I have a confession to make: I cannot relax in my own home. Yes, ONLY once the kids are asleep, the dishes washed and dried, the house tidied-up from the day’s mayhem and everything is in place for tomorrow morning’s drill, can I collapse into my bed. Book tightly clutched in hand, with bleary eyes I'll attempt to drink in a few pages before my heavy lids close and my body shuts down. At this predictable time, there's no “falling asleep;” in fact, I barely have time to squeeze in a goodnight kiss to my loving husband before slipping into a coma.
That is when I "relax." When I’m sleeping. And just ask my husband----I'm as still as a cadaver. All night long.
Because the truth is that I work from home, as both a freelance writer and a domestic goddess aka housewife. Generally, I find it utterly impossible to turn a blind eye toward the pile of soiled laundry, stack of dirty dishes, or toothpaste-smeared bathroom countertops and mirrors. This disorganized outer world provokes inner confusion. Consequently, my mind gets stuck in a state of “frazzled” rendering me incapable of concentrating on more important, pressing matters.
This holds true even on the weekends once late morning subsides into early afternoon, and we’re all still in pajamas, teeth unbrushed and the house in a state of disarray.
And the irony is that on the weekends the kids love to simply lay around, hauling out all their combined toys to create dramatic, lengthy simulations of being lost at sea, or abandoned in the hostile Amazon jungle, or engage in reenactments of whatever recently left an impression on their imaginative little minds. And as this familiar scene unfolds, I begin observing with glee, bursting with pride, as all five kids collaborate to convincingly portray their designated characters with the precision and dedication of professional actors.
Then suddenly the clock strikes 11am and I get antsy. In a state of urgency, I wander over to my husband, relishing his down-time relaxing in bed and plugged into his beloved Golf Channel.
So…what are we going to do today? Are we leaving? Should we get the kids ready? For what? It’s beautiful outside, how about we…
And if no interest is shown in exiting the house anytime soon, my trained eyes immediately begin to take “notice” of the heaps of muddy clothes, the mountain of crumbs and smeared butter on the rug, the dust balls in the corner, and all other unfinished business shouting out for attention.
I get anxious. Really anxious. And while the family is busy, entrenched in play, relaxation and renewal, I flutter about in an attempt to tackle if only a small percentage of the mounting household chores that never seem to diminish.
Even despite everyone’s pleas for me to just “sit down and RELAX,” I know this monster lurking within my work environment will not simply disappear if ignored.
So the solution is always to get (me) out of the house, out of my “office,” to enjoy a day at the park, at the beach, or wherever---as long as it’s away from home.
And once I step foot outside the door, I transform into the coolest, most laid-back, person--- spontaneous, witty and loads of fun.
Sunday we got out “just in time” (before I found myself feverishly scrubbing the juice-splattered baseboards) and took the kids canoeing at a local park. After a beautiful day of exercise and exploration of the great outdoors, we dined-out at a local joint. I was in my glory, enjoying and appreciating every minute with my wonderful family. No laundry to fold. No dishes to clean. No floor to sweep. No worries.
When we returned home, it was another story.
And if you think I’m the only one, I challenge anyone who works outside the home to just “hang out and chill” within the confines of their respective work place without feeling the compulsion to accomplish something. See if you can disregard all ringing phones, incoming emails and text messages, unopened snail mail, loudspeaker announcements, piles of papers and impending project deadlines.
Go ahead and try it. I dare you.
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