My Saturday was off to a good start with a little extra rest, my Bible, a walk with Jack, and Mike’s amazing scrambled eggs on toast.
After a delightfully ordinary morning, the day deteriorated into one of my crummiest in awhile. Nothing terrible actually happened. Small errors compounded, and I stopped controlling my thoughts. And my waffle iron broke, which would disappoint anyone.
Error #1: I skipped exercise. My outlook and overall happiness improve dramatically with exercise. I know this. Somehow I let my mounting to do list convince me I didn’t have time. I missed out on the benefits of working out, but I also allowed a nagging disappointment in myself to stick around.
Error #2: I didn’t have a plan. I have this idealistic image of lazy Saturdays with the perfect combination of productivity and play. I should know myself better than that. I can’t truly relax without structure. Detailed, minute by minute plans equally paralyze me, because I feel defeated as soon as I’m behind. On weekdays, I generally give my days a rough structure the night before. I’m learning to give up the fantasy of myself becoming a carefree, take-it-as-it-comes type person, and structure my weekends similarly.
Error #3: I lumped all the tasks I dislike most into one day: washing a mountain of dishes, cleaning the sink, sweeping, three loads of laundry, ironing, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, cooking for Easter. I can do, and even enjoy, any of these in short bursts. I didn’t prioritize the tasks, so I completed the nonessential tasks first and ran out of energy.
I never iron. I’m very slow, and I hate doing it. So, after doing a couple hours of nonessential chores and skipping lunch, I dove in to iron everything I’ve washed in the past month and needed to iron. I even volunteered to iron two of Mike’s shirts. After an hour and a half, I was grumpy and feeling bad about myself. So I went to take a “nap,” but really to sulk.
Error #4: I beat myself up and focused on the worst. Housework is not one of my “core competencies.” Mike cooks, washes dishes, sweeps, and irons more efficiently than I do. He even enjoys the “quick win” of chores- the immediate result after a small effort.
Here’s the script that starts echoing in my head when I get frustrated with my housekeeping skills: “You’ve been married for almost five years and you still can’t get this right. Mike is too busy finishing his dissertation to help you. Why can’t you just take care of the house by yourself? It’s all you have to do today.”
Error #5: I let my problems compound. When I needed to give myself a pep talk about my true identity, I despaired over not only my ineptitude as a keeper of my home, but also our financial situation. I felt burdened by the debt that limited our choice of abode, but unworthy of more. “Why aren’t you doing more to contribute financially? Do you want to live in this apartment and have this 27 year old washing machine forever? You can’t even take care of this place without a meltdown. How will you ever handle an actual house with nicer stuff? You don’t deserve it.”
Error #6: I neglected to eat. When I finally ate something around 7:00, my outlook improved almost instantly. I had renewed strength to iron one last thing: a tablecloth that my mom, an amazing homemaker, sewed. Mike had roasted and carved a chicken for Easter chicken salad, which I made at 9:00 that night since I didn’t prioritize my tasks appropriately earlier in the day. It turned out great. :)
As I write this, I am embarrassed to admit I let my thoughts go so astray. I understand why, when I tried to express these thoughts through tears and snot, Mike had a strange look of confusion, softened by an improbable compassion.
I wanted to write something about my weekend reflections on Jesus Christ’s resurrection. But this is where I was instead on Saturday. Thankfully, I went to bed remembering God’s love and forgiving myself for forgetting it. He pulls me close, even on days I don’t appreciate, acknowledge or feel worthy of His sacrifice.
Question: How do you get control of your mind when you start to lose it?