What I’m working on

Hello and welcome to my blog! How are you doing today? It’s amazing how wordy I get once my creativity isn’t trapped in themes, but themes are important for the organization of my blog. Nobody wants to read incoherent thoughts and all over the place ideas.

Today I thought I’d share what I’ve been working on, not just in terms of writing, but in all of my goals. There are also things I want to work on but my plate is too full. I will tell you what I want to work on but can’t, to get it out of the way.

If you have been reading my blogs, you’ll know that the 1st 2 chapters of my kindle Vella are out, and I want to write at least 3 more chapters, but I’m working on so many other things. It’s frustrating because I already wrote the outline for the entire book, and I even reread the outline a few days ago and was immediately inspired to write chapter titles for the rest of the book. It’s the details I choke on. The details are what make a book. Focusing on the 5 senses to make your reader feel like they are in the book, perhaps even make them feel like the main character. Then there is the description of scenes and items and the sunrise and such. I need to clear my head to write this novella. It doesn’t help that I lack the confidence to write it. It took me 9 years of writing poetry to begin publishing my poetry books. And even now, I still feel cringe about my older poems. I have only recently begun publishing self-help books, but only because they were highly appreciated on the blog. Talking about myself has always been easy, so the autobiographies (though I had to censor most of them and strip them down from most of their content to protect my family’s privacy) were easy to write. But I’ve never written fiction before. This is hard, but it is something I must do, but it’s on the bottom of my priorities though I feel most passionate about it.

Now let me tell you what I have been working on to distract myself from the crisis in Lebanon and to control my anxiety and depression:

Healthwise, the goal is to take more walks, exercise daily, drink 1 L of water a day, go to sleep at 11 pm, eat fruits and veggies daily, shower 4 times a week, brush my hair 4 times a week, and brush my teeth daily.

So far I’ve reached my goal in showering and brushing my hair, so as you can tell, I have a lot of work to do.

As parenting goes, I’m trying to spend one on one time with my son, even if it is just for 5 minutes. I’m also supposed to be studying with him the rest of his kg3 curriculum before he heads on to the 1st grade.

We made a boredom jar 2 weeks ago, and we are doing various activities, from board games to play-doh to blindfolding him and having him feel and taste food and guess what it is. We even did word searches and “All about me” collages. Sadly, he wants me to do these activities with him, and lately, I’ve been exhausted and restless. My son isn’t driving me crazy, but I’m emotionally tapped out. As for studying, his going to camp and karate classes are making him tired and in the afternoon, my mental abilities are shot, so we only have Friday to study since Saturday and Sunday are family days.

Spiritually, I’m working on my prayers and reading Quran.

Financially, the goal is simply to stop spending all my money on junk food.

The prices have solved that for me. Prices are 10 times the prices they were a year ago.

Socially, as I have noticed myself being withdrawn, even from my family, I planned on texting 2 friends a day, calling a friend per week, calling my grandma once a week, and visiting my grandma once a month.

I’m trying, but I’m not there yet. I still feel like avoiding everyone while craving social connection.

My reading goals are simply to read blogs whenever I can and read from a book or pdf book daily.

I’m trying not to think of how many books I have to read but focus on one book at a time. It’s working. Yesterday I finished one of the books I was reading.

Finally, my writing goals can be divided into 2: working on my books (editing existing books to unpublish and republish, typing new books, promoting published books by creating canva designs and posting on Instagram and Twitter), and working on my blogs (writing blogs and creating canva designs for the cover photos).

So far so good.

Of course, I’m not even writing housework as part of my goals. I keep track of the housework I do on my calendar but I can’t add it to the list of 22 goals because that would be too overwhelming.

My ultimate goal is to create a balance between my mind, body, and soul. I want to thrive as a mother and as a writer while keeping myself happy and healthy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t! (comment below if you have seen the movie legally blonde)

What are you currently working on?

New month, New challenge: Day 19

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the new month, new challenge series where I do a challenge each day and share it here so you can do it with me. Now why is it that when you have something to do, and you know you’ll feel better after you do it, you tend to do anything but that thing? Anyone? Just me? Anyway…

Today’s challenge is:

Clean and organize your home and workspace.

Do this challenge with me: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

I’m a tidy person in general. I don’t pile up dishes and laundry, I make the beds as soon as I wake up, and I even have a cleaning schedule. However, since today’s challenge was cleaning, I found my to do list very daunting. It suddenly felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders, and my heart clenched, and I didn’t feel like doing anything (that could also be because I’ve been feeling a bit exhausted and overwhelmed for the past few days), but nothing a nice walk couldn’t cure.

I did the dishes and laundry and then rewarded myself with a walk to the supermarket where I bought a lot of junk food, then walked back and did more housework after rewarding myself with a chocolate bar. Now I’m rewarding myself with chips.

Now excuse me while I tend to my 6 year old who has a minor blister on his foot but is acting like he’s been shot.

Update!

I’m finally all caught up with week 1 of October posts. I just saved posts from after that. Won’t be reading them today because I am going to watch a movie now.

Nancy Drew and the hidden staircase

So what did I learn from 3 days of reading blogs?

They are all good advice, things I mostly knew, in addition to personal updates of stranger’s lives, which was really interesting to read.

I’m glad I didn’t write during these 3 days because I was a bit messed up inside, and I don’t like to preach about positivity when I myself felt like I was failing at life.

So today I literally cleaned the dirt off my windows, to get a clearer view, and figuratively, I felt a deeper insight to what was going on inside of me.

I’m always reading so much and feeding my mind with podcasts and youtube videos and blogs and books (currently reading The 7 habits of highly effective people) that I don’t give myself the time to reflect and act on them.

I have this fear of missing out, but not on parties and going out. I feel like I need to fill myself with as much information as I can, because there is so much information out there, it’s exhausting to try to keep up.

I also realized something else in these 3 days. I don’t have many friends, not in the real sense. I think everyone I communicated with, I reached out to them, even my sister.

It’s sad, but don’t feel bad for me just yet. I kind of connected with my son and husband more. Kind of. It’s a process.

I’m basically trying to be a better human, and I’m trying not to complain. I slept well last night, but I still got a migraine from being on my phone too much.

So what to expect from me in my next blogs:

I’m going to lay off giving advice until I get myself together, but I enjoyed talking about Turkey so you will see more posts about my time in Turkey in 2016. I will try to post 1 blog post per day. Let’s see what happens.

My stats suffered greatly from my lack of blogging for 3 days. They were booming and then they shrunk. I expected my friends to keep up with my blogs during these 3 days, but they didn’t so… I know they’re busy but still…

Anyway, I need to remind myself that I’m blogging for me. Here’s something interesting, not blogging made me feel so confused like I couldn’t explain how I feel. Now I feel like my thoughts are stale and stagnant.

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but I am taking it one blog at a time.

How to get your kids to help you around the house

When I imagined having kids who helped me in the house, I imagined that scene from the movie The adventures of Pippi Longstocking.

Now that I’m an actual housewife, I know that things don’t get cleaned like that.

I’m lucky I only have 1 kid. I can’t imagine maintaining a clean house with more than one.

Some people have a maid, and there is no shame in that, but I prefer my privacy to remain intact. However, it’s really difficult to keep a house clean, especially with my son at home with me all day (you know, because COVID-19).

I basically keep a schedule of the basic things I need to clean, and I follow it 80% of the time. But that schedule doesn’t include deep cleaning.

I don’t believe a woman is meant to spend all her time cooking and cleaning. I have hobbies, and I need to spend time with my son. I didn’t give birth to him to leave him to his own devices 24/7.

That being said, I remember my son used to be so eager to help me when he was 3 years old, and I wouldn’t let him because he would make a mess, or if I let him help me a bit, he would get bored later or I would only let him help me once.

Then he started school and I would do all my housework when he wasn’t home, so he lost the interest to help me.

I looked up chores by ages one day and I decided I would get my son to do these things. He knows how to do most of them, he just is used to me doing them for him because I’m faster than he is or because I’m always in a hurry or because I’m impatient or because I can’t seem to get myself to follow the method “would you rather brush your teeth and then go to the bathroom or go to the bathroom then brush your teeth?”

I know the focus on helping around is usually on girls, especially in Eastern countries. Many people, including my household growing up, gave no household responsibilities to the boys. I had 3 brothers, and us sisters had to clean their rooms. Now I don’t ask my son to clean his room, but I will be having him make his bed, once he starts sleeping in it again (we still cosleep, unfortunately, and I still wake up by being kicked in the face every morning). I also don’t let him near bathrooms or dishes or a mop because I can’t handle messes. So my focus is on tidying (I’ll give examples).

A friend of mine advised me to think of housework as a game, rather than a responsibility (not for me of course. I don’t think housework is fun but I do feel good after everything is clean). So instead of looking up advice from Google or Pinterest like I was going to then decided against, I will think off the top of my head 3 ways to make cleaning fun for kids below age 7.

How to make tidying fun for kids so they will help you out more

1. Suggest rather than tell them to do things. For example, “how about you put your plate in the sink” , instead of “put your plate in the sink”

2. Praise them after they do what you suggested. For example, “good job” or if they’re learning to fold their clothes “I can see you’re getting really good at folding your clothes. Soon you’ll be folding better than me”

3. Like my friend suggested, try to turn it into a game. For example, “let’s see how long it takes you to make your bed” and then set a timer.

In cunclusion, different tips and tricks work for different children. Some kids don’t like to be timed. Some kids are better at one thing more than another. The idea behind getting your kids to help you is to teach them responsibility and cooperation and maybe even initiative (if you can get them to do things without being asked). Some kids get paid to help clean. I don’t like that idea. I’m lucky that my son likes things clean and tidy, and sometimes when he is bothering me while I work, I’d say “would you like to help me?” and he gets really excited and I’d ask him to do something I know he can do on his own, like remove the sheets off the beds.

Today, he noticed on his own that the drawer he puts all his drawings and the things he colors and paints was a mess, so he told me it needs organizing (implying I should do it) and so I told him “Well it’s your drawer, so I think you should be organizing it. I have other work to do” and so he took all the things out and quietly categorized all the things he colored (he loves categorizing, just like me) and left his drawings for me to do. I was going to refuse but I could tell that organizing the drawer was a big job and he technically did half very well, so I finished the job.

I’m no Brie Van de Kamp (Desperate Housewives reference) nor am I a Lenette. I’m more like a Susan. My point is, I’m not a perfect housewife, but it helps to get your kids to help you, especially when you start while they are young and eager to help. Plus, it’s good for them. It teaches them responsibility and independence.

Brie Van de Kamp

Morning Motivation: Clean house, clear mind

I woke up early today.
I cleaned my entire house. I’m talking bathrooms, floors, and balconies. To some that may sound like a simple job, but I usually segment these chores into 3 because I get tired easily. My knees hurt because by noon I lose all my energy reserves,…etc.

I had been telling myself lately that it wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t keeping up with my cleaning schedule because my son isn’t going to school.
I had been telling myself that it wasn’t my fault that my son was waking me up at 8:30 am and I was waking up tired and struggling to get some me-time. As a result, I would sit on my phone at every chance I got, to read or watch youtube videos or scroll on Instagram, or save pictures on Pinterest, just because I was rebelling against the unfair prospect that it wasn’t my fault my son couldn’t go to school.

I have been depressed for a week. The protests have been going on for 10 days in Lebanon. I was going along my day like a falcon with a broken wing. I can’t fly. All I feel is pain.

Then yesterday, the realization hit me. As I looked around at the mess that was contributing to my sadness (look it up: a clean home is a happy home) I realized that I had 2 opportunities to clean my house. Twice my husband took my son to my in-laws for hours and both times I spent my time watching Pretty Little Liars because of “self-care”. I forgot that cleaning my house is also self-care, it just requires a little more effort.

Don’t misunderstand me here; I’m always on schedule with dishes, laundry, and tidying up. I even mopped my house 3 times during these 10 days (not counting today because today is day 11).
But every time I would think of cleaning the bathrooms, I would tell myself:

  • Let me wait until my son gets back to school. It could be any day now.
  • I’m too tired.
  • My muscles ache.
  • My knees hurt.
  • I can’t wake up earlier than my son. I would be exhausted by noon.

But these, this morning I realized, were just excuses. When I got to the point where I realized that:

  • My son may not go back to school soon.
  • I will always have aches and pains.
  • If I want to clean, I will need to wake up before my son does.

When I went to bed, at midnight because that is almost when my son finally went to sleep (I heard a podcast on bedtime struggles this morning and I realized I have been doing everything wrong), I slept with the thought in mind that if I wanted a clean house, I would have to get up and clean it.

Not wait for my son to go back to school.

Not wait till it’s convenient for me.

Not wait till I feel like it, because just like exercising, I’m never going to “feel like it”, but I will feel much better after I get it done.

So here I am, with a clean house at 8 am, feeling like a champion.
I’m going to make coffee now, watch Pretty Little Liars before my son wakes up (my reward), and have something to eat because coffee is not healthy on an empty stomach.

Just a tip for doing something when you don’t feel like doing it, whether it is exercising or housework, listen to something while you do it. I listen to podcasts while I do housework, but it could also be music or audiobooks or Quran (not while cleaning the bathrooms though).

Another tip to keep up to date with cleaning is to have a weekly cleaning schedule. I have one of those but I find I’m only able to apply it when my son is going to school (not under the current circumstances) so I marked my calendar and wrote what I cleaned on this date so that I can know when cleaned what.

Best of luck, and may you have a clean and happy home!

P. S. My little munchkin just woke up at 8:30 am as I just finished editing this blog. I had my pancakes, sipped a little bit of my coffee, but I haven’t watched any Pretty little liars yet. Oh well…