It's an interesting truth about human beings-- women are different from men. It seems such an obvious statement, when you consider that their dangly bits are down low, and our dangly bits are up high... But of course, we all know inherently that the differences go beyond that.
What we don't often do, though, is make those differences not only okay, but something to work with. We women are expected to be like men. To think their idea of logically, to try not to be emotional, and to ignore how our hormones effect us.
Today, I'd like to invite you to ignore that advice. Be like a woman-- you are one!
I grew up in a culture (USA) where we're taught that as women, we are inferior because our hormones make us unpredictable, irrational, and prone to quick changes of opinion and mood. This may well be true, if certain laws of nature aren't heeded and obeyed.
Of course, in our culture of attempted androgeny, these laws of nature are rarely obeyed. Women are supposed to tough it out-- that's what men would do. Women are supposed to control their moods and force themselves to things they don't feel up to doing-- that's what men would do.
In short, we are expected to go against the grain of who we really are. We're supposed to ignore how we really feel, and "act right" (like a man).
So what does all this have to do with cleaning and decluttering, you may ask? Well. Everything.
Here's a very, very simple way of explaining. Using myself as an example, there are times of the month when I actually feel motivated to clean. This also happens during the end of pregnancy for a lot of women, too. Now, if I were going by society's standards, I would clean the same during the times when I'm feeling sick, tired, and miserable the same as I would during this "nesting" time.
I would force myself to do it, ignoring all physical symptoms, all emotional feelings, and everything else. Or, conversely, I would just give up because the whole thing was so depressing. This last, in my experience, is the most common response.
It's just too hard to fight our nature. And for me, the problem is that I happen to get my "nesting" instincts at the same time that I get physically drained and exhausted. Thus, I can make one of several choices
- I can give up, sit around and feel bad and depressed
- I can feel guilty and ashamed because I cannot force my body to feel better, thus cannot take advantage of the drive to clean
- I can choose to supplement my body in such a manner that it feels better, and thus take advantage of what energy I can get from supplementation
- I can choose option 3, as well as getting regular exercise and eating well, too
This is why it's important, even for something as basic as cleaning, to know your cycle intimately. Not only when to expect your period, but also when to expect things like the nesting stage. Charting your moods, your weight changes, your libido, and various other important aspects of your day-to-day experience can make all the difference in keeping your home-- and life-- clutter free.
So when the day comes that you are desiring to clean a bit more than usual, take advantage of those days by cleaning. Then when you're not feeling up to it, reach only for maintenance, and let that be enough! By accepting that some days, all you feel up to is maintenance, you will find yourself free of the guilt that comes from society's expectation that you always be in the mood to be Susie Homemaker.
Maybe it'll take a lot longer to get your house spic and span if you allow yourself days of maintenance only. But then again, your house will get clean a whole lot faster if you aren't crippled by guilt 100% of the time. If you're feeling in the mood to get something done, but your body isn't really up to as much as you really want to do... let that be okay.
Next month's nesting is just around the corner. Do what you can, or what you feel up to, and let that be enough for now. Don't cripple yourself with guilt because your hormones spend half the month making you feel like maintenance is all you can manage.
There are benefits to those parts of the month, too. It's time to learn them, and appreciate them. But if you're not charting your cycles, and you're not paying attention to what your body's doing at each stage of your monthly cycle besides just your period, you are missing the joys of living a Rhythmic Life.
~ Livin' the Rhythm with Kimberly Weston