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Chasing adventure & living mindfully while parenting through mental illness


Unpacking Frustration 

Unpacking Frustration 

We've been in our new house for two months. We're doing fairly good unpacking, all things considered. Nick has worked like crazy for that to happen. He's a tornado - I can always count on him if an area just needs to be blasted through in a few hours. I am very lucky that manic cleaning like that isn't a trigger for him like it is for me! My own productivity has been a little less than stellar. I am reminded both that I have to hold myself to a different standard since I have to manage my mania and depression swings. What usually works for me is to putter with a moderate, focused list, taking timed breaks and stopping when I start to feel too "into" a task. Unpacking with 2 littles makes any kind of focus very difficult. Take today for example:Goal: clean and organize  the playroom/officeTask breakdown:

  1. Pick up toys and sort into bins
  2. Move shelves on bookshelf so bins fit under and office supplies fit on upper shelves
  3. Move boxes to laundry so room is kid-proof. 

In order to accomplish this, I need to have both kids out of my hair. I've tried getting Breccan to help, but it usually means he picks up the toys only to dump them right out again. Or tries to "help" by using his toy drill on Olin or Ger. Olin, meanwhile, will be good for about 10 minutes awake without playing or cooing. So this needs to happen during "quiet time" in the afternoon, when Breccan plays in his room and Olin naps.  Today, Breccan is taking a reasonable "quiet time" (e.g. not screaming "quiet time is over!" 5 minutes after it starts). Olin has also gone down for a nap. This may actually get done. I get all the toys tidy quickly. Yes, in the groove. I just have time to get 1 shelf off when Olin starts crying. I look at the time: I have been working all of 20 minutes. Breccan hears Olin and starts yelling "Mom, mom, mom," while I try and feed Olin. Olin gets back to sleep, but wakes up whimpering every 5 minutes, even as I lie next to him. Eventually, Olin gets into a deep enough sleep. I look at the "quiet time" timer. What was 2 hours has now dwindled to 45 minutes. Concentration has been shaken, so I refocus. Back to the bookshelf. Where did I put the tool for the bookshelf? 10 minutes later, I've found the wrench, but I'm now frazzled. It's not the most familiar task balancing the shelves while I screw on the bolts, so I'm awkward about it. I keep dropping the wrench or the shelf. I drop the wrench and exasperatedly dive down to pick it up, only to smash my head against the desk. Today I'm fortunate. Olin stays down for another 20 minutes while I finish putting the shelves up and half loading them. I then have a few minutes to calm him down before quiet time is over. So I've gotten 1.75 of my 3 tasks done. Keep in mind there's a sink full of dirty dishes, dinner needs making, and we've got about 3 loads of laundry that need folding. All simple 30-45 minute tasks that I will probably not make it to. The length of the to do list grows, and my motivation to keep slugging away dwindles, which means I get even further behind. This is the story of my life right now. My mind has become cluttered with all the things I should be doing, but when it comes to actually doing them, I feel paralyzed by the inevitable explosion that one or both of my kids will have. Projects left half finished all over the house, abandoned to a fit of tears or a near-miss accident, and I stare blankly at which one to finish first. I have to cut myself slack. Moving into a place really is a long process. I've been assured by my much more organized friends that they still have boxes from moving 2, 5, and 10 years ago! I could use some tips and real stories. Hopefully some encouragement. There really does have to be a better way. 


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