My kids are home for the summer. I believe I've already mentioned this once or twice. (hahaha) They are wonderful children, truly. However, not one of the three inherited what we used to delicately call the neat-freak tendencies displayed by many of my maternal forebears.
My house is the living embodiment of the second law of thermodynamics* on good days, defined as days in which I am making a concerted effort to keep things at least reasonably tidy. On not-so-good days (defined as days on which I have other things going on--quel horreur), there are toys strewn here and dishes piled there and laundry is scattered on the floor around the laundry basket instead of in it and papers are multiplying like rabbits all over every flat surface and dust bunnies of dog hair are rolling across the floors like sagebrush across the wide Western spaces and it all suddenly hits me and I become a crazy woman because I can't handle the mess for one.single.additional.second. Today was one of those days.
As I was attempting to bring order to my domestic entropy, Himself looked at me and said (in an effort to help, honestly): "There are four of us in the house who make messes and only one who cleans. It's going to be messy. It's not a big deal, just try to ignore it."
Oh, were it just so easy. I tried to explain to him that once I hit that tipping point, until there is once again at least some degree of order around me, it's very stressful. I suspect that a practitioner of the Eastern arts would say that my qi is unbalanced at such moments--I certainly feel it up in my chest instead of down at belly level where it belongs. I can handle a certain amount of mess for a certain period of time, but once I've hit my limit my nearest and dearest need to either help me clean or get the hell out of my way while I do it, since there will be no peace until then!
I think it's a control thing rather than OCD, since at no point in the last 11 years has everything in this house actually been 100% in order. There are clearly limits to what I can control, but I'm still fighting the good fight...not aiming for perfection by any means, just trying to prevent a complete descent into chaos. Which, as anyone who knows anything about physics will tell you, is a completely pointless exercise! Sisyphus, anyone??
*I.e., its state of disorder will always increase over time