life as possible during a time of quarantine.  As each day begins, it also ends; one screaming and the other whining.  The constant fighting and bickering are more than anyone human can handle.  Only several minutes in between are filled with their laughter that quickly turns into a tug of war match over some ridiculous toy that has laid in the same spot and they haven’t touched in weeks.  Oh, and watch those moments of silence; although the silence is amazing, and it allows for the parents to do as they need; return phone calls or emails, etc., it also means they are up to something.  I have been burned several times this week during these silent moments! 

I write to all parents wondering if you find these items to be true?  Am I the only one who is losing the battle against their children in their own homes?  In an effort to change a chaotic day into a peaceful one, I put down my phone, I didn’t turn on the laptop, and I made sure to be more focused on the boys.  I made sure to let them see that I was more focused on them and allowed them the time to go off and play on their own if they wanted.  But what happened made me realize ‘maybe I hadn’t given them as much attention as I thought I had been’? 

So I played Legos with them, and I mean really played, I sat there for over an hour constructing my own little Lego garden while they put together their weapons or vehicles.  I found pieces that they needed when they couldn’t.  I showed them how to pull the pieces apart without giving up.  And most of all I showed interest.  I know this probably sounds silly to some people reading this, but think about it, when I normally play Legos, I throw together some blocks, and when I realize they are off and running I walk away and try to finish up something else I had on my to-do list. 

I also let them show me how they do things that I tell them not to do.  I may have ground my teeth the whole time, but I allowed them to show me things that made them proud of themselves.  I made sure to remind them how unsafe or how what they were doing shouldn’t be done but I at least gave them that moment of gratitude that they had been looking for.

We even baked and I read the same Dr. Seuss book three times in a row just because they asked.  It was a full day of just their needs.   I realize this is not feasible for everyone every day.  It was just sort of an “aha moment” for me.  Maybe the kids aren’t being bad because they are just bad, maybe they are being bad because they are feeling neglected?  Possibly they aren’t getting the attention they need from me?  And honestly, I believe that is what it was. 

 So all I ask is that when the moment arises when you feel your blood boiling under your skin and you are ready to run for the hills or lock the kids in a room for eternity; try breathing, try taking a step back and think of the day, think to yourself; ‘was I attentive to them enough, truly attentive?’  And you may, just maybe have your answer as to why the chaos is ensuing.  

 

Moving out of state part II

To move or not to move? That is the question…

After about 25 houses in South Carolina and North Carolina, we finally found our calling in a newly developed area that was just perfect in North Carolina!!!  New homes being built as we toured the properties, a pool and kid’s splash area, a gym, and even a coffee bar! I was in HEAVEN! 

 So deciding to move is one thing, actually moving is a completely different thing!  As mentioned we did a lot of looking, approximately three years worth of looking.  My husband would spend hours on the computer sending me information about towns, and of course, I would continue to find reasons as to why it was no good for us.  The poor guy would try so hard to show me these beautiful houses and say; ‘this could be us’, and I would turn around and say, ‘but the front door opens to the right and I prefer to the left’.  HAHA Ok, Ok, I wasn’t that ridiculous, but you get the drift!  

I couldn’t believe that he was actually able to pick up and move out of state like that.  But then as time was nearing that he would be retiring, I started to realize how serious he was about it.  

As the saying goes, ‘things happen for a reason’, things do happen for a reason.  On one of our many trips to South Carolina, we were cruising around and happen to come across an open house, so we went in.  The house was not what we were looking for, but it ended up not being a wasted trip; here we found the sweetest real estate agent.   

This woman would take time out of her already busy schedule to show us 6 to 7 houses a day since we were not local.  She would get us into houses if we just happen to come across them while walking through another house.  She was so accommodating.  

For about 2 months we did everything she could to help us, whether we were in New York or in South Carolina.  Even to the extent of going to houses for us and recording herself walking through as if giving us the tour. 

We saw several houses, most with pretty much the same layout, but we were being outbid before we could even finalize our numbers!  It was as if we hit the jackpot of complexes and people knew it! So if a house went on the market, it quickly came off!!  We had put multiple offers in on multiple houses, continuously either being outbid or out-negotiated. 

With us being back in New York, we knew we would have to take another trip down and as most of you know, flying and hotel accommodations for a family of four doesn’t come cheap.  We were very quickly racking up the credit card bills.  So again, things happen for a reason; all of a sudden, it was there, for sale, a house in our price range, in the neighborhood we wanted and pretty much the exact layout.  So, what would any sane person do?  Of course, without even taking one walkthrough we put a bid of asking price! 

Some would call us crazy, but we just knew, this was it!