My daughter has been spiraling over the last month. Summer was pretty good. Our most structured and smooth summer yet. We had her involved in junior lifeguarding AND swim team, she never had TIME to complain or focus on negatives. Don’t get me wrong we had some bumps, but no nosedives. Then school started 3 weeks ago. And slowly she digressed. This week has been pretty bad, to the point where I am starting to consider an inpatient stay if her behavior continues to become dangerous. However, as I sat this morning in my car and dragged myself inside feeling utterly lost and like a failure, I began to look around my house.
Our homes are supposed to be our safe haven. A place of rest. A place of retreat from the world. MY house looks like a tornado hit. We have too many projects going on at once, kids bathroom remodel, building a cabinet in master bath, and trying to organize and declutter and purge. That results in having a toilet in my front room, bins of bathroom stuff stacked in the front room, 2 children displaced from their own bathroom, so their stuff is in MY bathroom, their clothes are in MY bedroom, and MY bedroom and bathroom are both in utter chaos from having 4 people mess them up.
I went and sat in my daughters room. Her desk has trash and papers and books, and Barbie clothes, shoes, more trash that was torn into tiny pieces and being used as “Barbie food”, hidden stash under the bed of candy, MY high heels from a donation bag, clothes, more trash, and toys, stuffed animals, and you guessed it, more trash. IN my frustration and anger, I started cleaning and organizing, throwing trash away. The more I cleaned the more I realized I was starting to feel better, because I was DOING something about the situation. I went to her dresser drawers (more trash!?) and went through all the clothes, what fits, what she doesn’t wear, etc. I only chose clothes that FIT and she WEARS to keep. Everything else is being donated. EVERYTHING. I then went to the closet to do the same. I just pulled out everything and I was amazed to find that up above on the shelf was stuff from like 4 years ago that I took away from her, and apparently never gave back. And that’s when it HIT me. She never ever realized this stuff was missing!!! WHY? Well, maybe because she has TOO MUCH Steffani! (Yes I talk to myself. Sometimes out loud) Sooo, that made me wonder: Because she has attention issues, (ADHD) and GAD all this stuff give her too much to distract her from what she #1 SHOULD be doing when she’s in her room (ie Homework, reading, getting ready) and #2 What she COULD be doing in her room (ie playing with toys she LOVES, Drawing at her desk, reading for FUN, listening to music)
OK, so now I realize that she is set up for failure because there’s TOO MUCH going on in her room. It’s MY job to TEACH her and HELP her to limit herself, and only have what she needs, and loves. The rest is DISTRACTION and EXCESS. So I am doing just that. Before she comes home from school, her room will be organized and picked up and decluttered. I’m setting her up for SUCCESS. I’ve got a few things that I’m hoping will help as well: A simple large print calendar for her wall, so that she can keep track of the days and what her own schedule is with swim, dance class, and homework. A clean desk at which she can DO her homework. A limited amount of toys (Barbie is her vice) so I’m giving her 4 Barbies and 2 outfits each with which to play with in the Barbie house. A shoe rack to keep track of only the shoes she wears and likes and that FIT her. No more than 6 pair. Same with the clothes. Everything will be put away neatly in drawers and hung in closet.
I have a friend whose daughter is in her early 20’s. She comes over to help, babysit, and hang out and give us advice sometimes, because she deals with similar issues as my daughter. She has told me in the past that living simply is a necessity for her because otherwise she FREAKS out about things like: a) What shoes to wear b) What clothes to wear c) She can’t FIND the clothes and shoes she wants/needs to wear to help her stay calm d) the added chaos of being messy and how it affects someone with extreme anxiety.
I’ve also started reading a book, for myself, that I found at (don’t laugh) SAMS club.
It’s the “Life Changing Magic of Tydying Up”
I have to say-all the reasons the author gives for learning to tidy, or pick up, have to do with mental wellness, creating a space which is relaxing and promotes a healthy self. I’m convinced that making this a priority and starting with my daughters room, and then attacking the rest of my home and organizing it will take a LOT of daily stresses away from our situation.
Without medication. Without side effects. And it’s FREE for me to do.
I will post again about the progress and if it’s helping, but for now, I just wanted to share. Maybe you guys are already organized, maybe you’re a neater person than I am. smile emoticon Maybe this was something you learned years ago, and it’s not an issue for you and your family. But it has been for me, and it’s been an added stress in our lives for TOO long. I can’t do it anymore. Something has to change, and this is something I CAN CHANGE RIGHT NOW. I can’t imagine it not helping, even if it’s a tiny bit. At least we’ll be able to find her shoes! smile emoticon