Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm FLYing

My life is transformed. I dare not breathe too much lest it prove to be just one of my ups, a phase, or some weird hormonal surge. But I’ve been going steady for three weeks, so I can allow some of my exhilaration to escape.

My house is CLEAN! I am getting ORGANIZED! I have a ROUTINE! Alhamdulillah!

Housework has always been this horrible, dreaded noose around my neck, the bane of my marriage and motherhood. It is a mindset--something in my mind feels humiliated and frustrated to have a job description of such menial, boring, and never-ending tasks. My house has been so dirty at times that I won’t even attempt to describe it out of embarrassment. Let’s just say if you dropped by for an unexpected visit, I might have put a plastic bag over your head before walked in. The guilt, depression, and listlessness that a messy, out-of-control home can create puts a damper on everything, including the quality of time you spend with your kids.

On Friday, when I reach the 28 day mark, I will share this journey with you. I am not exaggerating one bit the impact that this process has had on my home atmosphere, mothering abilities, moods, family, and personal peace of mind.

I called a friend (who is my role model in cleanliness, among many other things) about two weeks into the program to gush my excitement at having a house that is staying clean and getting cleaner by the day. I confided I was worried that maybe I had an overactive thyroid that was cleaning my house instead of me.

I hope my friends who are disorganized, lazy, sloppy perfectionists like me can get some hope out of my experience. A well-oiled, consistently and comfortably clean household (but not spotless) can be ours by following a program that dismantles perfectionist and internal negative attitudes towards housework and helps you build small habits and routines over the course of several weeks. It’s no big effort—between 20 minutes to 90 minutes a day is all it takes.

And I will stop here because I am now sounding like an advertisement.

I pray to Allah that He helps me to maintain my gains, continues to provide my family with a clean, warm, comfortable home, and grants me the sincerity to make all of my actions and habits for His sake. All thanks is to Him.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

How to Get Your Kid to Stop Nagging You for Sweets

Moona and Buru know there is a bowl filled with Skittles and Smarties on top of the refrigerator, leftover candy from yesterday in case our neighbors' children came to our door. Today, there is incessant nagging, searching, trying out different stools and chairs to see if they are high enough, and racing to the kitchen, falling over each other, every time they hear the crinkle of a wrapper (and a mom secretly getting her sugar fix).

I need to get these dye-filled, chemically spiked, artificially flavored sugar cubes out of our house somehow. In the meantime, I gave Moona an illuminating lesson on what candy will do to her teeth and her gums if she eats too much of it. She learns well through experience and demonstration, and often becomes a more fervent and disciplined believer than I after a revelation.

"Come, Moona, let's look at what too much candy does to little kid's teeth."

We went on google and searched for images of decaying teeth. Ewwww, I could barely look, and squinted through one eye. Moona was transfixed.

"More, Umee, I want to see more."

So we looked at a few more pictures and talked about how we should only eat a little bit of sugar, and always brush our teeth very well. Moona jumped off my lap and ran to the bathroom. I heard the faucet turn on, and then rigorous brushing.

She came back and asked, "Is there any black on my teeth?"

"No, very white."

"Umee, make sure Buru doesn't eat any candy. You too. No candy for you too."

Score for Healthy, Crunchy Momma-side. Hopefully, Moona's policing will help keep the Junk-Food, Indulgent, Craving side of me in check.