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The quote that changed my thinking
In my recovery, there are a few things that have transpired. What once looked like obvious addiction has now taken on a whole new image. Needless to say, the dressing room looks different and the styles have changed up. I guess that’s why they describe the disease of addiction with words like cunning, insidious, and baffling.
My nights resemble an exhausted mom binge-watching the latest TV shows on Netflix, attempting to drown out the incessant chatter and the unshakable emotions of guilt and failure that follow.
The louder the volume, the more quiet the voice. So on max volume, we go! And there I am, getting lost behind yet another show until the wee hours of the morning. Only to feel more guilt and failure the next day.
Something was different about this particular show though because I related so much to the emotions of the main character. Aside from trying to escape an abusive relationship, she loved her child more than anything in the world.
One night I heard something that hit me right in my feelings. It was something that I needed to hear without even knowing it.
Our space is home because we love eachother in it.
I cried uncontrollably thinking about how often I cared too much about meaningless things. The meaningless and temporary things at that. Those things eventually won’t matter when I am no longer here. Yet, drive me crazy, to say the least.
I cried, revisiting scenes in my head of the times I yelled at my children.
One time being, the mess they constantly leave behind for me to clean up. No matter how often I encourage them and attempt to teach them how to clean up after themselves…I usually find myself compulsively going behind their work and doing the job “right.”
Which leaves me feeling exhausted and resentful.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting my house to be clean. But, I think the problem is, I expect it to stay clean.
That is what I see now as a case of insanity at its finest.
I know that I am setting myself up for failure when I create these expectations of my children but the set up lies in me actually believing that they’ll follow through.
In my mind, I remind myself of Elastic girl from The Incredibles to be what I perceive as “multi-tasking” (more like basking in insanity) in order to keep my world here from crumbling. Realistically, it’s more like chugging down strong coffee or unhealthy energy drinks in my pursuits to get it all done.
mothers work is always undone
It’s insane to think that I will ever be “done” with anything around here. Let’s face it. Nothing is ever done. It’s undone but never done.
So, instead of allowing myself to go absolutely insane over people and things in my household (that I have zero control over), I decided to stop trying to be done.
Nothing is ever done.
And the person that said, “A mother’s work is never done.” forgot one important prefix.
So, I made the new and latest version that feels more fitting.
A mother’s work is always undone.
I’ll take the credit for now.
It was a long day of housework, homeschooling, and cooking. I was pooped by the end of the day and it was only 7:30 pm. Usually, I find myself waking up by then and soaring into my room like a free bird excited to find respite behind my 45-inch flat-screen TV and binge.
Instead, I was ready for some much-needed sleep. The house was clean and I felt proud that I had “done it all.”
Then my toddler came and made it rain with magnet letters all over the floor to just staring at me and laughing as I glared at him waiting on his next move. Would he play with these letters now? Of course not. Would he actually put them back in the box? Hell no.
One long day of working myself to the bone left me with little energy. So, instead of getting up to pick up the alphabetical mess on the floor, I sat there with nothing left but apathy and exhaustion.
As I took turns glaring at my toddler and then back at the mess he created I found myself getting lost in a trance within the letters.
Then it hit me.
FUCK THE MESS! I could envision the letters moving from scrambles to scrabble and out-read those exact words.
From that moment on, I have decided not to drive myself crazy anymore. I realized that I had been slaving myself away on tasks that were not going to end anyway.
The insanity of it all left me feeling depleted and depressed.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I don’t clean anymore. I am simply saying that some things can wait. I don’t have to do laundry every day. There are solutions that I can apply to my life in order to not feel so burnt out and keep my sanity intact.
I mean, why play with the insanity that has been restored only to throw it away over the futility of cleaning certain messes?
time for everything
I never had any time for anything. I always said that I will “get around to it” or “not now” and the famous “maybe later” as a response to my children that needed my attention and support.
I felt overwhelmed by the mess that I could never seem to catch up with and complete.
Today I understand that the belief of “achieving completion” is broken.
Instead, I have to make time for my priorities. Let’s face it, cleaning up the toys isn’t one of them.
Not to mention that the last thing I want my children to say about me when they grow up (when asked about their fondest memory of me) is: “My mom sure knew how to clean house!”
I want them to be kids while they’re still kids. Make messes that they can help me clean at the end of the day. Cause let’s face it, it was me trying to do it alone that has caused me to feel the most defeated.
Accepting that my children are simply children, asking for help, and quitting my need for perfection has been truly freeing.
Now that my long to-do lists have been shortened, I have time to spend with my children.
Everything has a time and a place.
Each problem holds a solution. The biggest hurdle in getting over each one is actually figuring out which solution fits.
The solution to limiting my to-do lists
Laundry: The bane of my existence
Eventually, something has got to give in accordance with how children handle their clothes. Instead of waiting for them to figure it out, I took it upon myself to hold onto their clothes until that time comes. Instead of giving them the opportunity to change into eight to ten outfits every day, I keep two separate bins for them under my bed with their clothes folded and hand them out at shower time. Not only has this helped me to limit the number of clothes I wash but it saved me so much time.
Also, I don’t do my laundry every day anymore. I choose to do it only on weekends. Along with all of the other deep cleaning that needs to be done.
Cleaning during the week has simplified
Now I spend my weekdays cleaning only between meals. Making sure that my kids do school and that everyone is cleaned up before bed. Occasionally, I will sweep and pick up trash but for the most part, I have agreed to say “fuck the mess” and challenge myself to focus on my sanity.
Where I was once overwhelmed by the mess, I now feel a great sense of freedom. It doesn’t control how I feel about myself anymore.
I’m not a prisoner anymore.
Instead, I have found solutions that work. Thanks to my husband that has helped me to figure out means and ways to make my life more manageable. The truth is, I couldn’t do what I do without his help. He has seen me struggle for such a long time with trying to keep it all together and has made many suggestions in order for me to live a peaceful life.
I have finally taken them in the midst of me losing my mind and through that, I found peace again by accepting that I am not perfect, I don’t have to be and neither does my house.
Our home is not a home because it’s clean. It is a home because you can tell that children live and play here.
And I am learning to be okay with that One day at a time.
I haven’t figured it all out just yet and, I doubt that I ever will but this is a start.
I hope you too dare try to say “fuck the mess” just for today and see the meaning of life — cause I will tell you, it’s not in a rag.
The post Fuck The Mess: One mom’s epiphany to sanity first appeared on Addict Named Mom.