I have a confession to make: I am not a tidy mom.
There, I’ve said it.
I am not a tidy mom.
This thought has been on my mind quite a bit the last little while. I have been struggling with being a good homemaker since the day I left my home and went to college. I don’t enjoy cooking. I don’t enjoy cleaning. And I am not a tidy person. All deadly sins when you are a roommate or spouse.
When Jim and I were first married we split the chores pretty equally (well, I’ll be honest, it was more 30/70 with Jim doing the majority of the chores because he got home earlier than I did from work), but it was naturally assumed that once we had kids and I stopped working I would need to pick up the slack a little more. However, we found that once the kids came along things deteriorated even more and I started to do even less household chores than before (yikes).
And, surprise, surprise – the things I didn’t enjoy doing, or was not good at before I was a mom, were still things I disliked doing and was bad at after. While I still do these chores for hygienic reasons, these are still things I have a challenge with today:
- Dishes: I hate doing dishes and Jim does them most nights when he gets home (after the kids and I have piled them nice and high for him)
- Cooking: I am not a fan of cooking. I am a “warm it up in the oven, toss it in a pan” kinda gal, and Jim enjoys having nice, yummy, home-cooked meals that are actually healthy and don’t taste like cardboard or rubber. So… Jim is the cook in our house and cooks probably 90% of our meals. I cannot recall the last time I cooked a meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) on a weekend. Jim seriously is the cook in this family and I milk it for all its worth.
- Bedrooms: I never kept my room clean before I was married (which I am sure my roommates loved), and I still don’t keep my room clean. Mounds of laundry always seem to find its way to the floor and it always looks like a war zone. However, Jim (bless his heart) is even worse at keeping our room clean than I am, so I don’t feel quite as guilty with this one.
- Organization: I have never been good at organizing drawers, closets, or anything really.
- Laundry: I have never been able to keep on top of laundry. Hence, the mounds of laundry all over the floor. Even when I get the laundry clean, it inevitably ends up being forgotten to be put away and then I can’t tell if its clean laundry or dirty laundry and the cycle repeats.
- Clutter: I’m pretty good at keeping some surfaces free of clutter, but it never fails that there is always random things placed on our entertainment center, desk, above our fridge, on our bookshelf, dresser or kitchen counter.
- Kids Room: This is one I obviously have only dealt with after becoming a mom, but I thought I’d include it anyways. J My kids rooms always look messy and it never bothers me – probably because its still cleaner than my room.
There are some things I am good at, however:
- Kids: Getting my kids dressed (I tend to overlook myself often and find myself in my pjs even in the afternoon)
- Beds & Prayers: Making my bed in the morning, saying my prayers – and getting the kids to do the same
- Meditation: Remembering to read my scriptures in the morning
- Meals During the Day: Making breakfast & lunch for me and the kids (usually the same thing: fruit smoothie/cereal and sandwiches, raw veggies)
- Running Laundry: Putting my 1st load of laundry away (after that it gets pretty bad)
- Kid Chores: Reminding Jack to bring his dishes over to the sink (while I leave mine on the table)
- Getting meat out to defrost on a plate for Jim to cook when he gets home (ha ha)
Looking at this quick list I can definitely see where my priorities are: Taking care of my kids needs and my spiritual needs. I do, however, tend to put my homemaking duties and time for myself on the back-burner. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time (or energy) in the day to do everything.
Motherhood, for me, is exhausting. It is a full-time job, with little breaks, and it is probably the most energy-draining job I have ever had. I love it, but I am physically tired almost all the time. I have a hard time finding energy and motivation to keep cleaning things that my kids will only mess up minutes later. I even tested this theory out one day for fun: I cleaned the living room and dining room while the kids were playing in their rooms, and within minutes of leaving the room I had blankets, toys, and cardboard boxes strewn across the floor. I picked the items up, put them in a box and within another few minutes more items made their way from the kitchen and bedrooms to the front. This happened three more times before I finally gave up putting the items away. Our house is constantly being messed up, and there is only so many times before I just get too tired and give in to the chaos.
The problem is – I love having a clean home.
I love the way it smells. I love the way it looks. I love the way it feels. I love the way it makes ME feel. There is just something about having a clean home that invites a peaceful, blissful feeling. I would love to go to bed at night with a clean home, in a clean room, with nice, clean sheets. Doesn’t that just sound blissful?
I also love getting time to myself. I love when it works out that I can get a shower in, get dressed, do my hair, and put on makeup. If my 18-year-old self saw the way I go out in public today I am sure she would be mortified. I love the idea of always looking my best, since you only have one chance to make a first impression, but I just can’t ever seem to find the time. When I was nursing my baby frequently I found a lot of time to do the things I enjoy to do through out the day – such as reading. Now, however, I’m not sitting for extended periods of time with nowhere to go. There always seems to be something I need to be doing, and reading, crafts, or just relaxing is just not a priority.
What it all boils down to is this: Something needs to change or I am going to be stuck in a rut for the rest of my life.
Well, or until my kids put me in a nursing home.
That’s when I finally decided it was time to have “the talk” with Jim and really map out how on earth I could accomplish everything I needed to with being a mom, being a homemaker, working part-time from home, having time for him, and also having time for myself. That is a lot of things to accomplish in 16 hours (I excluded the 8 hours of sleep I am trying to get in a night), and I knew I needed his help if I was going to be able to succeed.
(I’m ending here because this post has gotten so long, but look for part 2 of this series to be written soon)