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OCD Mamas Age Quicker

Posted by on June 10, 2013

Recently I made this eye opening discovery. messy book shelf 1

You see, I was about to put away Fox in Socks for the millionth time and almost had an OCD moment. The books, all smashed into a pile on the shelf, no order whatsoever. Anger was knocking, okay, banging on my door, and then it hit me. And I laughed. We OCD mothers will have more grey hair, higher blood pressure, and erratic thought patterns, and this is why:

  •  Books will be no longer remain on the shelf in their correct order.
  • CDs will never again be alphabetical and genre based order.
  •  Clothes will not be folded and will not remain their proper spots. Forget arranging them summer & winter; play & dress clothes
  •  Cupboards will no longer have order.
  • Forget color-coded schedules. You gotta learn to roll with the punches, shoot from the hip, and whatever cliché you would like to add here.
  • Forget the nice toy organizer where each basket is designated for different types of toys. Heaven forbid the cars go in the Legos!
  • Speaking of Legos, your bare feet will find one. And when they play with them they will have to dump the box all over the floor.
  • Beds will never be made. If you try, the covers will be off the second after you made them.
  • Laundry will be all thrown together in cold, gentle cycle. And we will discover our kid’s wet jeans, in a plastic Walmart bag in the diaper bag a month later, smelly and fit for a Petri dish.
  • Dust will cover everything, and there will always be something on the floor.

And because we are striving to be the perfect mother, we encourage creativity and imagination in our kids, but then:

  • We’ll discover the paint stains after it has dried. The markers will not have the color appropriate lid, if they have a lid at all.
  • Never mind the paint, marker, pencil on the walls
  • Never mind that none of the pencils will have erasers.

But then our kids start to exhibit some OCD tendencies:

No! I have to drink from THAT cup. The yellow one is for chocolate milk ONLY.
It has BUBBLES! I can’t drink it.
You know that one odd fork? Yeah, I have to eat with THAT fork, and only that fork.


messy book shelf 2

It’s enough to change our speech patterns, our eyes will start twitching, and we’ll start sprouting grey hair like crazy. And being a slightly OCD mama and a writer has its own aging factor. Can you imagine what this does to our own creativity? I only have so much time and energy, and I have to choose what I will spend it on. Kristen Lamb wrote this timely post last week, Traits of the Successful Author–Discernment. We need balance, priorities, and rest. We have to know when to walk away and know when to run. Ha! And I assure you I didn’t write this post in response. Coincidence? I don’t think so!

So during my “writing time”, I write. Despite the piles of papers, books, lint, dishes, laundry. I can’t let it curb my creativity. Nor take time away from the kids. I get done what I can, staying barely afloat, for the sake of my sanity and my husband’s. I. Must. Ignore. Look. Beyond. I will be productive. Our home will be messy, but our kids will be happier–I hope! But that’s living life balanced between reality and dreams with a little OCD to boot.


So are you a little OCD? What kinds of things have you had to overcome in order to pursue your dreams, remain human and functional? Do you think OCD mamas or papas will age quicker?


18 Responses to OCD Mamas Age Quicker

  1. Catherine Johnson

    Bravo! Tosses roses onto the stage.

  2. Pastor George McVey

    J.L. Mr. Monk and your Doctor will be so proud 🙂 What a great post. Myself I am not any kind of OCD but I have my own issues that must be overcome to write. I must find the time. Not only find it but convince those around me it is “my job”. As Jesus said we each have our own cross to bear. I’ll pray you bear yours and overcome if you’ll do the same for me. Great post made me laugh and think.

    • jlmbewe

      Hey Pastor George! Thank you for the kind words! I LOVE Monk. When I had my first baby (who now is 4 years old!!!), I discovered Monk came on in the wee hours of the morning. LONG story, but we won’t go there. ha!

      You are absolutely right! We all have issues, habits, obstacles, etc that can and will get in the way of our dreams. Thank you for the prayers, and I will do the same for you. So glad you got a laugh out of it!

  3. Ken

    I guess that applies to OCD dads, too 🙂

  4. Kassandra Lamb

    I’m a little OCD but I’ve gotten over it when it comes to housework, after living with two random males most of my life. This is not necessarily a good thing. I don’t really care anymore that the house is a wreck. I’d rather be writing.

    I’m afraid my perfectionism did rub off some on my son though. And the irony is that his wife is even more random than he is. Love them both dearly but, phew, their house!

    • jlmbewe

      Thanks for stopping by Kassandra! I completely understand! I especially feel it when we invite people over to our house, and then I realize how far I’ve…ignored things, but we can only do so much. Now, I can’t let it get to out of hand or my creativity will suffer. It’s almost like a panic attack. Ack! Speaking of which, I can kind of see my desk again, but must go before I am compelled to straighten it again. ha!

  5. Marianna Heusler

    Great post – I am the opposite OCD – my principal calls my classroom “organized chaos”. The problem is that it’s hard for me to think and become creative when I’m buried in papers. My summer goal is to put everything in folders, so at least I have the illusion of being organized.

    • jlmbewe

      Hi Marianna! Thanks for sharing! Organized chaos, I like that! I’m similar in that it bothers my creativeness when the mess goes beyond tolerance! I’m learning to ignore it, trying to anyways. Ha!

  6. Rhenna Morgan

    So, here’s a thought. (One I’ve had often.) Were we this way as kids? And, if not, how did we end up this way? Will we have revenge on our kids someday? Will they be the the ones cursing the messed up bookshelves in future years? Just in case, I’m cursing my kids just like my mom did: “I hope you grow up to have 3 girls JUST LIKE YOU.” 🙂

    • jlmbewe

      Hi Rhenna! Thanks for stopping by and sharing! I don’t think I was like this as a kid, but then while I’m typing this I do remember the alphabetical CDs, the books needing to be flush on the shelf. I will have to ask my mom.

      I do think I’ve gotten worse though. It will be interesting to see how our kids will turn out. 🙂 probably need to start putting money aside for their counseling sessions. Ha!

  7. Susan Jaymes

    How true this is. My kids are grown but my 24 yr old still lives with us. We butt heads all the time with our OCD issues. After reading this I see I only have myself to blame. We won’t tell him that though. LOL

    • jlmbewe

      Hi Susan! Thanks for stopping by and sharing! I don’t know how much of it is our doing. They have their own little personalities, some bigger than others. Ha! But I’m always wondering about nature vs nurture.

  8. gretchenwing

    Ha! Love the part about Legos and bare feet. I survive by limiting my OCD to VERY SPECIFIC things–and very important, of course–like making sure the toilet paper is rolling from the top, not the bottom.

    • jlmbewe

      That’s awesome! Or keeping the toilet lid closed, but that’s just precautionary measures, right? Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  9. Karen McFarland

    Okay, I’m now starting to twitch! Yes, OCD. I think everyone has a form of it. Can’t stand disorder. Either can the hubby. My best writing comes after I’ve straighten everything up. And then it’s clear sailing for hours. I think it gives my creativity time to germinate while I’m fast at work cleaning. Oh, and did I say I am part German. Yeah, that’s part of the problem. lol. 🙂

    • jlmbewe

      Hey Karen! That must be my problem too! Ha! I agree, I think we all have certain OCD tendencies, some stronger than others. 🙂

      I do love brainless activities like washing dishes or folding clothes where my mind can just run. Unfortunately, can’t do that with the kids. Gotta have one ear listening for them at all times. Thanks for sharing!

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J.L Mbewe - Author