01 June 2009

Blessed are the frustrated

One of my really great excuses for the feral detritus of my life in general, and my floor and counters in particular, is that I’m a perfectionist of the worst sort*: a failed one. I can’t decide whether my recipes should be organized alphabetically, by genre, or by ingredient—so instead I have some recipes on index cards, some online, some in a binder, and some spilling out of a huge manila folder that I waste countless minutes sorting whenever I need to make apple bread.

Laundry room (delusional edition)

Laundry flummoxes me, not because of its sheer volume, but because I can’t figure out a system that accounts for not only clean and dirty clothes, but also the items that are too-clean-to-wash-but-not-quite-clean-enough-to-put-back-in-a-drawer. So miscellaneous articles of clothing in varying degrees of cleanliness end up strewn here and heaped there. Worse: I’ll miss a day or two of devotions and be tempted to throw over the whole endeavor as hopeless. Or I’ll determine to keep patience with the three-year-old for an entire day…OK, an entire hour…OK, I might as well just give up on that one too...

It hardly needs saying that the presence of multiple small children is antithetical to perfectionism. Children are antithetical, in fact, to most petty delusions of control, and therefore quite helpful to this humbled self who’s still working, every day, on that very first commandment. There is a God, and I am not He.

*I can sympathize with the argument that a successful perfectionist, who can be quite annoying to the population in general, is in fact the worst kind of perfectionist. But a frustrated perfectionist seems particularly prone to anger, despair, and other great shame and vice.

10 comments:

MooreMama said...

Can't help with the rest, but in Our House, clothes that are too clean to be washed but not clean enough to be put "away" go over the back of the chair in my bedroom. THere they sit, forgotten, until I go on a cleaning rampage and throw them in the appropiate laundry pile to be washed because I can't remember if they're clean or dirty.

It works for me. :)

Gauntlets said...

Yes, friends. Oh, so very, very yes.

Especially RE: laundry. I . . . I just really hate the laundry.

Melrose said...

Amen sisters, Amen and Amen.

Pr. H. R. said...

I am confused. Reb. Mary has all boys, if memory serves. It is a Known Fact, well-proven in this home, that a boy, simply left to his own devices, will in fact wear the same shirt with surfboards on it all week long. Unless the milder forms of torture are threatened, a boy will in fact never bother putting shorts in the wash after summer starts.

lisa said...

boy? - my husband too! :) It's one of his more endearing qualities :)

I'm so glad God blesses our meager efforts..they are indeed...meager :)

Reb. Mary - rejoice you have all boys. My daughter is currently sifting through three semi-clean outfits a day..unless stained, they ALL go back in the drawer!

Rebekah said...

One of the pieces of advice I'm most frequently lent around here is "the perfect is the enemy of the good." :P

Reb. Mary said...

MM: That's usually more or less what ends up happening hereabouts too. :)

Pr. HR and Lisa: True; all too true. Problem: we occasionally do venture in public, and I try to have them passably clean for such occasions, which leaves the semiclean surfboard shirt (in our case, dinosaur and Bean Machine shirts) in limbo.

Kelly said...

Another perfectionist clutterer here

Pam said...

RM, I know what you mean. So far what works, mostly, for us is the following.

Children are only given set number of playclothes. (Playclothes means I don't treat stains, and they can wear it till it's FILTHY for playing at home.)

They are allowed one set (maybe two plus for potty-trainers)of town clothes. These are to be kept separate, and they are in big trouble if I catch them wearing them any other time. They are pulled out when Mom announces "Okay, troops, we're going out today, put on your town clothes." Upon arrival home, said children are reminded to change back to playclothes before they may play, town clothes are to be put back in the drawer if still clean.

This (mostly) keeps only one dirty outfit still being worn by each child till Mom decides it's too filthy and says, "So-and-so, tonight that shirt/pants/outfit goes in the laundry, get out clean playclothes tomorrow."

Socks and underwear not included, I hope everyone realizes. :o) Those are to be changed daily, if I remember to get after the boys, one of whom will wear the same pair of socks, day and night, for weeks till I finally notice and make him take them off. EW! Of course, same boy has taken to wearing his pajamas under his day clothes, so at night it's faster to get ready for bed. This I didn't mind so much, till he started wearing his playclothes under his Sunday suit, so he could change faster after worship. sigh.

Some battles are not worth fighting. Like socks in the summertime, which in my house are rarely allowed.

lisa said...

I about fell over just now - a system that works!! :)