Updated: Apr 14, 2020
23rd September, 2018
Well, I said in Thursday's blog I was ready for coming home, but it turns out I'm home and feeling a bit 'bluesy'. Having done some of the 11 days' washing that faces me and lots of the folding away of clothes, I feel pretty flat. There's still a lot of washing and I've also been trying to make a dent in the Declutterthon. I thought I'd be happier to come home to my cosy house and my usual routine. But I've been hit by the post-holiday blues. I want to be amongst the trees again.
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Well, I've gone from feeling a bit post-holiday bluesy to post-holiday Really Stressed Out and Depressed. It started with the usual Sunday morning manic pre-Mass dash. Why don't I learn? Every Sunday it's the same. I race against the clock somewhere between 10 and 11am to get ready, put the children in the buggy and get out of the door. We always arrive in time for the first hymn but every week I make a mental note to prepare things the evening before so it doesn't happen next time and I'll thus have time to brush my hair. Today was particularly bad because Isaac was up in the night and so we both went back to sleep this morning and woke about 10, me with a headache and feeling vague panic. Oh well. Such is life.
I've been reflecting on the feeling of being in the home a lot. When I was teaching, I longed for days when I could be at home with children, like my mum was. And I do find it preferable to the teaching days and the fast pace therein. But the reality is not what I thought and it's an interesting phenomenon. I used to think that being in the home so much would be so cosy and relaxed; I envisaged cups of tea and little spates on the sofa with a book and children giggling in the background, eating homemade jam. What I didn't realise - and it's something I talked about with my sister, who works from home - is that when you're at home all the time you are confronted and surrounded by constant jobs. As I look around, the jobs seem to look at me with a fresh hostility since I got back from Centre Parcs: jobs that I meant to do yesterday, jobs that I meant to do last week, jobs from last year, or the first year we moved in.
I didn't know it was such a skill to learn to relax at home, when I'm in it the majority of the time, and to learn to both live with these undone jobs and summon the motivation to chip away at them. I often live by my Timer Method - I stick the timer on for, say, 9 minutes and tackle whatever job needs doing. That seems to help.
Since coming home, I've been fixated on getting rid of stuff. It's all I can think about. Every room I'm in now I scour to see what can go - and when can I do it? I'm operating as though the main point of existence is to get rid of things. Tomorrow's a busy day, but should I pack the car up with stuff to drop off? Or should I prioritise food, since the fridge is empty?? (Food. That's another daily mountain to climb...). I even woke up this morning feeling stressed at the idea that Christmas is only a few months away and we'll get even MORE stuff coming in so I really need to get stuff out now. What a way to live!
I never thought I'd find being at home so often difficult because of this. I don't know how you learn the ability to switch off and enjoy being in the house, regardless of the jobs surrounding you on all sides. I do find one way is to write a list of things to do - and then they are somehow externalised and I can switch off for a bit. Writing my list of jobs is always my first step to getting any of them done, anyway. If it doesn't make it to the list it never gets done. Just seems to be how I'm wired.
But yes, I've come home and felt a new heaviness at the feeling of 'domestic drudgery.' And I think that's why getting away from it all does so much good. I hadn't quite realised how much the weight on my shoulders was a domestic one.
On a 'lighter' note, Gracie really enjoyed being part of the Harvest Festival procession at Mass today, as she carried her box of Cup a Soup down the aisle. She was very pleased with herself and it was interesting to note she didn't hold back and stay at the back of the line, where she'd started off, but sort of bustled herself to the front, overtaking people. And she had no qualms, either, about sitting in front of the entire congregation, with all the other children, for the homily. I don't think self-consciousness is part of her personality. I do really feel she is fitted for the stage.
Right. I have to pull myself out of this doom and gloom and accept the jobs which lie before me, holding onto something of the inspiration I felt at our cabin to simplify, simplify, simplify...I don't know why, but I'm sure there's a kind of freedom lying on the other side of this Battle Against the Stuff.