Sunday, January 27, 2008

Maybe It Is Just My Nature

I've been thinking a lot about myself lately... and no not in a narcissistic fashion. A couple weeks ago I posted about recognizing that cleaning is not my priority and coming to terms with that being a choice I make and trying to see it less as a failure to do my "job" and more a reflection of my deeply felt beliefs. Well I'm kind of going through the same thing with my manic-ness. I'm not really sure manic is the exact right term but I can't think of another word that basically represents the antithesis of calm. I think manic is a fairly loaded word and I really am talking more about energy levels and antsy-ness.

Here is the thing... I DON'T SIT STILL. Ever wonder how I can pump out so many weekly posts and still manage to shoot 10 freaking YouTube videos a day?!? Well I'm never just taking a breather. As soon as I sit down to do so (like right now) I'm back up grabbing my camera or laptop and putting more of my crazy thoughts out there. Maybe I need to do that to get my head a little more clear before I can relax. But somehow one thing leads to another and I never did sit down and finish that next chapter... or all the cookbooks I got from the library... or the cheap magazines I got at the grocery store.

For a while now I've been drawn to Waldorf philosophy. My brother's girls go to a Waldorf school and their mother was a teacher there. Her house is so clean and calm and devoid of clutter. And I always leave thinking that I want some of that... kind of. I leave thinking I should want it.... and maybe feeling a little less than because I don't. I read a great book this past fall. And the author (who is also clearly influenced by the Waldorf culture) was struggling/succeeding in trying to have a more peaceful meaningful life. I absolutely believe that many of the Waldorf beliefs can help you have that... but I'm realizing more and more that it is just not a fit for me. And on many fronts we already do many of the things that they emphasize.

What I'm coming to terms with (and hey maybe this is a 30s thing) is the parts of my personality that I enjoy and/or bring the most joy. And people many manic zaniness is definitely one of those things. Would type of family memories would my girls have if I was calm and sat in a chair and read a book? Would they be more fulfilling or rewarding or happy memories than the ones they'll have of me doing my acrobatic preformances or trying to shove toys down Mr F's pants while he's doing dishes?

I crave the calm because I'm not. I'm not calm because I had an unstable childhood... I do get that. But I'm no longer so sure calm is better. We're not crazy yellers or anything. We all eat dinner together every night with cloth napkins (that's a little Waldorf for you). But we are crazy. And although I'm sure Kid would enjoy if I sat on the couch and snuggled a bit more... you should see the gleam she gets in her eye when I'm doing something so off-the-wall and childlike.

I think I'm coming into myself more and starting to see myself for the choices I make and less for the choices I don't make.

One More YouTube Video (it's short! and relevant)


Amy said...

i consider myself a relatively organized person pretty devoid of clutter. but in answer to your question, No, it's not easy to relax. I don't organize just for somethign to do though. I have a list of things I need to do each day to stay. I realized there's got to be a balance. So now I don't fill up the whole day with tasks. I try to get my list done, then one or two of the other stuff, then I try to relax for at least a few minutes a day or at the end of the day or whatever. Course I am NOT tired. i do NOT have a baby anymore. I have ONE child. I think these factors make a big difference. And...for me, I've found the computer is a HUGE time waster.

emmyjw said...

I think it may be just who you are.I can't just sit and watch TV either.Have to be exercising or running in and out of the room 57 times for dishes,laundry,wiping Ella's butt etc...Nolan can sit in the middle of a mess and relax no problem.I have found that even the few times I do get things clean I have to find something else to do.I have been pretty chronically sleep deprived most of my life as a mom,so 15 years.The thing is even on nights when they all sleep and nobody wakes me up,I wake up anyways and toos and turn or stare at the ceiling.I also can't nap,nice thought,but I just cannot do it. My house is a sort of controlled chaos and I really think it's OK.We are the same type of parents,cosleeping,homeschooling,all about the kids and they seem to be thriving.I drive myself nuts sometimes though because I think I should be more productive instead of just moving all the time.About Baby,Rainee got her teeth really late and was a terrible sleeper until they all popped through :(

Amy said...

oh my! part of my comment was totally deleted. sorry. what i tried to say was that there's alist of things i do each day to try to say "caught up" and then when that's done, I have a list of things that, like you, torment me. for about 6 months at one point in my life, those other thins drove me crazy and I'd work like mad all day long on them leaving no time for myself! it was awful and i felt so unfulfilled even though i got so much done! That's when i ...realized there's got to be a a balance... sorry all that got deleted.

Torey said...

It's never going to be all done. You could spend all day getting everything "done", have no down time, and in the morning, you'll have to start all over. There are always meals to be cooked, dishes to be done, paper to be sorted, etc, etc, etc.

So, no. I don't think that if you were organized and on top of things you would be able to relax. Because there is always more. And the things that you do when you're NOT relaxing aren't the things that "need" to be done. Even if everything were organized and done, you could still post a video. You could still warm up your coffee.

I think that if you feel like you need to relax, you need to make it a priority. Take some time to yourself, in a place where there is nothing else. Like the shower, or the car. Or maybe relaxing for you is going to Target by yourself and visiting Starbucks. . .

You don't have to sit still to relax.

Mrs. Furious said...

some great points..
" Even if everything were organized and done, you could still post a video. You could still warm up your coffee. "
indeed. Mr F was just saying after watching the video "You're crazy... you're addicted to the blog" and my response was the blog is just the thing I'm doing now... if not the blog I would be on the phone or baking or shopping or whatever.

"You don't have to sit still to relax"
I think that is why I like my treadmill workout... it is the only time I'm really not thinking about other stuff. Maybe I'll go workout...

The computer is absolutely a big time waster... but as I noted to Torey I'm adept at wasting time and would just be doing something else.
And I like your point that you did bust your ass to do it all and your were still unfulfilled.

I think my issues have definitely been exacerbated by the sleep deprivation. It seems like an inverse reaction but for sure I'm more manic and crazy the less sleep I get... I guess my ability to focus is greatly reduced... and the amount of stuff I need to do increases.
One of these years I get a full nights sleep and then who knows... maybe I'll be able to relax.

Preppy Mama said...

What really is relaxing? Seriously, I have no idea what it actually means. In my mind I picture a person sitting in a comfortable chair reading a great book with a cup of tea and no one else around. Is it ever like that in your house because it certainly isn't at mine. I am a mover like you, I constantly have to be doing something or I either feel guilty or lazy. I couldn't watch T.V. if I tried, but I like it or music on because I need noise even though I am always wanting quiet!
Its so weird. I am pretty much organized and neat. I have a schedule that I go by that keeps my nuttiness at bay. I could clean my house everyday until the cows come home but it doesn't do me any good. My son wrecks it in two minutes. I save Fridays for that and laundry as well. I swear I could do laundry all day but I give myself one day so that other days I just focus on one thing at a time. Yes, friday is like 5 loads, but that is what I am focussed on that day. My son is two and he hasn't slept in 2 years!! I feel your pain. He still wakes up every two hours and I stopped breast feeding when he was 3 months old. I keep busy to keep sane! I think its just who we are.

Mrs. Furious said...

Preppy Mama,
"In my mind I picture a person sitting in a comfortable chair reading a great book with a cup of tea and no one else around"
lol... yep that is what I picture too.

Kid never slept through until she was 3. From then on it has been great. She always woke up every 2-3 hours until then. So I was prepared for this. I could handle 2-3 hours... and I'm hoping once the teeth come through and we get out of cold-flu season then I'll finally get a LITTLE sleep. So maybe sometime this summer....

Feener said...

i am not organized, i do spend a lot of time with my girls and believe in going out for lunch with family instead of staying home and cleaning.

however, i am a big relaxer. i NEED downtime. My head hurts and my brain can not function unless i get some relaxing time. i consider blogging relaxing is my time, i also watch tv at night a LOT and truly enjoy it. i also like to read at night. if we do a bunch of stuff on a weekend, ie. trip to the zoo then lunch. when i get home, i need to SIT and veg, i can not get home and start up anything. at least for a good 15 minutes.
not sure that helps but ....

Mrs. Furious said...

Before I had Baby I was a lot more like that. Well at least I was in between the time Kid started sleeping through the night and I had Baby (so about 1.5 years). I'm thinking it is the sleep deprivation that is making me crazy. I did make Mr F take the girls out and then I've been able to do all my paperwork in front of the TV and I'm feeling much better now.

Marie said...

I know I have a hard time relaxing. Its like the moment I sit down, I have a million things I SHOULD be doing going through my mind. I'm always doing SOMETHING during the day...even if its something useless (like alphabatizing the girls books that they are going to tear apart 3 minutes later) rather than something useful (putting away the baby's clothes that no longer fit and are now covering the top of her dresser). I do relax in the evening because dh doesn't get home till 8pm, and I will sit and talk with him and watch tv with him (he's a big tv guy). I guess I dont count this as relaxing (even though it is) because I feel MORE guilty if I don't spend time with him. I would love to take some time to sew, or quilt, or finish the baby's baby book, but this would be *me* time and I feel that there is too much other stuff to do. Now I'm rambling, and this probably hasn't helped at all...sorry!

Shirls said...

honest time, I'm very organized, everything has its place and home but I don't have kids either..and I don't spend all the live long day doing it, I can't explain it, I work 45 hour weeks, I blog, I cook dinner, every night, pack my breakfast and lunch to take to work, I'm addicted to my nightly tv time which can be anywhere from 4 to 5 hours, I work out, I don't know how I do all that but I would say I'm relaxed, I really don't stress about what needs to get done, for example for over a year now I have an album that needs to be put together, I don't care, whatever, one day I'll get to it, in the meantime the world will not end because its sitting in a box wating... I've really found to be the best me, for myself and those around me, I need to take down time, if that is sitting in bed and reading for 2 hours after I wake up then that is what it takes, I wish it happened more but it at most once a month, I have a girlfriend who makes a point of doing just that with book, coffee and cat every weekend, I wish! ;0) when I am taking that down time I don't think of anything else or all the other stuff, whats the point in ruining it by doing that?

Torey said...

I've been thinking about this more and more today. I've had an on-and-off busy day today, and I've been trying to think about what (if any) relaxing I do.

I've decided that what is "relaxing" to me is my "me-time". Which usually involves doing SOMETHING, but it's what I WANT to be doing. For instance, today I WANTED to read your blog, all day. Cause I'm a crazy stalker. But there are things I do on other days that I do for just me.

I love to take a long shower. And just hang, and do nothing. . .sometimes I get out after 1/2 an hour and realize I didn't even shampoo. Sometimes (when gas is horridly expensive) I just drive. Sometimes I go for a walk. Now, sometimes Gup is with me. In the exersaucer, or the carseat, or stroller, but I do it just for me.

And for me, being alone is NOT important. I love to be around people. I'm always trying to convince N to have people over. I love to be around people. So relaxing for me can be hanging with a good friend and a glass (or bottle when I'm not nursing or pregnant) of wine.

Hope that answers your question a little bit more.

Deborah said...

I am a hoarder so from time to time I go on a rampage throwing out irrelevant stuff. I usually feel great for about 15 minutes after one of these manic episodes. As for housework, I don't feel I need to do it all, all the time. Usually, if I tackle the one thing or part of the house that is bothering me the most, and get that done, then I feel a sort of relief and I can move on to other things. For example, tonight as i sat at the computer I noticed how dusty and cluttered the bookcases were so I straightened and dusted. (Bonus: found and cleaned up an area where the cat had sprayed!) Sometimes, as tonight, this leads to other things, like cleaning out the fridge. I can't explain this. As for relaxing, at my age I have no choice. As soon as I sit down at night after work, I relax right into a coma that lasts until about 5 am the next morning. I don't think you should worry or obsess about housework/organization too much. You have very small children and I think if you just control the chaos, you're doing a phenomenal job. P.S. Made your tomato/pasta/meatball soup but used gardenburger meatballs. It was great.

Mrs. Furious said...

ooh I'm glad you liked it! :)
Yes I am hoarder too, and so is Mr F, and now Kid. I think I was hitting the manic phase that always comes before the purge.

Okay here is the full update:
After writing this post and then a little more procrastination I cleaned off my desk and started all the paperwork filing (including tax crap which is a HUGE deal around here since Mr F has his own business!) and I updated Baby's memory book (which is actually a journal) and that had really been stressing me out since of course she is the 2nd and I don't do that very often and I had had her 1st b'day as a deadline. I am so relieved at having done that I am in a completely different mental state.
Not only am I a chronic procrastinator which of course ends with a huge stress fueled explosion before I can finally enter a state of calm that is conducive to productivity.... but I have been self-medicating my sleep deprived brain with massive amounts sugar and caffeine and that, people, is clearly not helping my mental situation. Tomorrow I am really going to try and NOT eat 24 cookies.
Okay I'm off to go finish the filing... if I leave it half done it will just become another pile!

Deb said...

Is that Canine Furious I spy in the background? Whoopeee!! No farm for him!

You hinted at this, but for me, that constant motion is a way of managing anxiety. I grew up in chaos, so I create it, because that's where my comfort zone resides. (How MUCH time have I spent in therapy?) I think my kid(s) will appreciate my zaniness someday. I'm sure it will embarrass them, to, but I hope they'll get more joy out of it than not.

Speaking frankly, I'd rather have me for a parent than my parents who sat on their asses every weekend, watching football or some other sport. Every. Football. Game. And. Bowling. Match. On. TV.

Deb said...

TOO. Embarrass them, TOO. Ugh.

Deb said...

I got to watch the video finally (because Hubby, who thinks I am addicted to blogs/blogging is upstairs, bathing Kiddo), and I think people who can relax are childless.

I used to read. A lot. I used to relax. A lot. Then I had a kid.

Thanks for reminding me that I haven't put together my wedding photo album.

P.O.M. said...

I think it's just who you are. And it's what makes you - you and fantastic and exciting and engergetic.

I am an organized person, but I can't sit still either. I only relax on vacation (ha) or on a plane when I'm forced to sit and read for 6 hours. I go ape shit stir crazy just sitting around. This is actually an "issue" with me and the cap. He can sit and veg all day. It drives me flippin' nuts. Even if everything on my list is "done" I can still find more to do.

Especially now with the damn computer. I always think "Oh, I need to see who responded or what Mrs. F is talking about now."

I'm crazy. You're crazy. It's cool.

Mrs. Furious said...

Several issues come into play with the chaos and hoarding/piling/mess.
I'm even going to address Mr F's fucking issues with that...

#1 I grew in a chaotic/messy/dirty even/rodent infested (yes now you understand the phobia) house. My mom piled all her mail and catalogs on the kitchen counters and it would (no joke) take up an entire 2x8 foot space. We were not really required to do any chores (I did have to raise my sister but that is a different matter). Our rooms could be as messy as we wanted we had to do our laundry and she didn't really care how frequently that was. It was definitely a house you were embarrassed to bring people over to. So although I NEVER want that for me kids I really wasn't raised with the model of keeping a house clean on a daily basis and now kind of resent the notion that I should have to.

#2 I'm a procrastinator and thrive on a little chaos and stress. Seriously Mr F and I do our best work under the gun.

#3 I'm lazy and feel picking up is beneath me (there I said it... I've got a little snob in me so what?!)

#4 I hoard since my mother only showed her affection or lack there of through things. It is very hard for me to want to have LOTS of things.

#5 Mr F has the same freaking problem and if I bust my ass all day only to have him leave a pile of misc shit from his wallet I will go ballistic!

So I'm trying. I'm not sure exactly what I'm trying to do at times... but I am trying. Maybe to grow up. Maybe to lighten up... I don't know.

Mrs. Furious said...

I am so with you. I really only relax completely on vacation myself. And not even then if I think I need to see a bunch of stuff. We went to Bermuda for our honeymoon because there really wasn't anything to do and I would be able to relax.

And it is true people read the blog cause I'm nuts... and I don't want to disappoint the readers ;)

Deb said...

OMG... THE WALLET PILE!! I finally created a room in this house just for my husband. We're calling it his office, and it happens to contain his closet, too, because I can no longer share a closet or bathroom with him, and it's easier for me to move the shit pile to his desk upstairs than stare at it on my kitchen counter. Isn't there an empty closet for Mr. F somewhere? It's much healthier for your marriage.

Mrs. Furious said...

extra closet?!? You have got to be kidding me. No I need the decrepit mansion for that. Then I finally get to have one of those "sewing rooms" where I can leave my piles of crap.
He does have the entire basement... I'm sure you've seen the pics. And his dresser is already down there so that he doesn't have to transport his clothes more than 10 feet (which he still doesn't do). And we have a special mirror with "pockets" for such wallet type crap but that is usually overflowing as is....

Heather said...

I can't tell what you want from me as a commenter: my experience or what I suspect is YOUR experience?

So I'll give you both:

I cannot watch movies at home. It's excruciating, and I end up dragging out a 2-hour movie into 6-7 hours because I'm checking email/baking/doing laundry/cleaning out closets. Basically, the more I PLAN to sit down and relax, the more I don't. So lately I've been making a to-do list, then doing only the things that I HAVE to do, and skipping the rest. I love watching the Biggest Loser; it's really the only show I sit and watch (on Tivo, that is). All the others, I do a zillion other things.

For you: I suspect you're breaking out into Rockette kicklines/breakdancing, etc. because you know damn well if you sit down you'll fall asleep -- and for good reason. So you're trying to stay awake. That's all.

I think the manic energy is fun in general; especially with ADD husbands. Peter calms me right down and we all know our baby will adore him for that. So I say thumbs up to the manic energy.

Gotta go back for my trip to Knoxville...

michelline said...

I think people who can relax are childless.

I used to read. A lot. I used to relax. A lot. Then I had a kid.

I have two kids and I still find lots of time to read/relax. I require me time or I'm the meanest Mommy ever in the history of the universe. Yes, my kids are older, (8 and 12) but even when they were small, I managed to find me time. Maybe I'm selfish, but that's just the way it had to be or I was going to go berserk. Chris had plenty of time for his needs as well. Reading, TV, whatever.

But I don't have a problem with the kids watching TV. Even when they were little. They got outside play time quite frequently. They played with their little kitchen sets and their babies and stuffed animals and dress up clothes, etc. That Daughter 1 watched every Barney video EVER MADE up through 1999 and Daughter 2 adored Dora didn't mean they didn't get their imagination and exercise time.

I think it really depends on what is most important to you. I love my kids. And their needs are important to me. But so are mine. I think that parents taking time for themselves teaches children that everyone in the family needs to give a little so that the family as a whole can be happy and healthy

Robin said...

I don't seem to have any trouble relaxing. It doesn't matter if I have a ton of things to do or not. Every night my husband and I spend a couple of hours watching tv or playing video games. I do always pick up the toys and clean the kitchen first, but other than that, there is still tons of cleaning and projects. We just like hanging out together at night. During the day, I relax by reading blogs. LOL

We don't really have a calm household. I don't think you can with two children three and under. We are ususally playing, dancing, etc. But when they nap, I am on the computer, even though I should be cleaning or organizing or whatever. I do sometimes feel guilty about that. But my hubby agrees that it is important for me to have some down time. The dishes will always need to be done. :)

I agree with others that you shouldn't try to be something you are not. Your household seems fun and loving. It doesn't need to be calm...that's not fun. :)

Mrs. Furious said...

well it is interesting.
I think there is a difference between "relaxing" and being alone without kids. I really don't need to be alone much (obviously) and after really thinking about it I guess I'm most relaxed while socializing. Being alone is when I start to act like I was on these videos and get anxious and hyper. We've all got our own personalities. I do things for myself all day long but sitting still isn't one of them. Just because I'm home all day doesn't mean that the kids don't see me do things for me that require some amounts of compromise... like blogging and working out. But in general we are almost always all together as a family... and that is not the thing that keeps me from relaxing the thing that keeps me from relaxing is my head.
And the TV thing ... I'm still not sure if I'll ever really get into it on the blog...

Gigs said...

I am a very organized person and I thrive on routine and structure. But that doesn't mean that the house doesn't get out of control or that I would want someone dropping by unexpectedly and seeing how we really live. And that is because I do make time for myself and relax. For me it is generally after the boys are in bed. Even if they go to bed late, I have to stay up a few hours after them just to unwind. We are also almost always together as a family, but I do require time by myself to stay sane. I read all the time, and really need to to feel like myself. So I will ignore the house and do that. Of course there always comes the point where I can't take it anymore and I go through like a whirlwind cleaning and putting stuff away. And heaven help my husband if he creates a pile of anything anywhere post cleaning!

My husband, however can not sit still, ever, and it may be because of his childhood, which was pretty dysfunctional (long story). I think it really is just the way some people are, for whatever reason. He also would definitely rather be with people than alone, and finds that relaxing. So there are different ways of being relaxed, as you point out.

I think that when your kids get older it is easier to find time alone if you want it. They are not as dependent on you, and they go places with their friends, and there you are with "me" time. Sometimes I use this as my opportunity to do chores uninterrupted, and sometimes I go shopping or read. Honestly, when one of my kids is gone for a day or for a sleepover, I really miss them. But it does get easier. Well, this is my longest comment ever, hope it's not too much!

Mrs. Furious said...

never too long ;)

it sounds like your husband and I might be pretty similar in that regards.

I was alone a lot when I was a kid and so it makes perfect sense that that would make me anxious and that I feel more at ease and "relaxed" with people around.

michelline said...

Somehow I think you took my comment the wrong way. It was not personalized towards anyone, just a statement of what keeps ME sane. I apologize if I offended you.

Mrs. Furious said...

I didn't mean interesting in a sarcastic tone. I wasn't offended in the slightest. I just responded to your comment not necessarily to you as much as thoughts brought on by your comment.

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