Sunday, December 4, 2011


It amazes me that an attitude shift like I’ve had can change so many things.  The change I’ve been most shocked by has been my marriage.  Don’t get me wrong, my marriage has never been anything but calm waters, but I’ve seen some subtle changes that have made me more confident in my role as wife and mother.
First and foremost, my husband and I are both much less stressed.  I’m the one who gets stressed easily and my wonderful, naturally laid-back husband has told me more than once that he only feels stressed when I am at my highest levels of anxiety.  I was so overwhelmed by so many things that I had everybody in the house worked up.  Now that we have the main living areas decluttered and under control, and I am happier with myself, I have relaxed and so has everybody else.  We’re no longer being overwhelmed by all of the STUFF.

According to my husband, it’s a lot easier to come home and enjoy being home now that it’s comfortable.  With this new shift, the stuff is gone, and just as important, the tension it caused.  For myself and the kids, the routines have been the biggest facilitator of this peace.  Now that we have a routine and some basic organizing systems, it’s easier to keep these spaces maintained.  Also, because I’m not constantly drowning in housework, I can spend more quality time with my husband during those short periods when he is home.  (And he’s not spending all of that valuable “time off” helping me bring the house back from the brink of disaster.)

Another change I’ve noticed is that I say “Thank you” a lot more.  This seems to annoy my husband; he doesn’t understand why I am constantly thanking him and telling him how much I appreciate him for helping around the house.  That is just how he was raised and he can’t seem to fathom it being any other way.  (If I haven’t told you all before, I have the best mother-in-law on earth.  She raised one heck of a son.)  Saying thank you goes a long way with my kids as positive reinforcement.  I’m seeing tangible results in the fact that good behaviors are being repeated without being asked and whether or not I’m watching them.  These behaviors will soon be habits that will help them grow into naturally organized individuals. 

I’m noticing better communication, also.  In the five years we’ve been together, I don’t think my husband and I have ever told each other we’re proud of one another (other than on military accomplishments).  This past month has been very different.  After two months on the job, it looks like my husband is on track for some wonderful things with this company.  I’ve never been a more proud wife than I am seeing him happy and thriving since this career change.  And I’ve been making a point to tell him.

I’ll admit, I was caught a little off guard when he told me he was proud of how well I was finally adjusting to my new career, too.  Take about a confidence boost!  And, you know, he’s right.  I’m more excited about being a mom, a wife, a housekeeper, and a writer than I ever was about any other job.

He’s also very happy about the part of my attitude change that has affected how I feel about “stuff.”  My husband used to dread helping me go through things.  He preferred to do it alone: much faster and much left stuff left at the end.  Of course, control freak that I am, I just couldn’t let that happen!  Now going through things together is much less painful.  In fact, tonight we have a date with all of the clothes we’ve received for the kids and I’m looking forward to it!

I wish someone had told me a long time ago what a difference good routines and less stuff could make!