After 35 years I have finally found the cure for my OCD...

I don't really joke about being OCD, because I truly am. I have been fighting the annoying illness for most of my life, but thanks to cognitive therapy I have had it pretty much under control for about 15 years now. Originally, my OCD rituals extended WAY beyond things like being neat and tidy and obsessive cleaning.  I didn't step on cracks, or much to my mothers annoyance, in Publix I could only step on the color square I started on- white or green- through the WHOLE store.  I also ironed my underwear, and could not sleep in a bed unless it was made, hospital corners and all! Basically, I had more issues than Time magazine.

Slowly but surely from the age of 12, with the help of therapy, I worked hard to recognize that my world would not explode if I stepped on a crack, or worse, things moved an inch from their assigned place on my dresser. Some of my issues I decided were OK, and carried them with me into my adult life; like making my bed everyday, even if it was right before I got in it, and keeping an obnoxiously organized sock drawer. Basically, I kept my neat freak tendencies as long at they did not completely rule my day, and let go of the unnecessary rituals; like checking for my keys 20 times before locking the door, and making sure the hangers in my closet were perfectly spaced before going to sleep.

So then, you must be wondering how I have managed to almost completely overcome an illness that I have been battling for most of my life?  One word... 


Having a toddler has worn me down to the point where my house is anything but neat and organized AND I can still sleep at night. I am so cured of my OCD that I can go to sleep in a half-assed made bed with dishes in the sink.  I vacuum and mop once every two weeks (which is HUGE), and the furniture has not been polished in... hell I have no idea!  Some days I don't even brush my hair, and my sock drawer is a hot ass mess!

Nothing has a place anymore, mostly because I am not even sure what I have.  Oliver has emptied out every drawer he can reach into, and that coupled with the packing away dangerous/precious/small/important items while baby proofing, I don't even know where half of my stuff is!  I know I should be training him to leave my stuff alone, but choosing my battles is where I am at with my parenting style right now.

I go-go-go all day, so by the end of the day the only thing I want to do is put up my feet and listen to the quiet hum of my appliances, not scrub the floors and dust!  SCREW THAT! Still, the house needs to be cleaned, so normally either Saturday or Sunday FTD takes Ollie out so I can clean (read: actually get something done without Oliver undoing it two seconds later).  At first I would go balls out, scrubbing every surface, dusting, moping... I mean proper old school OCD insanity.  Then it never failed that right as I sat down on the couch, they would walk in and within 30 minutes wreck the joint.

Eventually, I learned that I should clean the basics and then sit down for an hour before they got home. That pretty much meant no more washing the base boards or dusting the tops of the picture frames every week.  I was slowly learning to live in a not so perfectly pristine environment.

Today, pristine is SO FAR from my house it's actually laughable!  Make no mistake that when I say laughable I mean in a crazy lady ha ha sort of way.  This weekend when FTD and Ollie left me to clean, I started walking around assessing the situation and was shocked to see what disarray I was able to live in!

Check these photos out...

My Dresser
How in the hell that got there I have no idea, nor do I know how long it has been there.
This is clear proof that I have lost touch with everything being in it's place...

 My bedside bookshelf
This is a vicious cycle from hell!
Every morning Ollie runs in and pulls the books out,
then puts them back... well most of them.
Every night before bed I clean it up.
I used to organize them according to height,
now I just shove what he leaves out back in.
More proof I am healed of my organization tendencies!
 The space above the microwave.
There was a time when NOTHING was allowed on top of the Microwave. 
Now note the top of a gift box, a ceramic bear figurine and 
the cat's treats under the popcorn bags.
At least I do know how they got there...
When I am in the kitchen making Ollie's breakfast or lunch he uses this time to play with all of things he knows he shouldn't.
The funny thing is that once he gets the forbidden item in his hot little hand,
 he brings it to me to show it off!
I tell him he should not have it, take it away, 
then put it as high up as possible, (the top of the microwave)
then clearly forget to put the items back where they belong.

See, I have been cured! 

I can live in an unorganized shit hole and survive!  The sun will come up, I will keep breathing and the final effect will simply be that the crap will just continue to pile up. I kind of hate that I cannot manage my toddler and house at the same time, but luckily, I don't have the time to beat myself up over it- I have a toddler to chase!  

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Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


Unknown said...

I am so with you on this- ask my sisters... I still have moments of OCD over the house- but for the most part? I gave up. Love the pics :)

Kristy J said...

My husband has psychopathic cleaning tendencies and he's convinced himself that I don't clean things on purpose just to annoy him...what he doesn't realize is that as much as I love a neat and tidy house it is f*cking impossible with a baby, mobile or non mobile. He's finally starting to get it. For awhile I thought we were going to have to start living separately.
I'm glad you're dealing with and living through your OCD.

P.S. Husband is the SAME way about the microwave, nothing is allowed to be up there. My main goal everyday is to put something up there just to watch him flip out a little bit. Gotta make your own fun :-D

April McCormick said...

I still try too... But what's the point? I have given up on hope of organization until Ollie is 5... that may be a little over zealous... but I gotta have some sort of goal to stay sane...

April McCormick said...

LOVE IT!! You know, by putting stuff on the microwave, that is a form of cognitive therapy, so in a way, you are actually helping him to overcome his OCD tendencies.... and enjoying yourself at the same time!

Alissa said...

Ahhh... this makes me feel better. I have learned to let go of my "cleaning" tendancies... I try not to see the dust, puffs of cat fur every where, and the weird sticky go on the floor beneath the high-chair. Instead I do what you do, pick up the big stuff and then try and do a better cleaning job once a week.

We've gone from having 1 junk drawer to 3 or 4 but that's ok! We have 1 countertop that we pile EVERYTHING on... it's a hot mess but keeps things out of James's reach!

April McCormick said...

You really have no choice when a toddler is involved right? I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned at first, then he started walking... and undoing my hard work in nanoseconds! Ain't nobody got time for that! Dirty floors it is!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story! I can really relate to this. It's very difficult to clean up the house because of my 2 boys. It's just impossible. I thought I am the only one experiencing this and I thought I'm just really bad at being a wife and a mom. You made me feel a lot better!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful story!! Thanks for sharing at Thank You Honey’s Whatever Wednesday Party!



AussieMummy said...

Dear lord, I won't even show you photos of my house then! Lol. My house permanently lives in disarray, I don't think I've seen my bedroom floor in 6 months. I'm a disgrace.