Parese (pare-ah-seh). In Creole it means lazy. La-hay-zuh-ee.
I had an Oprah-like Aha! moment in the middle of the night yesterday. It didn’t help that I was in some sort of weird insomnia mode. None the less, it was an awakening (ahem, pardon the pum).
Over the years I’ve fallen into this cycle of lazy. It’s kind of crept up on me, and it’s been innocent enough, but I’m not liking where it’s gotten me.
I think I slowly started to realize what was going on when I thought about what I did during my “off” time. Nothing. I would sit on the bed and read, or sit at my computer. The kids would be buzzing around and doing their thing, maybe they’d be in the same room and we’d be watching a show on the bed as a family. Not terrible, but not fabulously fun either. Just meh.
There are things that would grate on me around the house. Toys on the floor. Kids clothes still in the bathroom. Grit and cheerios on the bottoms of my feet. Laundry still hanging on the line.
Why you ask?
Because we have Yonese.
Yonese, is amazing. Really, our house would be in chaos on a regular basis if it wasn’t for the help she gives us. And I love it. But, I’ve realized that I’ve come to depend on her too much in the sense that I’ve let certain things slide because I know she’s happy to do them. And because as a trade off for the mission work I have on my plate Chris has encouraged me to let her do them. But, what happens when I intentionally don’t sweep my floors because I know she’s coming in the next day? I walk around cranky and complaining about the Cheerios on the floor and the grit that gets carried in just because of how things are here.
I get cranky. I feel frustrated. I want to blame other people and wonder why no one else is annoyed by it. Or wonder why they can’t read my mind and see my frustration.
You know who’s fault it is? Mine.
Yep. Because I’ve slipped into this cycle of lazy, of telling myself that Yonese is coming in the next day, and intentionally avoiding stuff, I’m the one who’s cranky. Stupid right? It’s this subtle procrastination. Yonese is coming, don’t worry about it. You have lots of other stuff to do.
There are some things that I’ve been doing for a while that really help, like meal planning. LOVE MEAL PLANNING. I don’t have to think, I just look at the calendar on the fridge and see what I need to take out for dinner. Fabulous (she says in a sing songy voice).
One thing that I used to do along with my meal planning is to have a calendar on the fridge that had weekly household duties that needed to be done. I have a great calendar hanging on the wall beside my desk. And I have a day timer on my desk with room to write down daily chores. Do they have anything written on them for this month. Nope. That is going to change.
I’ve decided the issue isn’t all the big stuff. Yonese is fabulous at washing windows on a regular rotation and doing a good clean regularly where she pulls out the furniture and sweeps and mops. She’ll happily throw the laundry in the machine when she gets in first thing in the morning.
For me it’s the little things. Taking a few minutes right after I get dressed to make beds. Taking ten minutes to hang laundry. Taking another five to put away the clean stuff so I don’t internally complain because it isn’t on the right shelf or folded like I prefer. Actually taking the time daily to empty my inbox. Washing the dishes once a day on days when Yonese isn’t working. Taking five minutes to quickly sweep the high traffic areas of the house.
Another area? Exercise. I have a treadmill. It sits right in our bedroom. Do I use it regularly. Nope. Why? Because I’m good at finding all sorts of excuses. Unfortunately “Yonese is coming tomorrow” doesn’t apply here. I’m just down right lazy in this department. And why? Seriously? I tell myself that I have a lot to do and that my work comes first.
You know what? What “they” say, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” is so completely true. I’m heavier now than I ever have been, and while it’s easy to blame it on stress or having a baby, the reality is those are just lame excuses. I’m overweight because I haven’t made the effort to use the tools I have sitting right in front of me. The truth is, when I do take the time to get on the treadmill, even for 15 minutes, I have more energy, I’m happier, and I’m more clear headed. When all those things play together, my outlook is better, I love my family better and I’m more content. The side benefit is that it’s good for my physical health. Is it worth it to be lazy? No, it’s not. My family deserves a wife and mother who is engaged and not down on herself. I deserve to feel good about the person that God has made me to be.
So, how do I make changes that are going to stick?
I decide to FIGHT THE LAZY.
The trick with any type of long term change is to do things that are small, but simple changes so that the habits stick. Anything that seems too overwhelming probably is and won’t stick.
In our home, I’m happy to let Yonese do her daily tasks – when she’s in on Monday, Thursday and Friday. It’s the in between days where I need to take more responsibility rather than just letting stuff slide until she comes in again. On Monday and Friday she does a good house clean, so really, I don’t need to worry about things like mopping because they get done twice a week, unless there’s a mess that needs to be cleaned up. I should be sweeping every day and doing the dishes once a day on days when she’s not here. I do often do the dishes because I hate cluttered counters, but it’s just being more deliberate and setting it in my head that it’s just something I need to do that day.
Making beds? Same thing. It takes only a few minutes, yet walking in the room through the day and seeing a made bed can really alter my mindset. Laundry! I actually don’t mind doing laundry, I just need to remember to get it out of the machine and hang it rather than thinking, “Oh yeah, I need to do that.” I need to just get up, do it, and then move on.
Cleaning up toys and kids clothes? We have a 4 year old that likes to contribute to the mess, so she needs to get in the regular habit of helping to clean it up. She’ll do it if we ask, we just need to be more deliberate about making sure these things get done every day so it’s managed, rather than it managing us.
I get annoyed at the kids book shelf because we read books before bed and Olivia will look at them and color and when we’re all done things sort of get piled on it rather than put away neatly. Is it something that needs to be done every day? Not really, but once a week I should make the effort to put the books back on the shelf neatly so that we don’t get overtaken by them. Olivia isn’t able to do it herself yet, but as she gets older it’s a task she can do.
Exercise? I drive Olivia to school 4 days a week and when I get back Chris is usually in the process of putting Alex down for his first nap. Even if he’s not there is no reason I can’t hop on the treadmill for 15-20 minutes on those mornings. I did it this morning, and it felt good and wasn’t something I had to break myself away from some other task to do. Working on developing that habit is a good thing. It’s four mornings a week. Then, on weekends I can do whatever and know that I’ve been doing what’s good for me.
One more thing – waking up earlier. Our work day starts at 6:30 am. Our alarm goes off at 5:40. I usually get up, shower, Olivia gets up, we rush her through breakfast, I rush to get the follow-up stuff organized, make some sort of breakfast, and run down to the work yard to do attendance, pray, get in the car and drive. Alex has been waking up around 5:00 and sometimes will go back to sleep. I usually try to climb back in bed, but what would happen if I didn’t and used that time in the morning to get myself going rather than rushing? I did it this morning and after I got over the initial grogginess, I felt more awake, less rushed, and enjoyed the morning. I didn’t feel like I was running out of the gate. I was reading a blog recently where the writer was participating in a challenge where she woke up for her family, rather than to her family. She was being deliberate about getting up earlier so she could have some time to get going rather than waking up with everyone else and rushing through the morning. When I was back in Canada I would have a whole hour to myself before I got in my car to drive to work. I needed it. It was time to wake up, gather my thoughts and just figure out how to face the day. When I told Chris I was feeling more alert this morning he suggested I set the alarm and wake up earlier. I think it’s a good idea. I think I need that time.
So, the breakdown… Plan the “chores” I and others need to do to maintain control over our home and be deliberate about setting that example for our kids. Plan to love myself and my family enough to get exercise that makes me feel good. Plan to get up earlier to help myself prepare for the day better. When I look at it this way it seems so simple…
We’ll see how this goes!