We were getting ready to go on a trip and I like the house to be tidy for two reasons. 1. I feel better 2. We don’t leave something behind and learn about it 100 mile into the trip when Fiona decides to have a tantrum about where her sequin flip bracelet has gone.
So one area that I try to leave alone is the kids playroom. We attempt to clean it once a week so that we can dust/vacuum but basically it’s how they want to keep it. They love when there is wide open space to run around in so that is something that I have tried to use to coerce them in cleaning by explaining that they’ll have a fun, open room. They love to make things out of recycled boxes etc. The room was overtaken by all of this stuff so we went to the container store one day and organized the heck out of the room. It is not perfect and some days isn’t even photo worthy but what I like about what we did is that is it functional. We are able to clean up and make it look organized but still fun and lived in very quickly now that we organized it. I knew that we were going to have a fight on our hands. Fiona hates to clean and refuses to do much but she is 4 so I take what I can get.
Zoe will help, but often reluctantly and her arms always get really long, her back slumps over and I think she loses any skeletal system that she once had. She just is made of jell-o and sort of slinks over to the area to clean. I have tried numerous things to get them to clean up that never worked, but I knew that we needed to clean up before we were headed out for our vacation. I had been reading a book by Dr Shefali Tsabary called Out of Control. It talks about not disciplining children. What she means by that is that you don’t assign odd punishments for random infractions. For example, if your child didn’t clean their room, then don’t take away their playtime days later. She talks about allowing children to have emotions, opinions etc and not imposing our rules which are made up anyway. Instead, put ourselves in the shoes of the children. Why are they crying- are they hungry? Etc So it was playroom cleaning and I thought “Hmm how would I have wanted to clean when I was a kid?”
So I thought about a game. Now normally, my games end with a reward, but I thought what makes the journey fun. What makes the work fun. So I hid post-it notes under a pile of toys or blocks. The rules of the game were that they needed to start to clean. Once they found a post-it note, they needed to continue to clean up the area that was attached to that sticky note. I would guide them. For example, if they found a sticky note under a pile of blocks, they needed to clean the entire pile of blocks. Once finished they got to eat a gummy bear. I was the inspector and helper as well. So we were all working together but they were doing a lot of the work of cleaning up their own mess. When we got back from vacation, the mess crept back in. We weren’t even back for 5 days and the playroom was once again a disaster. I told them that we needed to clean it again. They jumped up and I wasn’t even able to finish my tea before we had to go and start cleaning because they wanted their candy treat. This particular time was even more exciting because they had gotten a variety box of candy and were excited to get to pick out whatever piece they chose once they cleaned their spot. They even shared with each other and were in a good mood after the project.
Often times as women we are taught to “play nice”. As a child, I said what was on my mind. I once told a Catholic priest that I thought that a catholic nun may have not gone Heaven because she used to spank (ie beat to a pulp) kids (wellll?!?!?! where do you think she went. I think her gates were a little warm to the touch rather than pearly). He looked at me with disdain and I can’t remember but there were probably a series of Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s to make up for what I said.
However, as I grew older, maybe it wasn’t exactly proper to “tell the truth”. If you just got along and followed some arbitrary rules you would be promoted, get chosen for special favors, or at the very least just keep your job. I had this sick feeling in my stomach if I had to follow a rule that I wasn’t comfortable with. Hopefully, my conscience would win out and I would do what I felt was the right thing to do. Could I tell the truth and defend someone who may be defenseless against someone who was perceived as being more powerful? Maybe even harder than that is the ability to tell that person that you truly care about that they have to move out, leave the job, or end the friendship because, in the end, it will be best for both of you.
As women we are taught or bred to be nurturers (I’m not sure which?) It’s ok to be honest and if someone is upset or holds a grudge then so be it. As long as we are coming from a place of trying to change the situation for the better then . . . . they will just have to get over it. So recognize that there is something that is hard to say and just say it already!?!?!?!?!
In college, I had a class in which once per week we had a group project to work on. We did the research, wrote the report, and worked on our oral, in class, presentation. We worked and worked and worked. One day as we were walking back toward our respective dorms, we were discussing the final touches on our project. As we walked down the street and this guy Adam- a close talker- for some reason I remember he was a close talker and would keep moving in to fill the space between us. I hate when my space is invaded. So I was focusing on his walking closer and closer and me practically banging into sidewalk signs. I wasn’t paying any attention to what he said. I was just thinking, “Am i almost home?”
Then suddenly he said “you know we have worked really hard. So hard that I think that right now, we would get a 95% on our project” In order to get a higher percentage, I think that we would need to work an additional 5 hours to get a 97% and if we wanted to get a 98% we would need to work another 15 hours. The last little bit would require so much work that I don’t feel it is worth it when we have a solid project. WE could be spending our time on other valuable things.
Ok space invader. What say you? I think you are onto something. So we don’t need to eek out every last ounce of work and effort for some project or job. If we do that, we lose all of our energy and then have none to start another project or to be in a good mood even to enjoy the process of ending the current one. I sometimes hold on tight to eek out that last good bit of work and keep perfecting and perfecting and then maybe that project just fizzles because it wasn’t quite right, but if I would’ve launched it at 95% it would have been magnificent and helped people and been exactly what was needed and now no one gets to enjoy it. Or maybe I keep trying to eek out perfection and then I do that and by the time that it’s done I”m exhausted and having a miserable time.
Just remember, get to 95% does not mean that you didn’t give 100% to the project. It just means that you know when the project needs to be published, executed whatever it is. Because often times continuing to press forward, causes the thing to not even reach 1%. It gets thrown in the trash or tabled because it is too darn exhausting to continue. It feels so good to just let it out into the world. Go and figure out what you need to complete to 95% and just do it!
Growing up I was good in math/science. So the natural progression of being a child a of a liberal mom who started her career in the 70’s was to go into engineering.
“Have your own career. Don’t rely on a man for money.”
“ You can do anything the boys can do.”
I liked matchbox cars but I also loved cute dresses and purses. Most of the people in my classes were guys. there were a handful of girls in my college course. I got a job in manufacturing with the macho men. I was literally a little girl of 25 years with a bunch of guys. I didn’t know how to possess femininity yet be assertive. Women in my life were either nurturing or assertive and unapproachable. They weren’t elegant but in charge.
At this job, I had to wear steel toed shoes. So I climbed onto the shoe mobile where I was to find a pair of Steel Toed Shoes to wear EVERYDAY for my job in manufacturing no matter how uncomfortable or clunky.
“Do you have any cute steel toed shoes?” I asked the man working.
“It depends on your definition of cute” answered the middle aged overweight man with a plumbers crack to rival the San Andreas Fault. I took this as a “NO”
There were exactly 3 women’s shoe choices in a sea of men’s shoes. This made sense because there were probably 10 women working among 500 plus men. I get it and am a proponent of it’s what you do, how you perform and not “how you look”. But for me, for my comfort, for my confidence, for my sense of style, I would have liked a choice! Maybe a steel toed pump!
I had always want to prove that I could do whatever the boys did. I was good at math and science so naturally I went into engineering. Our mother’s burned their bras, had a career, and tried to break the glass ceiling so that we may have choices, opportunities, and the ability to change the man’s world. So I had to succeed and be like one of the boys. How could I enter this world with my feminine side intact but still be the assertive woman that I needed to be. To have the confidence to go for whatever I wanted. I wanted to create a place to discuss such issues and to help women to have the confidence to know that their goals and dreams are achievable and a place that women feel like they are part of the ‘ole girls club. From this idea came the term Steel Toe Pumps.