A Day to Face The Horrid Stuff

by Katy on January 2, 2015 · 28 comments

As a parent to teenage boys, I feel like I’m full of amazing, affirming and wonderful advice. “Be mindful in the world you live in, be aware of your screen time and deal with stuff in a timely manner.” (Of course, only a small percentage of it sinks in at any time, but that’s just the nature of the beast.)

Today I heard myself telling my 16-year-old son that “you need to deal with this _____ now, even if it seems awful to think about. Burying your head in the sand just makes things worse.”

And then I realized what I a hypocrite I was being. I have soooo many things on my to-do list that I spend a lot of time and energy avoiding. Not daily stuff like cooking, dishes, laundry tidying up, but big picture stuff like the horror that is my basement and some embarrassingly cringe worthy stuff that sits in my e-mail inbox.

Remember when I ran the giveaway for Ashley English’s Handmade Gatherings book? You know, in October?! I notified the winners and then never sent their contact information to the publisher! Why? Because I was having awful e-mail issues at the time, and I somehow e-mailed them through my iCloud account, which I didn’t even realize was set up. Every now and then I would pore through my Comcast inbox desperately trying to find their information, but I would always give up and slink off to bury my head in the sand. I finally got an e-mail from one of the winners before Christmas gently letting me know that she’d never received her book, which is when I realized the whole iCloud mixup. I’ve spent the last few weeks meaning to go through that e-mail account to find the other winner, but was frankly too mortified to face it.

Hearing myself pontificate on the pitfalls of procrastination this morning shook me from my stupor. I sat down and located the name and contact information for both winners, sent an e-mail to Ashley English to get the contact information for her publisher, and now have a fully written apologetic e-mail sitting as a draft ready to go. And if the publisher says “tough luck, kiddo!” I am fully willing to pay the stupid tax and pay for these damned books myself.

And now I’m spending my day dealing with the other horrid stuff that’s been sitting ignored and off to the side.

The important lesson here is that even though I screwed up, I’m willing to admit my mistake, do my best to make it right and move forward. Hmm . . . maybe I am full of amazing and wonderful advice.

Now, how do I get this through to my teenagers?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily January 2, 2015 at 3:38 pm

I’d rather get the tough stuff over with rather than let it hang over my head and cause me stress. But I am the type of person who eats the crusts first to get that out of the way so I can enjoy the delicious middle of the sandwich untainted by crusts. My husband puts off unpleasant things, like grading, as long as possible, which causes some stress to him and much more stress to his college students…..


Katy January 2, 2015 at 3:50 pm

I think I’m a combination of the two of you. However, since writing this post I’ve raked leaves and filled a yard debris can, (which my neighbor is letting me put in front of his house since I’d already filled mine) put together a Craigslist listing for a bumper that someone lost turning around in our driveway, called the doctor to get a prescription changed and put through multiple loads of laundry. So maybe today I’m more like you.


Anne January 2, 2015 at 10:23 pm

I can’t decide whether to roll around laughing or be incredibly impressed. Do you mean some total stranger turned around in your driveway, lost a portion of their car, then drove off without picking it up???

And do you mean you were brilliant enough to pick it up and sell it?

Damn, I’m impressed.


Katy January 2, 2015 at 11:08 pm

I listed it for free.


Su Mama January 2, 2015 at 3:53 pm

A long-gone friend used to tell her six kids, “Get the phewy-awful things out of the way first!” Someone else I know says, “When were you ever sorry you took that shower/vacuumed/wrote that note?” Her variation onf this is, “When are you ever going to be in the mood to do this?”(“Golly, I know what I want to do this afternoon — clean BOTH bathrooms!”) ‘Tis true — but SO hard to make yourself do a lot of stuff. Of course, sometimes the procrastination can be productive, since often I’ll do something else that needed doing, anyway!


Kirsten January 2, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Ha! Great minds think alike! I said the exact same sentence to my son this morning too.


nalani January 2, 2015 at 4:13 pm

You have awareness and that is the first step toward movement!


K D January 2, 2015 at 4:25 pm

Nothing like having your kids watching you to put that fire to your behind. I get most things done, but like you always have a few hanging over my head. I chalk it up to human nature.

Good for you for getting so much done today. I actually think my nineteen year old is better at attacking her lists than I am.


marie January 2, 2015 at 4:33 pm

Must be the week for catching up.
I made the long dreaded Dr’s appt
Finally found and ordered the broken part on an appliance
Finally got thru to Whirpool about the dishwasher that doesn’t work
Did some much dreaded paperwork on the computer
Went thru mu husband ‘s supposedly file which really means he throws everything on top and let’s me deal with it.
I used to be so organized! I don’t know what happened


Kristen January 2, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Go, Katy!!! Good job. 🙂


Linda in Mass January 2, 2015 at 5:03 pm

There is a great book “Eat That Frog” that deals with procrastination. The basic premise is…if you need to eat a frog, do it first because once you do that, the rest of the day is bound to be better and not nearly as difficult. Do your most difficult task first and the rest is easy. I am always saying to myself “Just eat the frog!!!” It gets me through the stuff I don’t want to do.

Also, I have also found that when I do make a mistake, I own up to it. People respect people who say “I messed up” and then fix it.


Katy January 2, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Just the thought of eating a frog makes me want to vomit. That’s probably not what the author was going for. 😉


Vickie January 2, 2015 at 6:07 pm

I’m guilty too!
Good for you getting it done. It always feels better. I have no clue why I punish myself with procrastination. Some days I’m on fire, other days I can be such a slug and I play the avoidance game.
I think kids are impressed when grown-ups admit their short comings. Even though I hate the feeling I get when I realize I’m a hypocrite, I try to apologize to my daughter. I want her to know that no one is perfect and honesty is the best policy, even when it’s painful to admit something.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary January 2, 2015 at 6:54 pm

I’ve been putting off dealing with the basement for years. But about a month ago I renewed my commitment to getting more exercise, which means going into the basement nearly every day to use the elliptical machine (purchased used, of course!). After looking at that mess every day for a month, I couldn’t take it anymore. The hubs and I have been working on it for a few hours each day this long weekend, and are making great progress. I think by tomorrow we’ll be done! And it really is making me happy to get it done. I am inspired to tackle my closet next.


Katy January 2, 2015 at 7:20 pm

Maybe you should keep your elliptical machine in my basement!


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary January 3, 2015 at 7:22 pm

Ha! It would be a looooooong way to go in the morning for a workout. 🙂


Katy January 2, 2015 at 7:22 pm

Okay, it’s 7:21 P.M. and I’m losing steam. Maybe it’s time for a cup of tea. I think I can force myself to fold another load of laundry while the water boils.


Emily January 2, 2015 at 8:03 pm

If you’ve eaten enough crusts for today, relax with your tea and enjoy something. Doing unpleasant things all day long is the fast track to burn out! Life is all about balance.


Aril January 3, 2015 at 12:08 am

You nag a lot, they ignore you because “I do know you now Mum”, fall flat on their faces and then you help them up and brush them down for the process to start again……erm one Mum to a 16 year old son here across the pond! Yes and I often fall flat on my face too and he knows it so completely hypocritically but with my tongue firmly in the side of my cheek he knows it’s a case of “do as I say not as I do!” I think we will remain ever locked in this process probably even when he’s middle aged and I’m an old bat ha ha!


Diane January 3, 2015 at 4:35 am

Give yourself a small break and give teens’ personal laundry over to them. It’s one of the first tasks I gave mine when they were very young teens.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary January 3, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Oh yes, my kids are responsible for their own laundry, and have been for years now. As soon as they were tall enough to reach into the laundry machine, I taught them how to do their own laundry.


rosarugosa January 3, 2015 at 4:39 am

I think the big daunting things like the basement (yes, that’s on my list too) need to be broken down into more manageable bits. There’s a saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” So instead of clean basement, it should be something like: clean off work bench, return empties, declutter and clean one set of storage shelves, etc.


Nancy January 3, 2015 at 10:46 am

Took a deep breath and went down to the basement today. It’s a rainy, cold, miserable day out, so it was the perfect day for dealing with the holiday aftermath in the basement. I spent two hours moving stuff around to organize things better while simultaneously consolidating and purging.
I removed one huge trash bag of non recyclable housewares that I’ve been hanging onto “just in case” it all really should have been thrown out years ago.
The stuff I want to keep safe from critters and moisture is now in nice clear plastic tubs with tight lids so I can see what’s what.
And finally there are a few nice items to donate.
I feel much better now.


Lisa January 3, 2015 at 11:47 am

Thanks for your post. It provided encouragement for me to start clearing my own horrid messes.


Michaela January 3, 2015 at 11:47 am

This whole post makes reminds me of the last two weeks. Having time off from work, I have forced myself to deal with some sort of unpleasantries everyday. In fact, while friends were making new years resolutions . . . my only resolution was to finally deal with all this old business . . . that was essentially holding me up from taking on any new business. Now I’m dealing with stacks of paper, unopened mail, returning items, mailing back documents to my clients, making my printer quit saying low toner, cleaning makeup brushes, washing laundry lingering in my basement, cleaning off tables . . . just the nasty, unpleasant stuff that I would rather do *nothing* than deal with. I think I’m going to continue this trend for the rest of January, in hopes I clear the way for *whatever* 2015 holds . . .


Barbara H. January 5, 2015 at 6:15 am

Hey, Katy– Don’t worry about it! I can so-o-o identify with your post.


Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom January 5, 2015 at 10:10 am

We were able to get to some of our horrors over the holidays, but there’s still a lot of them lurking around. I seem to get a burst of energy every once in a while, then I’m able to make progress on them, but usually my head is in the sand. There’s this storage room in our basement…


Katy January 5, 2015 at 10:43 am

Sounds creepy. . .


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