18 September 2012

Stressed, but not stressed

September is always a busy month for us.  Between the daily school grind, our anniversary (last Thursday, September 13), Pete's birthday (next Sunday, September 23), in-laws coming in for the birthday, teaching and tutoring (on Rich's part), car renewals being due, and just daily craziness, this is usually one of the most stressful months for me. And I'm not saying that this one isn't stressful - we've been in a money crunch the likes of which we haven't seen in a few years, thanks to classes being cancelled and poor planning on our part.  But I'm finding that I'm not as stressed as I would normally.

One of my biggest stresses is always getting my house cleaned for my in-law's visits.  We've had problems with cleanliness in the past and I never want to feel the embarrassment that the house being messy caused me again.  So I usually scrub and over-scrub for their visits, throwing my back out by pushing myself too far and then not being able to enjoy the time they're here.  But this time, I'm not finding this to be the case.

Some of it, I know, is because we've been more on top of keeping clean.  For the last month (at least), I've been keeping on top of the kitchen, the living room, the dining room and, though not as much as I would like, the bathrooms.  My bedroom got it's overhaul last week, and I've been doing my best to keep on top of it as well.  The boys' room... well, it's a boys' room.  What do you expect?  But we're working on that too.

Yesterday, I knew I needed to clean the living room.  I procrastina took care of necessary online chores instead of cleaning it during the day.  Then my friend came over with her kids and things got a bit more crazy.  When I finally put the boys' to bed (early, because they were talking back and refusing to help, though partly to make sure Teddy had a good night's sleep for his first day of the Stamford Achievement Test) I decided not to put it off any longer.  Rich was at tutoring and would be for another hour.  So now was as good of a time as any.

Not only did I finish up just as Rich was walking in the door, but I managed to schlep 3 bins upstairs, put away the things that I could (the toy bins are overflowing and need to be weeded out over the rest of the week), but I managed to get some of the organization things finished that I wanted to do.

At the front door, we all have hooks to hang our bags on.  Since Teddy's in school, his is empty.
Chore Charts for Teddy and Pete, hanging on the
back of the pantry door.  They're put
lower so they can each reach their own chart.
The family calendar with Teddy's school schedule beside it.

It's not all the organization I need to do, but it's a start.  I'm still trying to figure out the best way to make a few other things work - like a designated spot for the shoes, writing up detailed cleaning lists and keeping a Household Organization folder... but those are things for another day.  (Maybe today?)

Even now, I'm looking around my house thinking, "I've got to clean out the van, do the kitchen, bathrooms, pantry and vacuum.  And I've got 3 days to do it.  That's totally do-able." This time last year, I was stressing because I felt overwhelemed.

I think the other reason that I'm able to do more without feeling the stress I did before is that I'm in better shape than I was before.  I'm not actively dieting or exercising (though I should be), but I'm having to be more active with getting Teddy and Pete back to school, trying to keep organized and on top of things.  It's the same way I ended up losing weight in high school.  Not really "doing" anything, just making small changes I wasn't aware of.

So yeah... I'm stressed about money and how the boys are going to be doing in school, their fights and frustrations with each other.  But I've got one stress off my plate and it feels so good.