I freely admit I was never a housecleaning fanatic.
With a busy family, a small farm and mountains of paper, pencils and books scattered around I was content if the most obvious dirt was swept up and the sink free of dishes.
But, I DID have a routine. I DID clean my bathrooms and wash clothes and make beds and vacuum the rugs on a regular basis.
Even all this time after Dominic ran ahead to heaven, I have not reestablished any kind of rhythm to keeping house, making meals or doing the most basic, necessary chores.
And I don’t really know why.
I’m not overly busy. I’m not doing other things that keep me away from the necessary things.
In fact, sometimes I actually sit down for what I think will be a few minutes only to find a couple hours have raced by while I was doing nothing. That NEVER happened before.
I was a dynamo from the time I woke in the morning until evening-moving, moving, moving. I certainly still have plenty I COULD do, but not so much that I WANT to do.
I’ve pondered, “Why?” and only been able to come up with a single answer: Grief is WORK. And apparently I only have so much energy to divide between what I need to do (grief work) and what I’d like to do (clean my house, etc.).
The hours I spend “doing nothing” are actually hours spent working through feelings, thoughts, spiritual conundrums and rediscovering who I am in light of what has happened.
So I’m learning to cut corners and give myself a break. Because it doesn’t appear that my get-up-and-go is coming back anytime soon.
Here are some practical things I’ve been doing to make daily life work:
I’ve adjusted my standards. I have a minimal acceptable standard and apply that to my home and myself instead of trying to live up to “what others want me to do/be”. For me, it means no germy surfaces, clutter free places to sit and eat, wiped down bathrooms and clean clothes for the day.
Anything over that is a bonus!
I take shortcuts. Paper goods for meals to cut down on dishes. Easy menus for dinners (lots of crockpot recipes). I keep paper towels and cleaner in each bathroom and wipe down when I’m in there for something else instead of making “clean the bathrooms” a separate chore.
I have baskets to catch wayward items and carry them upstairs all at once or just leave them in the baskets. I wash clothes but don’t worry if I get them folded. I bought more underwear and socks so washing isn’t an emergency.
I don’t apologize when someone stops by and things aren’t as tidy as they used to be or I wish they were.
I won’t waste emotional energy on worrying about what they think.
And when I find that I’m sitting down, pondering some aspect of loss or life or love, I lean in and do it. I grab my computer or a journal and write out what’s running through my head.
Because that’s the more important work right now.