Sometimes I get a little too introspective. I start overthinking things and investigating the reasons behind the things that I do, and the way that I organize my life ... But remember, only sometimes...
One of my more recent musings has lingered around the fact (yes, it's a fact) that I am actually kind of... um, needy. I need my husband to help me with the child and the dog when he comes home from work (because I've usually been pushed to the brink of my sanity at that point). I need to have time to workout (preferably uninterrupted...ha!) so that I can start my day feeling productive and healthy. I need a house that doesn't make me want to scream and break things because I can't seem to keep everything in it's proper place (yes, I have issues).
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was going about my morning routine: fixed breakfast for me, the hubby, and Miss Olivia, started some laundry, and completed my morning workout. Nothing was out of the ordinary that morning, but sure enough, I had a strange sensation come over me (okay, in retrospect I completely realize that I was actually PMS-ing...sorry for the information, but there it is!)
Almost as soon as I turned off the television following my workout, I found myself angry and dissatisfied. I looked around my house and just couldn't shake the feeling that it didn't feel like home; that somehow, despite my efforts, I hadn't managed to hit the nail on the head in regard to organizing elements so that it felt warm and inviting, while still meeting the needs of my family's lifestyle (we're in and out and all about). That screaming and breaking things feeling was looming over my head...and then my husband got called away on an ambulance call. Needless to say, I was a tad frustrated (I would've recommended that Olivia run for the hills, but that would mean no adult supervision, and that's just irresponsible).
Rather than go ahead and let my anger get the best of me, I did what any "sensible" mother would do and re-channeled my energy into completely rearranging the front of the house by myself. I moved the couch, the recliner, set up the coffee table, relocated the turtle's tank, moved the dresser the turtle used to sit on, oh, and proceeded to throw away as many things as I could. It was nothing short of cathartic!
And bless my husband! When he got home, he opened the door, stopped for a minute, and then, instead of balking at my obvious insanity, jumped in to help me reorganize the kitchen.
Was the whole thing absolutely crazy? Yes. But over the past few years as a mother and wife, I've learned so much about the way that a home is one tool through which we nurture certain values in our families. The way we organize our house and the way we uphold certain rules, including those revolving around the proper place of things, helps us to create an environment in which our loved ones develop their sense of belonging. And that sense of belonging extends to us mamas as well! This most recent re-organization process absolutely helped me to better understand, as an adult, and especially as a mother, just what it was that I needed from my house in order to make it feel more like a home.
1. I need an element of design. I hated walking into my house and feeling like nothing matched, nothing grabbed my attention, nothing look thoughtfully laid out. So, I created a space in the living room, that does just that for me. This new space, combining the turtle's old dresser and thoughtfully laid out wall art, catches my eye and lifts my spirits when I see it!
2. I need an intimate sitting space. I hated that our furniture was just pushed up to the wall and didn't make for a very cozy conversation area. To remedy that, I moved the couch and recliner to a corner of our living room, and arranged them around my grandma's old coffee table. Suddenly, I had a space that I could really see myself relaxing in (my husband would probably laugh at that) or reading to Olivia in. It is the perfect spot to enjoy my morning cup of coffee while taking in those early morning rays!
3. I need "adult" spaces. It's probably sacrilege to say this as a parent, but I've found it really important to have spaces in my hone where children things are not. Having Olivia's toys in every single space of our house left me feeling a bit dislodged. I realized that as an adult, I need to have places that still somewhat feel like they're "mine". So, I designated her room as the toy zone, moving most of her toys back in there, including her kitchen set, so that the front room could at least begin the day feeling clean and somewhat "adult-like". That doesn't mean she can't play with her toys out there, it just means that at the end of the day those toys need to go back to her room so that we can start the day fresh when we wake up the next morning! Which, I also feel is probably a pretty solid parenting move anyway...baby steps.
Although it took a lot of effort, and on the outside looking in, perhaps it was a touch overkill, I can't tell you how happy I am when I walk out in the morning to a space that fits the personality and values of my family, and that both makes me feel at home and a little whimsical (insert Buddha smile).
Needy isn't always a bad thing, especially when it inspires you to productive and positive action (instead of screaming at your kids and your spouse...don't do that). It's okay to ask what it is you need out of different areas of your life, and take steps to start getting those needs met. And it's super awesome to have a loving and supportive husband to help you with all of that!
Everyone deserves to feel at home. At home with their house and at home with themselves. Actually, we need it.