Sunday, December 7, 2008

If I Waited For Things To Be Perfect I'd Be Waiting A LONG Time

You may know that I suffer from a bit of extremist type behavior and thinking. Well this can really rear it's evil head during the holidays. I have a very hard time letting myself *enjoy* simple things like decorations if I haven't set the stage (ie have everything unnaturally clean & organized). This typically results in a lot of family stress... that... um... takes away from the enjoyment (right Mr F?!). It means we have to have a major clean the night before decorating and do all the decorating at once. It can be so overwhelming and bicker producing that we'll kind of put it off.

Well not this year. In part because our storage system is easier to get at I've decided to enjoy our decorations from the beginning of December without all the fuss. I've just brought out what I can a bit at a time. Why should I not be enjoying a snowflake on the window just because the toys aren't picked up? Why should it be less meaningful or joyous? We are not clean freaks... we do not insists the kids pick up each toy as they move on to another (and never will). Just like we will NEVER be able to keep a horizontal surface from collecting mail, broken things, tools, etc. This is us. So as the ever evolving human that I am this year I'm not punishing myself for it.

Just because this living room looks like this:

Doesn't mean the windows can't look like this:

Just because the counters look like this:

Doesn't mean our table can't look like this:

Just because the playroom looks like this:

Doesn't mean the mantel can't look like this:

Just because the stove looks like this:

Doesn't mean the oven can't look like this:

You get the point.

And NO our house doesn't ALWAYS look like this... it gets cleaned up every night (ish). The point is that is DOES look like this (more or less) every day because we are real. And we have real kids. And we put an outdoor slide in our house. And we suffer from Horozontalitis (thank you Emily) for which there is no cure.

At the end of the day it really comes down to allowing yourself to enjoy life where you are at. Do I still have that nagging voice in the back of my head whispering "But things aren't clean! You FAIL!" ? Yes. (hmm... that sounded a lot creepier than I intended it) But I am enjoying the holidays. I think I might even enjoy the decorations more this year than in the past because I'm not also freaking out at Mr F every time he "messes it up" by putting his loose change (or what have you) on the counter. I'm sure he enjoys it more too.


Elizabeth said...

Way to start being liberated from crazy perfectionism! The decorations look great.

Mr Furious said...

I enjoy it because there's a little something new everyday when I come home from work, and the kids are all excited about it...

That, and this technique is comparatively zen-like.

julie said...

Good for you!!

I do understand where you are coming from. I was like I have to vacuum every crevice of the house before I decorate. Then I decided to just decorate as it is not like I am putting anything on the floor and I can still vacuum later.

Staci said...

Oh God! The DEEP cleaning before putting up decorations is SOOOOO ME! ;P

But, this year I tried not to stress about it too much because I KNOW how much it takes from the enjoyment of the season for the boys. So, the 3 of us cleaned up (notice...NOT the deep cleaning of years past) and set up the tree & decorations. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN THIS YEAR! Who knew! :P

Do you guys do a real or fake tree? We are fake all the way. LOL!

Have a great Sunday!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the perfectionism...I tried to explain this to my dad several years ago (we suffer from the same perfectionism, LOL--I must have inherited it from him!).

Those cookies look GOOD!
:)Merry Christmas!

Mrs Furious said...

Mr F,
of course it's zen like for you.. you haven't done anything!

you know it's mame's fault ;)

Not cleaning is half the battle. The second half seems to be not doing everything. We might get a tree but I'm not bringing up all the ornaments. Just because I have been excessive in the past doesn't mean I need to continue... or does it?! ;)

Real tree. Which is why we don't have one yet. Although I will say the trees are MUCH cheaper down here! We're waiting at least another week to keep it out of Baby's hands!

It's a terrible disorder! I always though it was a product of my genius... then I read flylady and found out everyone has it ;)

katieo said...

Oh Good for you Mrs F!!
So glad to hear you're enjoying more than worrying/cleaning/bickering. That's a big deal- easier said than done!

Elizabeth said...

Yes, but Mame would hire someone to do the deep cleaning, and drink while decorating.

Much more fun. You can do the second half at least!

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wootini said...

I laughed out loud regarding the 'horizontalitis" mention - thanks for the shout out, Mrs. F. : ) We are similarly afflicted, so it's nice to know we're in good company.

Glad you are having fun with the Christmas season and kudos for being able to circumvent the 'clean before decorating' need. This year I cheated by decorating right after Thanksgiving weekend, when my house was already unnaturally clean due to family visiting.

Where do you think this deep-seated drive to 'clean before ______' comes from? For me I could fill in that blank with almost anything (playdate/having people over/decorating, etc. etc.). It's a constant struggle to overcome it, and realize that - hey, news flash - kids coming over for a playdate could care less about the state of the house??!


Dana said...

Seriously, I have that same mental illness every Christmas. I don't put the tree up until the house is clean. It's insane, but I just can't get happy in a messy house. I don't know how to get over that.

Jennifer said...

Guilty here as well. I can't do it. I have to remove everything, dust everything and then put up the decorations. Then I have to wipe down the walls and vaccum .. it becomes a whole process. I can't seem to NOT do it though. I did however split the chores up this year. Tree one weekend, decorations the next weekend. That way my son wasn't freaking out because nothing was done. lol.

Your house looks great!

Marie said...

The decorating looks great! I have that same need to "REALLY clean" before decorating (or having company, a party, or even one of our parents over to babysit!). We have a "lived-in" house (your pictures with different furniture would pretty much describe it!) and even though I clean up and put everything away after the girls go to bed, there is no way to keep up with it AND give the girls the attention they need/want during the day.

Hey--the way I figure it is if anyone drops by unannounced, maybe they'll feel a little better about their own house :-) I know I feel better when a friends house is in some state of disarray...kinda like "phew, I'm not the only one who's not perfect!"

Mary Poppins said...

thanks for the reminder that we can just move forward in spite of less than perfect surroundings.

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