Sean went out last night. After I put Flora to bed, I had the evening to myself. There were a million things I could have done. Should have done. Instead I sat in my chair, had my dinner, watched TV, and played around online. A typical evening, productivity be damned.

I feel like I’m barely holding on to my life. Most nights after Flora goes to bed, I just want to sit and relax. Those few hours after her bedtime and before mine are the only hours I have complete control over my time. The only time in my day where no one wants anything significant from me.

My house looks like a bomb went off most of the time. Since we’re considering selling it in the next few months, I feel worse about the state of my home than I usually do. Sean has started decluttering his stuff (something he’s needed to do for years) and has begun organizing some general repairs we’ve been putting off. I’ve packed my books for storage in my mum’s basement but I’m having a hard time keeping up momentum to work through my decluttering.

There’s just so much to do. Going through our life’s accumulations to decide what comes with us and what gets passed on. Getting rid of enough stuff to make a trip to my local second-time-around shop worth the effort of packing it. I joke sometimes that I should just set the house on fire (with everyone out of it and safe of course). I know that is a horrible, irresponsible, hateful idea, but sometimes disaster feels better than actually doing the work.

Sean is the catalyst of this project. I am grateful that he doesn’t go into overwhelm like I do, but his methods are making me crazy. He has several half-finished decluttering jobs in progress throughout the house. I can’t work like that. I need to make a list, prioritize it and check the tasks off as I complete them one by one. The problem is I feel too overwhelmed to even make that list. My mental list is somewhat formulated, but I need to commit it to paper (or screen) so I can get the satisfaction of checking those tasks off when they are done.

My mum (bless her) has offered to come up and help us. It embarrasses me that I need that help. I know if I did a little bit each night, I’d make progress. I’m just so depleted by 8pm that I need to just decompress for a bit. Then when I’m finally relaxed, I don’t want to get up and start working again. I want to keep relaxing.

I need to figure something out because stuff needs to get done. What do you do?

7 thoughts on “Overwhelmed”

  1. I hired someone to help me get through it, not even joking. I considered it part of the cost of selling the house and “fluffing” because it changed the entire look and feel of the place. and i just couldn’t get through it all while working.

    I took a few days off, here and there, booked an organizer to come in on those days and then we did it. Doing it after work wasn’t going to happen fast enough, and i had no idea where to start and how to start anyway, truth be told. it was just too huge to even think about.

    Get help, a friend, maybe your mom (if you both get along) or hire a stranger, but get help

  2. Help is always good. I’m a big fan of the idea of hiring someone. Right now we can’t afford it and I really don’t have anyone nearby, so I’m going to study up on what Chantal talked about in her recent post because I think this kinda sounds brilliant. I sympathize with you completely. We used to have such an orderly house before child. Now we can’t seem to work up the motivation to do much more than what is absolutely necessary to prevent Health Canada from knocking on our door. (Okay, it’s not THAT bad, but sometimes it feels like it is when we compare things to before.)

  3. Will definitely be getting help. My mum has offered, but I’ve been putting her off because I’ve felt like we’re not ready for her yet. I know my mum wants to help (she keeps telling me that anyway). We get along well so that’s not the issue. If I had unlimited funds, I would hire organizers, packers, movers, the whole thing. Just to make it feel less like Sean and I are helpless, lazy kids who cry to Mummy when things get too tough. I just can’t justify all of that in my head, never mind my wallet.

    Karen, my home was cluttered pre-kid. It’s just gotten worse. I do my best to keep up with the important stuff – dishes, laundry – but everything else tends to be done at a bare minimum, which pisses me off. I try to pick my battles though. If it made me that mad, I’d just clean, but I value my free time too and I don’t want to spend every spare second cleaning a house I’ll never enjoy.

  4. Oh man, I feel you, I do. Those hours between 8:30 and 10:30 are sacred to me. I understand the “not getting stuff done” thing. We’ve lived in this house for a year, and I’ve still got boxes in some rooms. I just don’t know where to put it. I’ve given away two…count them…two 27′ foot trucks worth of stuff, and I still have too much stuff. At this point, I’ve given away all the stuff that charities could concievably use, and am down to things like my childhood stuffed animal collection…which really? I need this? And yet, I can’t make myself throw the ratty old things away.

    I have a schedule, the house stays clean, but I’m frustrated by how much time being a maid takes, ya know? And then you add in being a chef, and a grocery shopper and menu planner, and child chauffeur, and it just seems like there’s no time for anything else…and dear god, how do those women make it look so freaking easy?

    So, I don’t have solutions, I wish I did. But I will tell you that beating yourself up about not meeting imaginary goals is pointless. What matters, at least to me is: Is my family safe, well fed, mostly clean, and mostly happy? Am *I* mostly happy and relatively sane? Well then…we’re fine.

    Some of us were never cut out to be Donna Reed. Our houses don’t sparkle, our linens aren’t ironed…but ya know what? Our kids laugh and play. Sure, there might be smudges on the wall, but they got there when kidlet was showing you some new art they just created, or because they figured out how to write…and showed you by tagging the walls with toddler graffiti. Our kids may not be perfect in their ironed pinafores waiting to be shown off like trophies, but they look up at you with love and adoration and smiles.

    Yeah, it’s cluttered. But it’s full of love, and that’s really all that matters. 🙂 Big hugs from the intarwebs!

    • I’m so mortified that it’s taken me this long to reply to your comment.

      Thank you DeAnne for writing such a thoughtful comment (on here and on G+). Normally, I totally believe in the “if my family is happy, well-fed and loved, the other stuff can wait”.

      Doing this decluttering and preparing this house for potential sale has reminded me of what a terrible household manager I am. Normally, it doesn’t bother me, but since a clean house sells faster, it’s been really bothering me.

  5. Make a list of mini goals. Size each goal so that you can complete at least one easily in a day. That way, checking them off will give you not only a sense of accomplishment, but a sense that it can be done, which will improve your view of the situation. Whenever something overwhelming, break it down 🙂


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This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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