Very slowly and erratically, my energy levels are increasing. Gradually, I’m more able to just potter around the house doing bits and pieces, play with my children, go out for walks now and again, think about things. I had not realised how mentally exhausted I was, but suddenly my interest in news, business and current affairs has come back.
I’m sure that part of my motivation for housework comes from my sticker chart system. The boys have charts on the wall, and for doing various chores or being helpful, they get gold stars. When they have five stars, they get a treat from the treat box – small toys, chocolates, or even for my eldest, half an hour playing with my new iPhone.
It works quite well for the boys, so I thought I’d see if it works for me. I did some very complicated calculations and worked out that for each star that I earn (or rather sticker, since I’m using multicoloured holographic love heart stickers rather than gold stars), I earn myself £4 to spend on treats. I earn a sticker for every 15 minutes of housework that I do. I won’t spend the money if we don’t have it, but if we do have something spare for a treat for me, I will wait until I’ve got the right number of stickers before I spend it.
So far I’ve bought myself a new hat, an iPhone, and a facial. The stickers mount up surprisingly quickly, and I find I don’t grudge any of the time I spend doing the housework. I have a kitchen timer (in the shape of a ladybird obviously) and I set it for 15 minutes and take it with me wherever I go. I even tidied youngest son’s bedroom the other day – took me half an hour.
The house is looking tidier, I’m moving about more, and every time I spend my stickers I have a greater appreciation of what I’m spending them on. And if I have a bad day and can’t get off the sofa, which still happens on occasion, then I don’t worry too much about it.
I’m gradually getting to grips with the fact that I’m going to have bad days and good days, and that it doesn’t actually matter. I’ve been taking the tablets for over three months now, and I’m still, slowly, improving. Bit of a bumpy ride sometimes but it’s not settled down yet. So I have some high hopes for the future state of the house and of my energy levels.
Meanwhile though, youngest son has mutated a virus for us all and I’m feeling really unwell. And it’s the last day of the Christmas holidays – boys are back to school tomorrow and I’m back to work. So although I’ve earned a few stickers today, and I can see how much better I am despite the lurgi and general post-holiday exhaustion that everyone has, I shall be spending the rest of the day eating chocolate, drinking tea and sitting on the sofa – conserving my energy for the week ahead…