The Biggest Slob Excuse of All (And How I Got Over It)

I didn’t actually say all these excuses would be my current excuses.

Did I?

Whatever. It’s my blog and I can write what I want. 

(Now just a warning . . . I may get a little preachy, but I truly am basing this on my own experience.)

The most common “But . . . ” I hear when it comes to housekeeping woes has to do with O.P.

Y’know, Other People.

Kids, husbands, roommates, whomever.

(Please, if you’ve written or spoken to me about your frustrations with Other People and how they don’t help out in your deslobification process . . . don’t think I’m talking personally to you.  Because I’m not.  I actually have NO specifics in my head, I just know that this is THE thing I hear the most.)

For years, I blamed my Slob Problems on all kinds of things.

So when a husband and kids and being a stay-at-home-mom didn’t magically solve my Slob Problems the way I (TOTALLY irrationally) assumed they would, it was easy to nod knowingly when others would try to help out by suggesting I blame them.

Because it IS harder to keep a tidy house when you have little people living there.

And it IS hard to conduct Clutter Negotiations with a man who is kind and wonderful and sexy, but who you sometimes think might need a psychological evaluation for his completely irrational attachment to a twenty year old t-shirt that has more holes than thread.

And yes, it’s harder when you’re home all day with three kids making messes, and you don’t have enough closet space, and you’re not sure whether you’re going to have another child . . .

and blah blah blah . . .

and yada yada yada . . .

and fill-in-the-blank.

Not to minimize any of those things, because they’re all real and daunting and personal and challenging.

But for me . . . I had to take to heart the phrase which my kids know oh-so-well:  “Get over it.”

Not that I pretended these challenges didn’t exist, but I quit focusing on them.  And just focused on me and what I was doing.

And wasn’t doing. 

And I found that my house started to look better.  Waaaayyyy better.  Just from me focusing on myself.  And on the things I could control.

Let me tell you a somewhat related story.  My point is kind of a stretch, but again . . . it’s my blog and I can write what I want.

I LOVED my first year of college, but (for reasons too confusing to go into) had to transfer to another school for my second year.

I didn’t want to.  I was miserable going to a new place where I didn’t want to go and where I knew exactly one person.

And then . . . about two days before I was scheduled to leave, my grandparents were in a car accident as they were leaving our house.  And my grandfather died.

It was a shock, and it was horrible.  And I was grieving.

Because of the timing and the funeral, I got to my new college (where I didn’t want to be anyway) late.  I missed all orientation activities, and as a transfer student it was very difficult to meet people.

I was miserable.  For several months.  But when it came time to go home for Thanksgiving break, I made a decision. Things were slightly better, and I’d made about two friends.  But I still missed my old school terribly.

I knew that people would ask me how I liked my new school.  I decided that I was going to say, “I love it.” Not “Well, it’s been hard, but I’m starting to make a few friends . . . ”

Saying “I love it” wasn’t the truth, exactly.  But I decided that it wasn’t going to do me any good to quantify and clarify and blather on and on about the ups and downs of my semester.  I was making a decision that I loved it.  Even though I didn’t necessarily feel that way yet.

And do you know what happened?  I came back from Thanksgiving break . . . loving it.

Making that decision to not give any “buts” totally changed my perspective, and I ended up absolutely loving the following three years.

I know that’s a random story, and this is getting to be a long post, but my point is that so much of the battle is in perspective and attitude.

And in eliminating the “but . . . (s).”

And in getting over all the stuff you can’t change anyway.

OK.  I think I’m done now.

 


Comments

  1. THUNDEROUS applause. I’m so glad you included this in your 31 days. For some people, it’s not only a reason why it’s hard, but….
    A reason why they should never begin. That becomes a VERY ugly situation, very quickly. And not just in the cleanliness realm.

  2. Oh yay! I loved this whole post… because I often do this. Thinking to myself, I don’t do this…but really I’m looking at others and say ‘but…they’….yeah, I add the THEY in there… who in the world are THEY? it is whomever has a problem besides me.
    I’m certainly glad you said this too:

    “”but my point is that so much of the battle is in perspective and attitude.”
    Why?
    Because my ‘word’ for the year– I even posted about and forgot it IS…
    ATTITUDE.

    so thank you, You’re a messenger from God. I needed so much to hear this.
    Thanks! Pat

    • Thanks so much for commenting! I was nervous that this post would offend . . . so it was such a relief to wake up to positive comments (so far) this morning!

      • I don’t see how this post could be offensive; it’s right on point and there’s nothing at all offensive. Good post!

  3. Best. Post. Ever. This is the Essense of change. You have to decide, then live like its true and then you will finally feel it. No ifs, ands, or buts. Wow what a pep talk! Thanks! I refuse to give up. – no matter what.

  4. Your post was exactly what I needed to read today. I have been thinking about these excuses I make too often. You encouraged me to change that. Thanks for your honesty!

  5. Your blog is amazing!! I have done this also. Say it until you feel it. Makes a world of difference in your view of things. Thank you for being an inspiration!! and yup…no giving up!! ♥

  6. I was told by a very smart person how you think affects how you feel, how you feel affects what you do. You think, you feel, you do. You are so right!

    (But I am giggling about your husband’s shirt. I go through the same thing. When I asked him why he still had a shirt from 25 years ago, he said, “Because it reminds me of you and our honeymoon.” How can you get mad at that?)

  7. You know, I’m with you. :-) I had to learn a lesson about positive thinking. And it’s amazing how much it is true. So much that when my daughter could NEVER find ANYTHING good about ANYTHING and just brought everyone down, that I found and purchased a DVD set by Joyce Meyer on the power of positive thinking. It truely does change your persepecive on everything. We have a choice to be positive or decide that everything in life sucks and we can’t do anything about it (which is not true).

  8. Thanks. That’s just the reminder I needed.

  9. Oh my this is my kick in the butt for the day! This is totally what I have been doing.. get one room clean the kids go right behind me and trash it …lol BUT what I can control is my attitude. Here is to a wonderful positive day –CHEERS!

  10. Truth. Absolute truth. Sometimes we just have to put on our big girl panties & get over ourselves. I know I do. For me, it’s time to quit making excuses about why these big girl panties are so much bigger than I’d like & DO something about it. Thanks for speaking truth, Nony!

  11. I so needed this reminder! I’ve been working on this myself. It’s easy to look at the kids or at my husband and blame them for not doing this or doing that when simply I need to change my attitude. Thanks for the post and reminder! It’s my favorite one of 31 so far!

  12. The truth should never offend. I’ve always heard “fake it ’til you make it,’ and it sounds like you learned that lesson early on. I struggle so often because I have a new job that is so stressful, I literally hurt when I come home. So the last thing I want to do is cook supper and do laundry and do third grade homework. I have been struggling so much lately…I too needed this reminder today. And the secret to getting rid of the shirts:? Hide them. Seriously. I couldn’t just throw away Jess’s shirts that were too awful for words, because he would argue with me. But I bought new ones, and hid the old ones, until he forgot about them. And then I opened the filing cabinet one day and he saw them, but by then he had lost his attachment. (This may backfire on others, I guess. Could be like finding a long lost friend.) LOL Sorry this post is so long!!

    • I’ve done something similar my husband had 45 t-shirts at one point in time. YES 45!!!!! I had to pull them out of his overflowing drawer and let him go through them and keep out the ones he truly wanted to wear. I told him how many would realistically work in his drawer. Thankfully he willingly went a long with it and got them down to 20. I put the others in the attic. That was two years ago and he’s yet to ask for them. I think it’s time to go get them and donate them to Goodwill!!!

  13. I needed to hear this. Thanks for the kick in the backside.

  14. Here a quote I recently ran across:

    “Don’t wait for motivation. Use discipline to get you started and let motivation catch up.” ~ Chris Brogan

    • That’s excellent. I have been disciplining myself into getting up early the last two weeks, and that’s precisely what made the difference. Just GET UP, motivated or not.

  15. Other people are always part of the problem but the key is to realize that if you get your s**t together then they will often fall in line too. I am finally realizing that no matter what the husband and boys do if I let things fall apart in the house they just follow along. If I keep it together it’s easier for them to do the same. I’ve also realized we just need less stuff. I am being harder about what I let come into the house and harsher about getting stuff out of the house we just don’t need or use. That one is hard for all of us but I did it in my kids rooms a few weeks ago and it’s been such a success.

  16. “And yes, it’s harder when you’re home all day with three kids making messes, and you don’t have enough closet space, and you’re not sure whether you’re going to have another child . . .”

    This is my life EXACTLY! I do not read your blog on a regular basis, just a little here and there. I always love it when I do, though.

    Our house has been on the market for seven months now. And with 2, 4, and 6 year old boys running around, this slob has quite the task of keeping this place “presentable.” Thanks for all of your honesty! Keep it up!

  17. Darn you and your truthiness! I have been wallowing in my sloppy valley of slobbiness and blaming it on the wee ones and the Man of the House, but you are right! By the way, don’t ever apologize for what you put in YOUR blog. Sometimes the truth hurts, right? So glad I found you!

  18. As a mom with 6 kids, my friends are always offering excuses for me with my slobiness. “You have 6 kids!” “You homeschool” and on and on. But I know those excuses are just excuses. I was messy with no kids. I was messy with 2 kids and a career. I’m messy. My dear friend is neat. She is neat with 6 kids and homeschooling. Excuses are just excuses. Even when offered by other people. Thank you for the encouragement. I’m going to take it to heart!

  19. Wow, Noni! Your story would work as such a great analogy for soooo many other things, and THAT is what I needed a reminder of today. Good for you for being brave and posting what you felt you needed to say, even if you weren’t positive what the response would be. Huge hugs and high-fives for you! And an even bigger thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

  20. First of all, love your blog so much I cannot tell you! This post is so timely for me because right now I am trying to get my very cluttered home presentable enough to host a dinner for my son’s football team. We live in a Victorian and I have always used the excuse that we don’t have a finished basement for all the toys, etc.., something I can’t control, as I let my house become out of control. You have really helped motivate me to change and I know it’s up to me to keep going no excuses!!

  21. Great post. Really really great.

    Just one minor quibble.

    Please don’t apologize about your posts getting long. You’re a delightful writer and a pleasure to read. I know what Sam Clemmons said apologizing for a long letter because he didn’t have time to write a short one, but that wasn’t about length, that was about revising.

    I shall be sorry to see the end of this month. I look forward to your posts every day.

    And as for those t-shirts… find somebody to sew them together and make a quilt out of them for his 50th birthday. It’s something only a clutter-bug slob who loves him could give him. Of course, don’t plan to do it yourself, or it’ll be his 83rd birthday and it still won’t be done.

  22. I also needed this kick in the booty today. I use my health condition (fibromyalgia) as an excuse because it *really is* a good one. I have chronic muscle pain & fatigue, not to mention depression- pretty much everyday. But as one other reader mentioned, if I let things go to pot, my hubs and my boys just add their mess on top of that, making my life miserable. I try to stay motivated (& medicated for the pain & depression, haha) to stay on task. I try to keep up with the major things: dishes & laundry. When I’ve got those things done, at the end of the day when my children are finallyyyy in their beds, I give myself permission to sit & relax in front of the TV. After bedtime routine is done, I feel like I’ve run a triathlon (not that I actually know what that feels like!), thanks to my fibro. But sitting down after that, I truly feel accomplished, even though it’s just a little thing called bedtime routine. Thanks for this motivation today, girl!

  23. so. SOOOO true. :)

  24. Wait…so, you’re telling me I can’t blame them? ;)

    It’s so true, and one of my go to excuses, sadly. Will have to man up now. :D

  25. I had this epiphany myself once upon a time (about 3 and 1/2 yrs ago), where I decided I had to quit worrying (or being extremely angry) about what “They/He” was or wasn’t doing that was making it so much harder to keep an orderly house. It was amazing. Once I got “them” out of the equation and focused on ME and the home I wanted for myself and my children (whether “they” helped or not) my home came together slowly but surely and STAYED that way…until another round of pregnancy and depression made me FORGET my epiphany (or at least ignore it). Now I am trying to get out from under it all again and have been fighting this same old excuse (and anger), so THANK YOU for reminding me of what really does WORK.

  26. I came across this blog and I love the honesty of what you are doing to help other moms out there come to grips with their woes with cleaning! When my kids were toddlers I would clean their mess just to have to re-clean an hr or two later. It was very frustrating, especially for someone who likes to have things maintained. I struggled for many, many years as a moms of 2 kids who are now teenagers and make them do chores to teach them some discipline and learning that things in life don’t come free. Also, it’s nice to be able to put them to work to make up for all those years of doing it on my own with my husband doing a lot of pitching in as well.

  27. Your post made me both laugh out loud and cry. It was a very hard time for all of us to cope with your grandpa’s passing.

    What I remember you saying that Thanksgiving was something like, “Do you know how much energy it takes to make new friends?”

    I had no idea that you were saying that you had made no new friends because you didn’t have the energy. Because you, too, were grieving.

    It just goes to show that we really can’t feel the other person’s pain. We may think we can, but we can’t.

    Thank you, brave daughter, for sharing. Love, Mom

  28. Thank you! This is helpful in SO many ways – I just can’t describe it, but it’s a “lightbulb moment” for me. THANK YOU! I’ve never liked this house, since before we moved into it. I’ve hated it…and well, you get the idea. Well, I’m going to decide to love it. THANK YOU! I’ll be applying this in other areas of my life as well… :) Bless you, in Jesus name for sharing with us all!

  29. Shelly Williams says:

    Yes, I use this one too. It is just so frustrating spending so much time and effort to getting the house clean and it be ruined in just a few hours. Thank you for this post. I need to get over this one too because I don’t even have kids. How much worse will it be if/when I have children….

  30. I totally agree that attitude is everything. When I’m sure something is going to be hard, or I’ll never learn it…I usually find that it is, and I never do. But when I make up my mind that I can, that’s when things start to change.

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