As a suffer of ADD, I am easily overwhelmed by tasks that others find routine or simple. Disorganization is a huge part of my life and if something needs to get done, I need to have a system in order to do it. These systems are of the utmost important. Not only do they assure me that important tasks get accomplished, they also bring me invaluable piece of mind. Knowing what steps are necessary to complete my most important tasks makes me feel like I have a handle on my life.

Right now I have two very important systems that I’m falling back on. One is the pumping/bottle feeding/washing parts system. My system is not all that elaborate but right now, it works for me. Knowing what I need to do and when helps me feel in control of the whole situation; when I see bottles lying around the house I don’t feel overwhelmed, I know where to put them and what to do with them. This is important to me.

The other system is for cloth diapers. I am using cloth diapers again, much to my mother and mother-in-law’s dismay. They both think I’m taking on too much but I feel strongly about using cloth diapers, especially this time around. For one, it saves us money. We already have EVERYTHING we need, and it all required a considerable investment the first time around. This is when all the supplies I bought last time become worth my while; I’m not about to give them all away and use disposables, especially when paper diapers cost as much as they do. I also feel I have to take advantage of my awesome washing machine, complete with sanitize cycle. I washed my daughter’s cloth diapers in the coin-fed washing machine under my old apartment. Now I have my own machine so I don’t have to wait for anyone else to be done and I don’t have to hoard quarters to do a load. With all the supplies, and a washer/dryer at my disposal, it seems obvious to me that cloth diapers are the best choice.

These two systems are small and relatively unimportant but they bring structure to my days. They help me feel like I know what I’m doing, like I have even the slightest handle on my life. When all the household tasks build up around me, falling back on those systems make me feel like I’m accomplishing something. And right now, I really need to feel like I’m getting something done.

My maternity leave is more than half over. I have to start thinking about going back to work. I have so many little projects I need to get done before that happens. Most importantly, I need to get Monito’s room ready. This includes a lot of steps, like cleaning off and selling the computer desk and moving the elliptical machine (we only need to move it from one wall to another but I don’t know how we’ll manage even that–the thing weighs hundreds of pounds). Then I have to build his crib and organize all his things. Right now the room is in varying stages of disarray; we only really use it to change diapers and store his clothes. A lot needs to get done before that room is ready, but I need it to be set up by early January so we can start sleep training this boy before I go to work. Blerg, just thinking about it stresses me out.

I also need to clean our room, badly. There are so many piles of shit in there and they all need to be sorted, organized and stored so we can move some of the stuff from the computer desk in Monito’s room into our room.

I’m also going through Osita’s stuff, culling the crap she’s accumulated in the three short years of her life (really it’s all from the last 18 months, since we moved into this house). I’m throwing some out (actually, giving it away), moving some into Monito’s room and organizing the rest in her space. I hope that by doing this now, I’ll have made space for the mountains of stuff she’s sure to get from “Santa.”

All these spaces… I don’t have systems for how to tackle them. It leaves me feeling ineffectual and overwhelmed. So I fall back on the systems I do have, trying to take some solace in the fact that I can manage my pumping/feed/wash regiment and that I can keep my baby boy in clean cloth diapers and clothes. These are important reminders when everything else is feeling so out of my control.

What systems are important in your life? How do you assume control when things feel overwhelming?

3 responses

  1. This is a lot. Wow, you have had a LOT going on. I’ve been so happy to read the peacefulness coming from your other posts (though obviously sad for you that breastfeeding was such a horrible ordeal). You’ve been so brave! I like the idea of having a system, and keeping it small and realistic, and just doing what you can do. Can you get help to go through the stuff and do the moving? Sometimes an impartial eye is best. I also have systems – like when I tidy up the house, I always start at the front and work my way back, even if the biggest mess is in the kitchen. And I like routines. I like knowing what comes next. I think your system here is knowing that you need a system to function and asking for help so you don’t have to do it all by yourself. It will be great when it is done, keep thinking of that!

  2. I know I’ve told you before that I struggle with these same issues. Lack of organization paralyzes me. One thing I am going to start up again when we move to our new house is the Motivated Moms app- I believe you were the one who I learned about it from- it was working really well for me until I got pregnant and too sick all the time to do any housework. 🙂

  3. Systems are good. I don’t have everything on that you have, but I still like that feeling of satisfaction of having an empty dishwasher, or the ironing complete, or ticking of the first of many tasks.

    I also like Flylady’s 15 minute system for cleaning or getting things done. (You can do anything for 15 minutes). And her advice to start at the beginning – ie. whatever’s nearest – when a job seems overwhelming.

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