Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Housework and Mommy Guilt

Looking around my house today I feel a bit overwhelmed and guilty.  What I'm talking about is mommy guilt.  You know that feeling when you have everything in a delicate balance and then you trip and all your balls go flying everywhere?  Yep, that's what I'm dealing with.  It's tough to balance being a wife, mom and woman.  It's even tougher to balance all the fringe jobs and I'm not even talking about working moms.  They are Gods unto themselves  I can vouch because once upon a time I was one of "them". 

I look back and wonder how the hell I did it!  I must have been high on insomnia because I use to run around with my head chopped off rushing here, there and everywhere.  I was a salaried retail manager working insanely long hours, often times 6 days a week.  Somehow I got it all done.  Or at least that's my perception now.  Sometimes I feel like I may have even done it better. I think my brain likes to lay on the Mommy Guilt THICK! Then again, that was almost two years ago when only one of my kids was in elementary school.  It definitely gets crazier as they get older between school, homework, activities and friends.  I didn't have as much kid juggling to do back then.  Now the time and energy I put into that is the time and effort I once put into a full time paying job.  Sidenote: Why doesn't this mommy gig pay?  How crazy is that?!  This unemployed stay at home mommy gig is exhausting and oftentimes thankless.  At least at work I got a paycheck and the occasional pat on the back. I even occasionally got a break.   However, I wouldn't change this for the world.  I love the time I'm getting with my kids and I'll be lost when I do eventually find a job.  I think they'll be a little lost too.

However, as I look around my living room right now, I feel the mommy guilt building up.  Like I said it's a delicate balance that includes all the fringe jobs.  The ball I drop quite often is housework.  Honestly, I hate it.  Please, please tell me you do too.  It would really make me feel better.  I feel guilty when I see other people's houses that look totally well put together and organized.  Tell me it's all a facade and all their clutter is piled up in the closets and tucked under the bed.  I want that clean, organized, uncluttered look but it's hard to find and even harder to maintain.

Things just find their way here when my back is turned.  I clear it off and within a few minutes days other things appear.

If you're anything like me your house is the cleanest when compay is coming.  It stresses me the hell out I'm on a mission aginst the clock and the punishment will be instant judgement on my housekeeping skills  I'm lucky enough that I believe most of my friends are not like this, but still the anxiety is there.

I have to say though that I feel better after I run crazy through the house before guests arrive. I feel a sense of peace.  Seriously, once I've made the time to de-clutter and clean up I feel so much better.  Like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  My house isn't really "dirty" it's just cluttered. Ok, I will confess I hate to dust so that's rarely done unless company's coming or one of the kids offer to do it.  I don't mind sweeping, mopping or vacuuming but they're all hard with my neck/shoulder issue.  It's the back and forth motion that kills me, plus the vacuum is heavy to lug around.  I sweep every day (3 or 4 times) but I only mop or vacuum once every week or two depending on what condition the floors are in.  Goalieboy said he would start helping with the vacuuming but so far that hasn't actually happened.  I'm going to get on him about that tomorrow.  Wish me luck.

Our mail area...most of it is in the blue totes. This spot drives me nuts because I don't know how to get rid of it.

The clutter is killing me.  It's not horrible, horrible but it's an eye sore.  We have a very old house (1890's) and it's not big (once was but converted to a 2 family decades ago).  There are no closets outside the ones in the bedrooms.  It kills me!  I have a shoe rack by the door for mine and hubby's shoes.  The kids each have an over the door shoe holder.  I have a toy chest in the entryway where I put miscellaneous things in and my son's smelly hockey bag goes on top of it.  I can't put it in the basement or my cats will pee on it.  Ewww...I know it's disgusting.  I also have a small armourer I put things in, especially when I de-clutter.  It's like my junk drawer but it's a (mostly organized) cabinet.  The worse area for us is the divider wall (between our living room and "entryway").  That's where everything ends up.  It's a collect all space...mail, paperwork, school work and odds and ends the kids leave lying around.  It kills me. 

The toy chest with Goalieboy's smelly equipment on top.  Where can I hide this thing?!

Seriously, I would kill for a couple in the entryway and another in the upstairs hallway.  It's pitiful.  Is anyone else singing my toon right now?  Do you feel my pain?  I feel guilty when I pass up tidying  up everyday to spend time with the kids.  I feel guilty when I go de-clutter crazy and it gets in the way of doing things with the kids.  I'll feel a little less guilty in September because I'll try to keep up on it when they're in school.  But seriously, I hate choosing cleaning over the kids. 

It's  delicate balance but I'm getting better at ignoring the guilt and living for the moment.  The clutter, dishes, laundry and dirty floors will ALWAYS be there no matter what I do but my kids will only be young once.  It's becoming my mantra and when I chat it I always feel better. 

***Please tell me I"m not alone***


Nanaygin said...

I'm a working mom and only get to spend whole days with my kids during the weekends, so I really hate it when cleaning gets in the way during those days. Like you, I'm also learning to get over the guilt and just live for the moment. Good luck with the juggling act!

Karen said...

Nope, you're not alone! Balance is such a tricky issue, I think for anyone. But, when we have extra little lives to keep track of, in addition to our own lives and all the business of living, it gets far trickier. Good luck juggling!! :>

Barbara said...

I have finally convinced my husband to let me get some help with the cleaning around the house. It's either that or I sacrifice my entire weekend with my family to clean. I feel your pain!

MODERN MOM said...

I totally understand I am a working mom and today I woke up feeling the same way. I have a pile of laundry to do, I have not mopped my floor in about two weeks! oh wow did I really say that! LOL and did I mention I have two girls and it's me and my husband plus a dog in our one bedroom apartment!! So believe Mommy guilt is too soft for what I am feeling!!!