This morning upon waking and looking around it suddenly seemed like there were a dozen things I missed. Even the pile of clean drying dishes seemed like a huge mess and I could feel myself getting stressed at how I would "get it all done" today. I looked across the living room at the baby happily pulling out all of her toys and I had to just laugh. It's all a matter of perspective after all.
Nothing has changed from last night when I went to bed. Well, NOW there are more toys out, but mostly everything is how I left it last night. And last night I felt good that the majority of the cleaning was done and the dishes were clean and drying so they could be put away this morning. So the only thing that changed was my perception. I raised the bar on myself.
I come from a family where cleanliness was very important. In fact I have several family members that are very OCD about things being spotless. Yet in my early twenties, when I realized having friends over was more important to me than only inviting them if my house was spotless, I began hosting Wednesday night dinners. Every Wednesday I would arrive home from work shortly before my friends arrived and begin the main dish of dinner. They would arrive with sides and we would enjoy the mid-week break. There was no time to clean and none of them cared. After a couple weeks of this I didn't care either.
Wednesday night dinners ended nearly seven years ago. Partly because I had some major life changes and mostly because I started working evenings. The principle is still the same though. I just read and article a couple days ago about this very thing. How it was more important to maintain our friendships and have social outlets than maintain the image of "having it all together" or having the house spotless.
So as I catch myself getting stressed this morning I have to laugh. I have to ask myself "who really cares?" I have an infant, 2 hairy dogs, and my husband and I both work. By those standards I think our house looks great! Even if it doesn't, I'd rather have family and friends over any day of the week than deny this pleasure and connection because of my perception of cleanliness.
I'm grateful to laugh. I'm grateful to catch myself as I feel stress building. I'm grateful to have just come back from vacation so I have a better awareness of stress levels. I'm grateful to remember a time when I let it go and reaped the benefits. I'm grateful for the article I just read that was a great reminder. I'm grateful to release my own expectations and just do what I can do today without the judgement. I'm grateful to know that the cleanliness of my home, in the long run, doesn't really matter.
What perceptions cause you stress? Who cares besides you? How can you release some of the stress around that perception?
May today remind us that it is all perception. May we laugh off our stresses and enjoy the moment. Have a beautiful day!