Mess Induced Depression (and how I'm dealing with it)

I always thought that "home-making" would be my dream job because I'm domestic and a homebody and I just like making food and decorating things and being organised, ya know?

And then I became a housewife with a toddler.


 Lately I've found myself getting increasingly more stressed/overwhelmed/down in the dumps over little things like the constant never-ending suffocating mess that magically recreates itself day after day after day. (Actually every 10 minutes with a toddler).
When I am sitting in a cluttered room, I actually get a kind of claustrophic feeling like "I can't even walk in a straight line to get out of here."

I clean up after my daughter is in bed, then again in the morning, and again during her nap but holy wow-balls there is always another mess. A childless person might mistakenly think I hadn't had a clean up for a while, but this is right after tidying:

Tidying with a small tornado next to me, that is.
I think the sheer pointlessness of tidying is what got me. What's the point when I live with a toddler sized tornado? The repetition of cleaning and cleaning and cleaning was straight-up depressing.

And then along with that, the self-beration that goes with it. I am ALWAYS thinking "How come no-one else's house looks like this 24/7? What's their secret? Am I more lazy than other mothers? I know I am more lazy than other mothers. I have ONE child. What's wrong with me? Why am I so lazy? Why do I have to have hobbies? My only hobby should be cleaning. Everyone else's only hobby is cleaning.

And then I would immediately feel reeeeeally sleepy.
And mopey.
And lazy.
And sad.
And negative.
And dreading the cycle starting again the next day.
............ i.e: depressed.

I googled it and mess induced depression is common so I can't be the only one?

I knew I had to get some strategies going over the course of a few days I kept note of all the things that I was constantly tidying up. I mean the things that just always end up all over the place for no reason. And then I started thinking about how to tackle those areas. Here's what I've come up with:

1. Ella's toys and books always in piles between the couch (where we read them) and bookshelf
Solution: Hide 80% of toys in the hall cupboard because she never plays with them anyway. Put All the books we read frequently into a basket by the couch. Suddenly the living room was actually tidy all day apart from small things I could easily chuck into a basket.

2. Our books and magazines always getting removed from the ottoman
Still to do: Find, somehow, a spot to build a floating shelf on one of our walls and keep all our books up there out of reach.

3. Shoes. Everywhere all the time.
My husband's shoes are so big they are an actual hazard. We need a system. I just don't know what yet because we enter and exit the house by 3 different doors!

4. Paperwork forever covering the whole dining room table
I have no real fix for this yet (tips?) but I just dumped everything into a laundry hamper to get it off the table and it feels good.

5. My clothes all over the bedroom chair and surrounding floor, always
Um, no fix yet. If my wardrobe door could actually open more than halfway I feel like I would be way more likely to hang clothes up where they belong!! We were quoted 2K to install bifolding doors in the wardrobe (it's a standard double wardrobe size). Does that seem ridiculous to you? I'm sure I could just make one? Or not.

6. Bathroom clutter. Makeup, husband's shaving stuff, contact lenses + bajillion corresponding bottles of stuff
I put all my makeup into the wall cupboard shelf thing that's hidden behind a mirror in true 70's style, so that little hands can't reach it. We still have a whole window-sill of contact lens stuff that's not practical to store in the vanity under the sink because it's used 2xper day. And it doesn't fit in the wall-cupboard thing. And then there's all the sunscreen that doesn't have a home. :(

7. We like to pile things along the top of the stair rail down our hallway when we can't be bothered putting them in a certain room.
I don't know the answer. Own no things? That would work. Give ourselves small electric shocks whenever we place something on the stair rail? That would work better.

Today I swept through our house with that empty laundry hamper and dumped everything that was cluttering any surface into it. And then I hid it in my bedroom and closed the door.  And the house looked sparkly and clean and I still feel amazing 5 hours later.

{I will pay for this later}

I like everything to have a home, to be part of an efficient System, to be either useful or beautiful... blah blah. But mostly I just like feeling like I can walk in a straight line without faceplanting.


 1. I went on a Girl's Day Out with my mum - and no baby. It was so long overdue and really made me appreciate how much I can get done baby-free! We started at 9.30am and the day included a cupcake and coffee from Sweet Bakery and Cakery (pic below - such a cute tiny place) and visiting my Grandma and then... shopping.

To say I've been overdue for some decent clothes is an understatement. You know how you open your wardrobe each morning and mentally dismiss each option, e.g, I would go along the rack of tops and for each one there would be some reason I wouldn't wear it. "Too clingy", "Has a tiny hole in sleeve", "Need to wear something under it and can't be bothered dealing with that", "Not comfy enough".. etc.
I decided to literally unload my wardrobe of every single item on that list.
And when I looked back in my wardrobe, there were about 3 tops left that I wanted to keep. Eye-opening!

I realised then, that every single day I reach for jeans and a tshirt top. Every. Single. Day. They are what I wear.
Once I accepted this fact, I realised I need to get some good quality t-shirts/tops that will go with everything and last me for, hopefully years. Accepting that there are certain things I ALWAYS go for made this process so much easier and helped me to avoid buying rubbish.

I came home with 3 tops that will cover most occasions. Today I got a new tan leather belt. Now I just need some tan boots, a pair of comfortable heels (I have never found any comfortable ones, ever), and a cross-body slim-line bag that I can use for baby-free events instead of the nappy bag. And then I'll be SET with my new tiny but functional wardrobe.
[New Jade green simple T, and coordinating baby accessory]
 2. Aside from the wardrobe purge described above, I realised that having my hair presentable every day is super important to my ability to leave the house. I always dress casual, but if my hair is ok then I feel like I'm ready for anything. It takes me ages to deal with my crazy hair (it's actually an afro underneath the heat styling) but for me it's worth it.

3. I bought a new concealer. I know you don't care, but for someone who suffers from such severe dark circles under my eyes that I'm actually scared someone will call the cops on my husband thinking I'm being beaten, concealer is important. I wish I didn't need it, but I do, and the new one I'm trying (my first 'proper' makeup brand) is Estee Lauder Double Wear concealer. It's performing a lot better than my usual supermarket brands!

4. My daughter is old enough to go on Fluffy dates with me. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. A week ago, we went for a walk along the beach and then sat in a cafe (out of the freezing wind) and I got to sip my latte in peace while my little buddy sipped her fluffy like a little lady. I feel like I've been waiting for this day all my life.
{Photo is from her 3rd fluffy date with me and Daddy at Mojo in town}
She is also old enough now to enjoy going to the zoo and swimming pool and other fun activities - so good.

 5. I'm over buying house stuff. 
Maybe I got burnt out with the impossible task of making our 70's house into a gorgeously perfect classic abode without spending money, and whilst keeping everything practical for a young dirty family. Suddenly I'm over it and I have this gut feeling that this is not the right time to be throwing money into our house. FYI - our house is pretty perfect as is, it's sunny and spacious and warm and functional. I just have issues with the original 70's kitchen, brown vinyl floors, etc etc. And we'll get to those one day. I'm just starting to accept it probably won't be any day soon.

BUT I am loving my new coffee machine that I was given for my birthday, and I've been keeping an eye out for nice little latte cups. I ended up picking up these ones from Country Road on sale and I'm tempted to go back and get a few more.
{Husband doesn't know why I can't just buy huge mugs instead, but don't these mini ones feel a million times morce schmancy?!}
 6. Kid's clothes. Oh they are SO FUN. Ella has a lot of hand-me-downs which is amazing, but when I need to buy clothes I try to get them from Next (an online UK store) as they are so much cuter than most NZ shops. These sneakers I am going to have to keep FOREVER.
P.S Why must they grow out of everything after 40 seconds??

7.  Just for kicks, here's what we were doing at this time last year:
[Being sleep deprived and taking grainy phone photos in the dark, that is]
 My girl was cute back then, but she has my heart even more now, and most of the time she lets me sleep a bit more too :)

More than I can chew (always)

Ahoy there!

I thought it was about time for a brief update on the gazillion (or 3) things that have been occupying my 'spare time'. In quote marks because define spare.
Meant to be loading dishwasher? Spare time.
Floors need vacuuming to the point that guests have started wearing their shoes inside to protect their socks? Spare time. 
Toilet that stinks even after cleaning and no-one knows how/why? Spare time.

Oh and just incase my future non-toddler-mum-self ever forgets this one point that is so obvious to me I assume everyone knows it: There are 1.5 hours in a day when this spare time phenomenon can happen. Maybe 2.5 if I'm lucky. I.E during toddler naptime, of course! You can't do things and have a toddler. At least, not my toddler. I sometimes see pictures of other one year olds sitting on beds or benches and I'm like, what? Yours just sits there? Sitting? Without launching herself onto the concrete floor or anything?
These toddlers be crazy.

1. Life has just got fun. Every month or week that passes I find myself thinking "This is the best stage so far!" but right now our 'baby' jusssst got old enough to sit with me in a cafe and drink her own fluffy out of an espresso cup. Basically everything I've been waiting for since I first found out I was pregnant. We also go to the zoo, the playground, 'gym' groups and walks on the beach and/or in hardware stores with her now. She can walk herself and it's weird and novel and amazing to not be carrying her or hauling a carseat or buggy around! Also she is obsessed with her gumboots and going wild in the great outdoors. You know - chasing dogs, eating shells, being throw 10 feet in the air...

[Just when I thought she couldn't get cooler.]

2. I get most of my energy from two things: 1) Being organised and controlling my physical environment by cleaning, styling etc, and 2) Being creative. Unfortunately the second one creates a truckload of MESS and I would show you a photo of our spare bedroom but it's hidden underneath piles and literal piles of fabric scraps. I recently borrowed my mum's sewing machine and rediscovered sewing..... I may never give it back. 
Among my far too many projects that I want to complete, is a quilt for my daughter. My mum made me a quilt when I was little and I just feel like it would be fun, and meaningful, and also would make her room a bit more pretty. 
Here are some of the fabrics I'm starting with - artfully piled on a grubby rug with some plastic, as you do...
{Remember when my blog was professional and pretty? har har har}

3. Is getting stressed and overwhelmed to the point of tears, followed by getting all 'on top of' everything and feeling like you've got it all sorted, followed by getting stressed and overwhelmed to the point of tears, a normal thing for mums? I feel like this cycle repeats itself every couple of weeks. 

4. I have like 50 house projects on my list and weirdly I feel in no rush to do any of them. New carpet? Too hard to decide which one. New kitchen? Yes but I need a billion bucks. New paint in bedrooms? Yes but can someone do it for me? Buy furniture and curtains that we need/want? Ok but I'll probably just end up with buyer's remorse a year later.
I think I'm realising that good things take time and also, our house is always going to be a 70s build. Those darn window pelmets are built in to the studs. I can repaint walls but without the furniture that I want, what's the point? Everything depends on something else being done first, and honestly, it all just sounds so exhausting right now.

5. Clean eating and exercise. I attempt them but so far no difference to my physique. I think I might have more energy but I also think that might be in my head.
Also, define clean.
Because zero flour, dairy, or sugars is just not sustainable! What happens when you go to someone's house? We are always eating at other people's houses. Bludgers that we are.

6. The simple life.
We've gone so far as to only watch any tv or movies on weekend evenings. And usually we have something else on so the result is that we only watch something every 2-3 weeks... it's good! 
I also started waking up at 6ish to get a shower, makeup, quiet time and quick chores done before Ella wakes up (gasp!). But then she started waking up early and I stopped. But I should start again. Because those sleepy first few minutes of being ALONE before the day begins are amazing and make me feel human. BLISS

7. Other types of bliss:
- Coffee in the morning when no-one else is around. It doesn't matter about the coffee - it's being able to drink something that always feels like a luxury for some reason, without interruption or having it grabbed at by a curious bub.
- Letting yourself get really freaking cold before hopping into a hot bath. Sitting naked on the bathroom floor getting really really freezing and goosebumpy on a winter's evening before finally getting into a steaming bath is stupidly good.  Oh - thank me later! I should write a book.
- Going to bed at 8pm and just sitting there with a book knowing you still have some time to do NOTHING before bedtime. 
- When you make something and it turns out awesome.
- When someone takes the baby for the day so you can do stuff. #husbandpoints
- When it's still dark when you get up, so you light a candle and keep the lights off (while you sip coffee and have quiet time). It feels like you are the only person awake in the world. 
- When Summer is slowly on it's way and there are now birds singing when you cook dinner.

8. Not bliss:
- Getting overwhelmed / overthinking / mess-induced-depression / negative thoughts / when you make something and it turns out horrid / fatigue / cooking and then cleaning and then cooking again and then not cleaning and then not cleaning and then DISASTER ZONE KITCHEN FOR DAYZ /  asking somebody to help and then feeling guilty about it / not giving baby full attention for 5 minutes so that you can get something else done and then feeling guilty about it / complaining about anything and then feeling guilty about it / sitting down to read or go on facebook and then feeling guilty about it.

9. I think that's it?

Thanks for bearing with me through the world's most pointless blog post ;)