Spring cleaning can be a time to purge all the clutter of your house and mind. But it’s not just about that. It’s about feeling better and building momentum for the year. So why is it so hard? What’s stopping us? One word: excuses.
Read on for the meaning behind our excuses, or jump ahead to some common excuses and how to fix them.
You can also download the Interpersonal Skills Worksheet directly.
(The worksheet was made on Canva on my mobile phone, so it’s a little rough, but gets the job done!)
Excuses: everyone’s got them
But why? What’s the point of making up excuses to put something off? Why stop ourselves from doing what makes us feel good? There are lots of reasons we make excuses. While they may feel better short term, they catapult us into a never ending cycle:
To defend ourselves.
Excuses are a perfect defense. We don’t want to admit that we suck at times. Society frowns upon being lazy. Why would we want to come out of the closet? Besides, we know we have “it” in there somewhere.
We have built our lives around comfort. Humans are creatures of habit and we don’t like change. On the surface, we may be itching to change, but deep down we like our life just the way it is.
A saying I really enjoy is that comfort is uncomfortable. Comfort zones provide us with a ton of excuses for putting something off. Think about it: how many times do you feel like you could do better? Be better? If you were truly happy, you wouldn’t have these thoughts.
Fear is defined as unpleasant emotion caused by a perceived threat. Throughout our lives we pick up what we know as limiting beliefs. These beliefs tell us that something is dangerous or painful to us.
There are many kinds of fear. They are often deep rooted and birth the limiting beliefs that lead to our excuses. 2 of the biggest ones I see in myself and others are:
Fear of failure(Perfectionsim)
Perfectionists set themselves extremely high standards. We see other moms with a spotless house and wonder, “How the hell do they keep that up? That’s what I want.”
So we resign ourselves to go above and beyond where we’re at in our own lives. We shoot for the stars when we are still on the ground. This causes a huge problem. You can’t skip a step on the ladder to success. You’ll trip.
Fear of success.
What happens when we actually succeed? Then we have nothing to strive for. We think we’ll feel better when we “get there”, but we don’t even know where “there” is. We’ll never see ourselves as able to actually achieve it. That helps us create: you guessed it. EXCUSES!
We have low self esteem.
Our limiting beliefs not only make excuses, they feed off our low self esteem. The perfectionist in us says we’ll never be enough, which in turn makes us think we can’t do it. It also tells us we don’t have the resources to accomplish it:
If I only had x,y and z I’d be better at this.
If I only did x,y and z I’d be better at this.
We have supermom syndrome.
We compare ourselves to others we see as having the things we want. This makes us feel worse. What we fail to remember is that we just aren’t there yet. We’re in a different place on our journey, but that doesn’t mean we’re better or worse than anyone else.
I was talking to my girlfriend the other night. She’s someone I’ve always looked up to. She’s what most of us would see as the ultimate supermom- she works full time, goes to the gym 6 days a week, does all the cool things with her kids and keeps her house immaculate. I don’t know where she finds the drive to do it.
Despite all this, she still sees herself as a failure because she struggles with her own fears and insecurities.
Now that we’ve covered why we make the excuses, its time to identify the ones we make.
Problem: Too Busy
We just don’t have the time.
Work, school, all the kids’ extracurriculars. Cooking dinner. All the errands we have to do. Writing blog posts(what do you think I could be doing right now?). We find plenty of time do what we see as important to keep our life together. But do you want to come home to a messy house? Do you like coming home to beat yourself up? Messy house= messy mind.
If you’re like me, your morning consists of getting the kids ready for school. Wake up. Wake them up. Make breakfast. Eat. Get dressed. Get them dressed. Brush your teeth. Brush their teeth. Sometimes make their lunch. Gather all their papers/folders/books and extra clothes. Stuff it in their bookbags and shove them out the door/ into the car.
So where’s the time to clean? The counters are a mess, there’s laundry all over the floor and dishes in the sink. You’ve got to get to work/errands/appointments!
Getting dressed: pick up extra laundry laying around on the floor while picking out your clothes.
Brushing your teeth: clear the bathroom counter. Put away your makeup/styling products/ that box of cold meds from last week.
Breakfast: wipe the counters down. Literally, wipe the crumbs on to the floor(this helps me sweep later because I can’t stand stepping on crumbs). Put the cereal boxes away.
Gathering items for school: toss the stuff you don’t need. Seriously. That science worksheet they did in school? Not going to benefit anyone by sitting on the table for weeks.
Problem: Too overwhelMed
When we come home from busting our ass at work/errands/grocery shopping/etc, the last thing we want to do is start cleaning. We used all our energy on the day’s activities. Plus we have to start dinner, do homework with the kids, and try to keep our sanity.
We take one look at the mess from the morning or the piles of stuff laying all over the house and we stress.
Solution: Pick up as you go.
Walking to the bathroom? Grab a few things along the way. Hubby’s hat and shoes ? Grab them and put them where they go. Kids’ toys all over the floor? Scoop them up and shove them into a corner for now (we’ll get to that later). Books, magazines, notebooks? Snatch them up and stack them neatly on that counter or shelf.
I know what you’re thinking. “How’s this going to help me actually clean?” Trust me. It will help. The little stuff piles up. Taking a little bit at a time and grouping it together helps you start sorting it out.
Solution: Catch all bins.
I bought a fabric tote from the dollar store and when I don’t know what to do with something laying around, I toss it in there. It’s currently full of toys, spare clothes, papers and magazines that I’ll “get to later”. When I head to another room, I take it with me and empty it out a little at a time.
Solution: Shush the perfectionist.
Relax. This mess is only temporary. Like Rome, it wasn’t built in a day. Unlike Rome, it will take more than a day to come down. One. Step. At. A. Time.
Problem: Lack of support
It seems that most moms are on their own sometimes. Sure, we may get help from time to time, but our main responsibility is to tend to the house.
But it takes a village. How are we supposed to pick up after ourselves and the significant other and the kids and, in some cases, the animals(we have 2 dogs who I also count as kids).
Be a broken record. Explain to your family why you need the help. Download this Interpersonal Skills Worksheet to help you do it effectively.
Solution: involve the family.
No matter their age, kids can help too! Make it a game. Whoever picks up their stuff first gets a treat. Build it into their routine. Make a conscious effort to have them do something small every day.
Ask your significant other to help as much as they can too. Try to devise a plan of who will do what chore for the day/week/forever.
Homework: Find your block
Now that we’ve learned a few of the blocks there are and how to combat them, we’ll take some time to reflect.
Use a few minutes of down time through your day today and really think about what’s stopping you. Think about why it’s stopping you. If you could wave a magic wand, what would wish for? More time? A maid? A cleaning robot? Or just the drive to overcome that block?
Let me know what you come up with. Is there something blocking you that I didn’t cover? What kind of excuses do you find yourself making? What can you do to nip them in the bud?
Tomorrow we’ll dive into what area you’re manifesting as a result of this block.