I posted a link to this article yesterday. It made me laugh out loud. And then I thought, maybe that was mean. I was a newbie once and I did and said some pretty ridiculous things. My first son was born 6 weeks before Christmas and I remember finding it IMPOSSIBLE to get out Christmas cards that year. With one kid. A kid that slept more than he was awake. I often wonder now, what DID I do all day? And when he finally DID wake up and got cranky around 6 weeks old, I called one of my good friends who was a few years into parenting and she told me that ALL babies do that. I accused her of holding out this information on me and she told me that she lets all new mothers continue to believe that they gave birth to the perfect child for those first few weeks. And I did believe I gave birth to the most serene creature ever. When he started getting cranky, we thought he was teething. At six weeks old! It was a newbie mistake that I never made again. I suspiciously eyed my next two newborns, wondering when they were going to start crying most of the day.
So I regretted making fun of this newbie, because I was her once and I surely would not have appreciated the humor at the time. But then today, I found an uncapped Sharpie while I was cleaning the kitchen. An hour later, I found the cap in the three-year-old’s room. (I have yet to find the damage that has surely been done.) I chuckled to myself, because I realized I must not have been “watching him closely enough.” But how could I? I was cleaning up the house that had been neglected for the past 5 or so weeks. I always keep up on the dishes, the laundry, the bathroom, but I have a tendency to neglect the “stuff” that piles up. And with three kids birthdays and Christmas, there was a lot of “stuff.”
Keeping the house clean has been something I have struggled with since having the third child. I am not lazy, but I AM fighting a losing battle. I am the only person in my house that 1. Has my definition of what “clean” is and 2. Cares. Every time I get things the way I like it, I vow that we will keep it that way, but slowly but surely, we start to slide, and before I know it, I am finding uncapped Sharpies in a mess of “stuff” on the dining room table.
It is the area of my life in which I give myself a break. It hit me a year or two ago when I was washing pots and pans at 9 o’clock at night after having worked 11 hours that day. Mark was sitting on the couch after having worked 12 hours. He asked me if I needed help and I told him to just relax. And then I thought, I would never dream of asking him to help with housework after the day he has had so why do I think I need to be doing this when I have had an equally trying day. So, I relax my standards a bit on the days that staying on my feet would cause me to feel resentful towards my family.
I think it is dangerous to have the attitude that if other mother’s houses are not clean or if they did not shower that they are lazy. I am far from lazy, but it has become more and more clear to me that my priorities lie elsewhere and that is okay for ME. If keeping a clean house is a priority to you, then by all means, do so. I never miss a run, not even on crazy, hectic days, because it is THAT important to ME. Just please do not judge me for not being perfect, because in the end, you are judging yourself and holding yourself to what I believe is an impossible standard and that is seriously going to affect your mental well-being, newbie. None of us should feel like if we cannot do EVERYTHING that we are lazy.
I was off work this week and I STILL did not clean up this pit. On the one day that I was kid-free, I went for a massage and then took a nap. And you know that makes me? Not lazy. It makes me happy.