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The Shame of Consistent Inconsistency

The only time I have ever referred to myself as consistent was when describing my inconsistency.  If there is one thing I can share about my ADHD that is maddening to me, it is that this idea of “consistency” seems so foreign and far-fetched.

Last night the hubs and I were talking and discussing the state of our home right now. I can make this place appear put together in a pinch, but the truth is that it is full of cluttered cupboards, random piles in corners, and bins and baskets of mismatched items that I used in a quick clean up and never revisited.  I have clean laundry that sits for weeks, areas of chaos in each room, and each day I become more and more overwhelmed.

Saturday Paul texted me while I was out and shared that he gets anxious about the house, the car, and the garage, and wondered if we could work together to come up with better solutions.  Immediately the shame monster appears, and the sting of disappointment hits me hard.  To be honest, I knew this was coming soon. The house was overwhelming me and causing me anxiety, but I didn’t even know where to begin to tackle things. When it gets to be so much I become paralyzed, and I watch as it continues to get worse.

I am tired.  I am so stinking tired of coming up with solutions, plans, and systems that seem exciting and fun in the beginning but quickly get forgotten and irrelevant.

I am tired.  I am so stinking tired of coming up with solutions, plans, and systems that seem exciting and fun in the beginning but quickly get forgotten and irrelevant. If one part of the system we set in place to complete a task changes or doesn’t fit perfectly into the mold at that moment I simply stop.

Imagine the factories they show in “How It’s Made.” There is such an exact timing and precision that has to happen for all things to function smoothly.  If one part of the machine malfunctions the rest of the tasks after it cannot be completed until things are fixed.  For me it’s as if I shut down the entire factory as soon as one part of the machine malfunctions instead of going in to troubleshoot, fixing the problem, and continuing on with business as usual.

I cannot tell you how tired I am of shutting down factories. I am so tired of feeling like I start one process just to wait until I fail at it, because I know that even with my best intentions I will get bored, overwhelmed, and throw the whole thing out.

I see this in each and every are of my life, and when you continue to see this over and over again you begin to feel shame as you see your family impacted.  I feel like I am a good mom, but then I feel like a failure when it comes to providing an environment that is scheduled, structured, and has clear expectations.  I have tried chore charts, and while we do well for a while, they quickly get forgotten.

I wish this was a post that offered solutions for those of you who feel the same.  This is one of those “Brain Dump” posts where I am pulling all of the emotions out of my head and letting them out through my typing, because it is therapeutic. I wish I could tell you that medication has fixed it all, that essential oils made me magically consistent, that alarms, apps, reminders, paying for services, or even prayer made it all better.  The truth is that these things have helped for a bit, but they take consistency, that thing that I so desperately wish came naturally to me.

I know I preach to embrace your imperfections, and I do TRULY believe we can do this, but I am here to tell you that I know it isn’t an easy task.  It is hard when some of those imperfections bring about shame and cause frustration for others.  It is hard when we feel like our brains are “broken” in some way.

However, my encouragement for you (and maybe I am talking more to myself here) is to look for those areas where you shine, and know that they have value too.  God has given you gifts that He so perfectly chose for you.  Somewhere along the way He chose someone else to receive a passion for label makers, baskets, and storage bins (ha, my mother), and He chose you (me) for gifts that they might not possess. I know God has given me many gifts and talents, but the devil has a way of making me feel that the ones that matter are the ones God didn’t bestow on me.

If you have shame in the consistency of your inconsistency,         know that you are not alone.

If you have shame in the consistency of your inconsistency, know that you are not alone.

Together let’s try our best to learn that it is important to keep opening up those factories even if we feel we have to keep shutting them down.

Together let’s try our best to know that our value as a wife and mother is not based on empty laundry baskets and organized cupboards.

Together let’s try our best to always work at being better than we are today, and to keep giving ourselves grace.

And let’s just all accept that we will do all of the above consistently inconsistently, but maybe with a little less shame.




4 thoughts on “The Shame of Consistent Inconsistency

  1. Betsy – i love this post. Thank you for writing it. I often feel shame at how i keep my home together. The only thing th at has worked for me long term is to be ruthless and throw out/donate “stuff.” My goal last year was to get rid of 75% of our things. I didn’t make it that far, but I can say that we made it to about 50%. The kids don’t notice the missing toys. I do not notice misding clothes, furniture, etc. We’ll do another big purge in the next week or two after the snow is done for spring clean up. Honestly, just order a large dumpster for the weekend and fill it up without emotion and then ket yourself breathe in some fresh, non-cluttered air. No system needed bc it all goes byebye. I hope you find something that works for you!

    1. I love to purge and throw things out! It feels so good. My issue is often just shoving things in places they don’t belong, but that I need to keep. Heck, i have even thrown on pennies because I don’t want to deal with them on the moment because they overwhelmed me in that moment of cleaning up. I think we for sure need more space to give each item a home, and I’m so bad at assigning that. Some things you just can’t throw out 😏

  2. You hit the nail on the head! My husband is so much like Paul and what I have heard you speak about him before. My husband hates clutter and likes things organized. I have a million ideas and plans that always seem to to take a backseat to other ideas and plans😆! I get bored with things easily. My mind goes in a million different directions and when I get a new idea, I have to run out and buy all the things I need to “get started” on this new idea! I am more of a creative type than the organized type. I buy things to get organized, but it rarely happens. I know I have many other talents, but my faults seem to overshadow those. It doesn’t really bother me, until I see how frustrated my husband gets. He tries to hold it in, but eventually it rises to a point where he has to say something. Then I feel like I’m making excuses, when I really just don’t have the desire to get organized like I should. He notices that I spend my energy and can get accomplished those things I’m interested in, so doesn’t understand why I can’t put that same energy and passion into keeping things orderly and organized. I have managed to get some things organized, but it was only after we made a huge move from Florida to Hawaii last year and sold everything we owned except about 16 boxes of belongings we brought with us. I admit it was freeing to get rid of all that stuff we had managed to accumulate after 29 years of marriage. I don’t miss it. I have had more sanity since then, but I still struggle with organizing and stuff like unfolded laundry, stuff stuck in drawers, closets, etc. I feel your pain!

    1. Oh my gosh! We are the same person! I totally buy all the things to get started when I have a new idea!!

      And you comment that your faults seems to overshadow your talents is exactly how I feel. It’s so hard when our faults affect others in a negative way.

      Thank you for sharing, lady 😘

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