Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thinking About Excess

I recently read this book (no, it's not Thursday)...

It's a great book, but man did I feel like the loser parent when I was done. Because...there are so many times when I cave and become the permissive parent. It's the easier thing to do, in that moment, but I know it'll make life harder in the years to come. It's a constant battle to stay in the balanced parenting mode, and it is frankly exhausting. But I know it's what I (we) have to do.

So about excess. See, I think it's hard for kids to focus when they are surrounded by too many choices. I know it's hard for me, and I end up with tunnel vision, either reading a book or diving into the finite/infinite world of the Internet.

What does this mean for my household? I'm going to remove some of the little one's toys. It's so hard to do this, because she's creative with her toys and actually does play with a lot of them. But I think her creativity and imagination could allow her to repurpose the ones I leave her with, so she doesn't feel deprived. My gosh, deprived! These children are anything but.

How do you cope with excess in your life?


PeopleGeekTV said...

This is a really compelling question. I had to think about it for a bit before an answer came... which means that it was a great question to be asking the likes of me! ;)

The answer that came to me (hidden behind an *excess* of more questions) was that I have a binge-purge relationship with excess. For instance, I seem to need to let the house get *really* messy and then I go on a rampage and clean it up, throw things out, sort toys. My own thinking is cluttered... but relaxed... when the house is trashed. But when it is time to get down to business on some computer work or what not, I *need* to clean the house first. I used to think it was procrastination, but now I see it as more of a transition. I am not good at hyper-focusing to filter out the noise of excess. Perhaps that is why I get to the purge state. If my house is too cluttered for too long it is as though the radio was on the Rush Limbaugh show too loud. I can't stand it. I am overstimulated and cranky.

So, I don't know that I manage my clutter and excess so much. My fear of overwhelming stimuli does the job for me. ;) Just like my addiction to caffeine keeps me slender.

When I do try to be "disciplined" on a day-to-day basis with keeing excesses and clutter down, it physically hurts. And I get bored with doing the dishes as a routine. It is just more exciting to have heaps of dishes and then to plow through them all in one fell swoop. I feel like I am really accomplishing something, then. Doing three plates, some silverwear, and a pan has virtually no dopamine payoff for me.

Thanks for the compelling question asked at the perfect time for me to feel reflective and actually shar my response. What timing!


Clean ClutterFree Simple said...

The Flylady actually talks about that dopamine rush, though she doesn't call it that. How some of us wait to clean because we love the contrast. I admit I do love that massive change! But, really, I am happiest when the house is mostly clean most of the time. It's just so ironic that I love clean spaces but am a hoarder. Doesn't seem fair, does it?