I read a headline somewhere the other day that said “I was a better Mom before I had children.” I didn’t have time to actually read the article that accompanied it, but the headline has resonated. Not only has it been a particularly challenging week trying to read the emotional stability of my preschoolers, but I liken it to trying to figure out if the firework that you lit is going to explode or not … the potential is there … but it hasn’t blown. Should I go check or just let it be? Sit back and watch or risk getting involved? In my mind, my kids were healthy, well-adjusted, confident people with humor and spunk. In reality, transitions and adjustments are hard, and some kids are more sensitive to them than others.
In my mind, I used to be an incredible housewife too. There was always a gourmet meal prepared to perfection awaiting my family as the clock struck 5:00 pm, and not a household item out-of-place. I tried that one day. My husband walked in the door, looked around, and proceeded to ask me what was up with the Bree VandeKamp shtick? Shoot. I thought I could totally pull that off. But, let’s be honest … my husband knows me better than that. In fact, when I’m really at my wit’s end, he never fails to surprise me with a clean house. And by “surprise me with a clean house,” I mean he doesn’t hesitate to call our good family friend who also happens to clean houses. The thing is that he thinks it’s a nice surprise … so when we’re lying in bed at midnight, he’ll tell me “oh, hey, by the way, Penny will be here at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning.” So then, I roll over and set my alarm for 5 am so that I can get up early enough to pick up the house before the cleaning lady arrives, because it’s just flat embarrassing for humans to live this way. Then I can’t sleep thinking about how easy it would be to live in a truly Minimalist Household. With just enough material goods for each person. One plate. One fork. One glass. Cheers!
What is wrong with me, I think? How can I not manage to fold the laundry when the dryer finishes? Who can’t find the energy to load the dishwasher before going to bed at night? My Mom must have been Super-freaking-Woman. Because our house was SPOTLESS. And she had five kids. I’m not really exaggerating when I tell you that my clothes were clean and folded and back in my drawers before they had time to hit the floor in my bedroom. (Note: most days they did not even make it to a the laundry hamper … and by “most” I mean “all”.) Then I have to remember. My Mom did not work out of the home. And just because I happen to work in the home, I still have a full-time job, which usually equals full-and-a-half-time, plus children and a husband and a dog. That’s when my head starts to spin.
And my husband justifies the expense of a once-a-month house cleanse by offering to work a couple of more hours this month. I’m not sure yet if it’s because he cares so deeply about my sanity, or whether it’s an act of self-preservation. Survival of the fittest, if you will. Get. Out. Of. The. House. And let someone else clean it before I walk back in to that. Or, it could be the fact that he has an out-of-town golf tournament coming up … Whatever the case may be, I know that when I go downstairs this afternoon, I’ll have a clean kitchen, folded laundry, and clean floors.
And by minimizing those stresses in my life, I can honestly say that I’m a better Mom …