All-Or-Nothing: Not ALWAYS Good
Friday, April 11, 2014
I've described myself in interviews and to groups as a woman with an "all-or-nothing" mindset. It's generally perceived as a positive: "if she commits, she's there all the way!" Great, right? But what about the NOTHING?
Here is where the NOTHING comes into play in my daily life. My house. It's. A. Mess. At one time it was immaculate. Why is it a mess now? Why am I too embarrassed to invite people here?
When it was completely clean, Matthew, now 9, was 1. We had moved here when he was 9 months old. I set his toys on shelves, cleaned them up several times daily, and it was easy! I was the one selecting them, and could put them right back. The DVD's and CD's were all in alphabetical order. The dishes were clean, floors were vacuumed/mopped, beds were made.
Then, Matthew became a toddler. Not a "typical" toddler; we could no longer ignore his differences. He has autism (not diagnosed at that point, but I was pushing his pediatrician for a referral). When we played as he directed, all was great. If we (I) pushed him, MELTDOWN CITY! Toys thrown, discs broken...and I was working full time! I straightened some, but fell behind.
Then, I was pregnant with his sister, Lizzie. Similar pregnancy, but with the added volitile toddler. Late pre-eclampsia, bed rest, another C-section. Disarray. I cleaned so that we could host Lizzie's 1st birthday.
Then, working full time after Lizzie's 1st birthday, in 2007, Matthew was diagnosed with autism (later clarified to PDD-NOS, but at the time expecting him to never talk and to be institutionalized). I kept it together, cleaning-wise, until then. I started to falter.
Early 2008, both my husband and I lost our jobs within a month of each other, him first. We (I) had to get Matthew to early-intervention therapies, and I took a part time job. The house fell apart. Lizzie was behind...thankfully she just had tight muscles and physical therapies and some speech helped! (She's brilliant now...top student in her 1st grade class).
Eventually, we found that I had to stay home. Matthew was kicked out of 3 day care centers, though Lizzie was welcome to stay (as if!!). Matthew needed more attention than a child care center could provide. He needed me.
Soon after leaving day care, even though he was fine in preschool, Matthew had a major meltdown. He tore the playroom apart, spewing toys everywhere. A few days later he did the same in his bedroom. I couldn't take it. I closed the door to the playroom, though Daddy continued to toss toys in for months. . When he tore his bedroom apart. I couldn't take it. I made a path from the door to his bed. Lizzie tore her room apart, with Matthew's help. Imitation. I did the same.
The kids could no longer go into the playroom, or play comfortably in their bedrooms. They played in the living room. When it got too cluttered, DH threw MORE toys into the playroom, making it worse.
We still have baby toys in the playroom, and those I've cleared out of the kiddos' bedrooms have mysteriously made their ways back upstairs.
So. It's THEIR faults, right? DH and the kids' faults?
Yes, they all hold some responsibility, but it comes to me. I was home. I gave up. Was I lazy? Maybe a bit. But I was. And AM. Depressed. It is what puts me in this "all-or-nothing" position.
You see, if I start cleaning the living room, I find some toys belong in each of their rooms. Some need to be donated, sold, or tossed. Some should go into the playroom. So, when I start cleaning the living room, I also have to clean the playroom, which contains toys that need to be put on shelves, taken to their rooms, donated, sold, or tossed. I have to go into each of their rooms, with the same...stuff that belongs on shelves, in each others' rooms, the playroom, donated, sold, or tossed. THEN, I find clothes...do they need to be put away, washed, donated, or tossed?? That takes me to the basement...not only clothes and toys, but also stuff that we don't, or maybe have NEVER, needed or used!
BUT wait! Where did these dishes and glasses and kitchen gadgets come from? Now I'm in the kitchen, needing to make space, needing to declutter, needing to wash dishes, scrub floors, clean counters, get rid of expired foods....etc....
So. For ME. There is no single job. Everything leads into another. I don't know where I can stop. When I can take a break.
All of this happens in my food plan! Not a smooth segue, but there it is. I'm "all-or-nothing"! I'm supposedly bright...I can add...I can look up calories for foods and successfully measure those foods to ensure proper serving sizes. But. I. Don't. Why?? All-or-nothing.
The first day I tracked food was Tuesday. In short, disaster. I didn't eat until 5 PM, then only ended up eating 600-700 calories. No. Not anorexic. JUST COULDN'T DECIDE WHICH FOODS WERE WORTHY OF COUNTING, so I went without. Dumb? Yep. But there it is. Wednesday was not much better. I ended up eating 2 servings of chips after 9 PM to get close to my low-end calorie goal. Thursday, better, I actually ate breakfast, but had fast food to get within my limits....
Not an auspicious start, but it's getting better, I think?
YES. It is! Why?
I think after 40 decrepit years on this planet, I'M FINALLY STARTING TO SEE THE LIGHT!!!
I'm not dumb. I'm not lazy (ok...I'm a bit lazy, but not a sloth). I'm not OCD (well...a bit, but this can be overcome)....Yes, I am depressed, and should be on meds...but I'll get there...
The MAJOR reason for my "troubles"...my messy home, my crappy eating (all or nothing)...aren't anything more than poor organization and a lack of planning mini-goals!
I need to plan ahead. I need to come up with major, long-term goals, and break them down into attainable short-term goals. I need to plan meals. Snacks. Food really shouldn't be so hard...in elementary-junior high school, I ate the same lunch EVERY day; when I worked and could eat out, it was the same meal in the same restaurant EVERY day....I can DO this!!
I just need to take the time to PLAN.
I'm finally realizing this. In the spirit of "easing into" changes, I'm giving myself this weekend. For food planning. Prioritizing food consumption, only because I (miraculously) seem to have inadvertently developed an exercise schedule, and my health overall is priority #1. Cleaning will be next.
Shut up! It will!! Lol!!