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The Nat Pack: The super fashionable, super mod, super hip family consisting of Nat, Pete, Jakob, Brock, Troy, and Ivy. Like The Rat Pack, only younger, cuter, and not as rich or famous.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Unfinished Thoughts

I've been a little frustrated all week.  I think it's because I taught a lesson on self-mastery to my cute Young Women on Sunday.  And I'm probably the last person that should be teaching that.  Because I'm the ultimate non-master of myself. 

We were talking about bad habits, and I told the girls that sometimes I end up leaving my dishes unwashed, so that they're lining my counter, and have dried food on them and I hate that that's become one of my habits.  Now, it's not every day, but still, it happens way more often than I'd like.  I was explaining this, and one of the girls got this "how gross" look on her face.  And I was like, I know, right?  Totally gross. 

But really, it's not just dirty dishes.  It's laundry that piles up taller than Troy (I measured today).  It's unmopped floors and stinky bathrooms.  It's the unfinished projects sitting by my computer.  It's the oh-crap-we're-almost-out-of-milk-better-finally-make-a-list-and-run-to-the-store.

It's procrastination.

And I hate it about myself.  It's even hitting the snooze button-I'm procrastinating getting up out of bed.

I wish I could be one of those tackle everything immediately kinds of people.  And I can be like that about some things.  But I end up procrastinating a lot more often than I'd like.

Let's be honest.  Most of the things that I procrastinate are the things that I hate doing.  Chores, if you will.  And it boils down to being part of my "job" as a homemaker.  If I had a performance review right now of how I was doing, I'd probably get fired.  I'm surprised my kids haven't fired me yet.

So, what to do about it?

I only had a few minutes to prepare my lesson.  (Not because of procrastination, luckily, but just a miscommunication.)  So here are a few more thoughts that I wish I could have brought up.  I'm writing them here, just for myself.

In the lesson I brought up the ending of the poem Invictus.  The last two lines read "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  I wish I had had a copy of the whole poem, and had given it as a handout.  We talked about it briefly.  Basically, we are in charge of our own destiny.  If we don't like the direction we are heading in, we need to change it. 

I wish I had known beforehand that the author of that poem, William Ernest Henley,  had to have his leg amputated at 25 (which is about when he wrote the poem), and he died at 53 after leading a very active life.

We also read a scripture: Mosiah is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.  And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize...  I wish I would have had a minute to think about that scripture.  Because right now, it's not realistic to expect my house to be spotless-I have four little kids running around making messes right and left!  But again, I can't blame them for it all.  I need to be diligent, that I "might win the prize". 

I was thinking about some of our girls that play sports, especially the track girls.  Every person has their different strengths; not everyone is made to sprint; not everyone is made for long distance, either.  But everyone has their own race to run, at their own pace.  What one person can accomplish in a day is not the same as another person.  And it can ebb and flow in our own lives-there are times when we can conquer a lot, get a lot done, and feel great.  There are other times when it's all we can do to get everyone fed for the day, never mind do the dishes on top of that.  But you can't win a race if you don't even get on the track to start the race to begin with.

The gist of the lesson was thoughts lead to actions, which lead to habits, which lead to your character, and finally to your destiny.  So to change a habit, we need to change our thoughts and our actions, which will lead to a different destiny.

So this is my step 1: I'm trying to change my thoughts.  I've realized that no one is going to do the laundry for me.  No one is going to push me out of bed.  Not that this is a new epiphany for me, but I'm the only one to blame for having a laundry pile the size of a small mountain.

My step 2: my actions.  Yesterday I "caught up" on dishes.  Today I "caught up" on laundry.  My goal to change my habit of procrastination is to do two loads of laundry every day, and to do my dishes every day, no matter how late. 

And, this should lead to my step 3: my habits getting changed.  There are so many other things that am tired of procrastinating on, like painting my downstairs living room, or making new bedspreads for my boys.  But if I can conquer the mundane everyday tasks, then I can move on to bigger and better, and conquer those things, too.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I challenged my girls to pick just one bad habit, and work to change it.  And that is what I am going to do.  Because I AM the master of my fate.  I AM the captain of my soul!


Heidi said...

I think we're related. I was just thinking about this last night and declared war on my bad habits. Check out Fly Lady if you haven't already. I'm hoping that will help. Loving a shiny sink and being determined to keep it shiny is like changing your thoughts.... first baby step. Best of luck to you! We can do it!

lexykay said...

Natalie... this is seriously exactly what i needed to hear this week. I've been having a really hard week and this really, really opened my eyes. Thank you so much. I'm not being sarcastic or cheesey, you honestly inspired me with this post.

The Staker Family said...

Wow Natalie, thanks! I feel less lonely in my messy house surrounded by laundry and dishes! I have been trying to catch up as well and I keep getting discouraged because it isn't done yet. I am right there with you, I need to do 2 loads of laundry and the dishes everyday, my problem is mostly folding and putting them away after they are washed! I am challenging myself to change my habits as well, so thanks for the push it the right direction!

Mosers said...

Love it! I found that if I devote x amount of hours each day to dishes laundry floors and bathrooms my house stays cleaner... not cleaned as in done.. it will NEVER be done.. but it stays cleaner! I don't function well with clutter! But living with my inlaws my mother in law finished dishes after dinner every meal! I started it while living there because I wanted to please her and love having a clean kitchen when I follow through at home! It is a habit thing... BUT... you are also human and a mom of 4 "little" ones! When they are able to do more.. won't that be a glorious day! Loved your post!

Karlenn said...

Don't be too hard on yourself, Nat. A little bit of rest is good for us frazzled moms. And it's not like you've been putting off dishes so you can sleep all day or watch soaps all day. You have been doing very important things when you haven't been doing dishes - you've been spending time nurturing your kids. And that's the most important thing for you to be doing. And whenever you feel like a bad housekeeper, watch an episode of Hoarders and you will realize that you are doing AOK.

Lesa @ music notes said...

New to your blog from MMB.

I happen to run across that quote about change and destiny this week and put it on my FB as a status.

Thanks for sharing this post. You said a lot of really good things.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking the same thing lately. I feel like I run around after my kids all day and get nothing else done. I need to be better about doing the dishes and laundry, etc. Good luck!! I hope you succed!:)

But I do agree with Kar. Our most important job is our kids and if something has to give I think the dishes can stay dirty for a night or two, or three:)