For anyone reading this that doesn’t know me… I am 33 years old, I have a 2.5 year old daughter and I am 35 weeks pregnant. I am a stay at home mom.
Yesterday, I went to the doctor for my checkup. Everything looked good, but I’ve been having some discomforts and when I talked to my doc about them, she suggested that I am doing too much and I should slow down and try to rest more. Any of you with a toddler, or children in general, already know that slow is not the pace you keep with a young child at home… Even the best behaved child is a ball of energy that needs interaction and play. Those of you who are home makers also know that our work is never done… There are always clothes to be washed, dishes to be done, meals to be cooked… The floors need cleaned, the bathrooms need attention, and the list goes on! So, already I can think of a few dozen reasons this won’t work for me.
But! I am going to try. I am uncomfortable enough, that I will do my best to listen to my doctors advice. I also don’t want the discomfort to turn into something that could cause my baby to come before it’s time. SO! Here we go…
Last night I slept like the dead. I still woke with a full bladder more than once, and still tossed a bit in the bed trying to find comfort, but the sleep itself was solid. It was nice to sleep that soundly. But, when Lil woke at 7:00 and I was still in a coma, I was instantly cross to be awake. She really wasn’t ready to be up yet either, so we played “who can be crankier” for a while. After a cup of coffee, I finally woke up enough to stop being childish and cross myself, and then it was a matter of helping her get over her own crankiness.
I made the beds, got us both dressed and ready to take on the day. I sat down. I’m suppose to be resting… taking it easier. Sigh. I loaded the dishwasher, I sat down. I start the washing machine and grumble to myself about taking it easy. I called our primary care about getting Lil a flu shot, thankfully they have an opening today… I have got to get out of this house! So, off we go! We get there, and she’s as brave as she’s ever been. She did cry a bit when they wanted her to get on the table… She cried a bit when they gave her the shot (though that had nothing to do with the shot, it was because they wanted her to lay down), but she pulled it together quickly. So, we went to the store to get her a prize for being so brave. Hey, ya gotta reward their achievements. She picked a little, purple, hot wheels jeep. We walked around the store for a bit because I just wasn’t ready to come home and I wanted her to be good and ready for her nap when we did get home.
We get home, she goes to the potty, then off to bed. I check my email, Facebook, blah, blah, blah… I sit on the couch and search for SOMETHING interesting to watch… Anything! Nothing! I start to think about something to eat, knowing I’m not hungry. Then my mind goes to the fridge… I really need to clean that out… And I need to put the clothes in the dryer. I move the clothes around and sit back down. It hurts to bend over to do about anything, so putting clothes down into the dryer reminds me quickly to take it easy. Ok, fine! Then I think about the dishes in the dish washer… No, I’m not going to do that. But, I can’t get it out of my head that the fridge is full of food that needs to be thrown out. I don’t have room for anything else in there. Ok, I can do this. I really haven’t done much today, and if I don’t get up and do something… I’m going to be eating everything I can get my hands on. I’m so frustrated.
I clean the fridge out, put the dishes in the sink… I’m not going to unload and reload the dishwasher (right now). I mill around in the kitchen for a minute. Trying to talk myself out of doing more work. I think about my frustration with it all. Why can’t I sit still? I’m frustrated with myself… For being in a situation where I need to take it easy… It makes me feel weak, or old, or both… I’m not sure really. I’m frustrated with myself because I have such a hard time sitting still and relaxing. I can’t think of anything that I want to do that is relaxing. I can’t find anything on TV that is worth the time. I am still doing two or three things at a time (The TV is on, I’m checking fb, my email and texting). Why can’t I sit still? I keep asking myself this question and I draw a blank. Then, I think about being in the kitchen a few minutes ago… Cleaning is how I keep myself from eating everything in the house. It’s how I cure boredom.
Now, mind you, I’m no skinny girl. To say I am curvy is how I make myself feel more positive about my weight. But, I’ve had issues with food in the past and I still struggle with feeding my feelings… So part of my problem has to be that I use house work as a replacement, a distraction. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the only reason… But it is part of it.
Another reason I can’t sit still is that I feel like being a stay at home mom/home maker/house wife is a job… There are certain things that are my responsibility and mine alone. It’s what I wanted and it is what I love. That being said, I take my job very seriously. I like my house clean, I like everything in order. I take pride in our home. The every day should be taken care of, well, every day: clothes, dishes, etc. I only just discovered my love for a freshly made bed… and have been doing that every morning for the last little bit. It just makes everything look neater. The floors need to be done more often than I am able to presently, but I have been trying to at least vacuum every couple of days. I dust after I do the floors. I wipe down my fan blades and window seals about every month, to two months. I clean the bathrooms once a week. I do not like to go to bed with the kitchen a mess. The table should be wiped after every meal… and the counters should be wiped when there is a need (after you make toast or coffee, after you cook, etc.), usually a few times a day. About every three to six months I reorganize cabinets and drawers, I go through dressers and closets… for my daughter I sort the clothes she’s outgrown and put those in a tote to be put away for the daughter I’m still incubating. Nearly every evening, all the toys go back to their respective place, with all their pieces/parts.
These are just the tasks that come to mind right away, and the schedule I keep. Now, mind you, my house is not immaculate, there’s still dust, dirt, yuck… that’s part of living in a home I suppose. It might be pristine and remain disinfected if I lived alone, but who really wants to live that way?! (Well, if I were single, without kids, that’s probably how I would live…)
I’m quite proud of keeping things in order. I’m proud of doing this with a toddler… and being able to say that she still gets lots of love, attention, affection, interaction, laughter and play (that has nothing to do with house work). She’s smart and loving, she’s giving and she is able to entertain herself as well. All these things are my job, as a stay at home mom… The house, the kids and all the things that relate to both. I’m also very proud to do all this while pregnant. I know I am not the only woman to do this, not the first or the last… But I am proud to be one of the women who do. (Do not take this to mean that I believe that being a stay at home mom is harder, there are many moms who work, raise their children, gestate and take care of their homes… I cannot imagine how difficult that must be, it is certainly not the pace I wanted to have to keep.)
Tancy works very hard for what we have, she abuses her body every day… So it is also very important to me to take care of these things so all her hard work is taken care of. That the money we spend on toys, or furniture, or clothes, or whatever, is an investment… it’s taken care of and made to last longer because of it.
I think part of my worth is determined (even if in my own mind) by how well I keep my house. How well I take care of my family: hot meals, clean clothes, etc. So, sitting still means… what? I don’t really know, I’m still searching for the answer to that. For me, maybe, it means I’m being lazy. There’s always something else to be done, knowing that while I am warming a couch cushion isn’t comforting to me.
Yet another part of the problem is that I do not know how to relax. As I said, I can’t think of one thing I want to do… Anything that sounds relaxing or enjoyable. My mind, even as I type, keeps going back to the sink full of dishes. Knowing that the dishes in the dishwasher are clean and I could have the ones in the sink clean and put away before Tancy gets home, wipe the counters and the stove top, clean the table off and viola! the kitchen is clean when she gets home. We are having left overs for dinner, so there’s no reason the kitchen shouldn’t be clean. I also feel bad that we are having left overs, and that she won’t come home to a hot meal.
So I’m sick. Yes, I have come to this realization. But I don’t care to change the fact that taking care of my home and my family is important to me. I do, however, need to incorporate taking better care of myself. Taking time for me. Being ok with carving out some time just for myself. I know that eventually, I will not be able to run on all cylinders, all the time. Two children will be a very different pace and sometimes the dishes are going to sit in the sink. Sometimes I am going to have a pile of laundry to be done instead of just two loads. I am working on wrapping my head around this. I need to incorporate more time outside, more laughs, more silliness… for my girls, for Tancy as well. I have to learn to loosen up. For me, I put my family ahead of myself, always. So, maybe I just need to change the way I see that… By putting them first, I have to loosen up to give them all that they need. I have to recharge, to take time for me… in order to be there for them when they need me, in any capacity.
This is definitely something to work on, it will likely be an ongoing process for me. For now, its a struggle. It may always be. But, I continue to strive to be a well rounded person, mother and partner… The best version of myself that I am capable of being. So, I’ll write it on the list and start to think about what I can change and how to go about that.
Right now, I have to go unload the dishwasher and reload it before it drives me insane! Hey, it’s a work in progress… it won’t change in a day!
Love to all.