I don't know about you, but every New Year's Eve I reflect on the year gone by and examine what I would like to see in the coming year. I have addressed my writing challenges on my other blog (http://darscorrections.com/blog/). Here, I wanted to address my mothering challenges.
I have always struggled with housecleaning. When my husband and I first got married we lived with my MIL. Not a bad living arrangement except when it came to how she ran her house and how I'd been trained to run mine. Not that I saw her house mine - she had worked hard to pay for it and is the only woman in her family to have owned her own house. No, it was more how I was raised to take care of it. Not that her way was wrong, it was just different.
I'm a borderline obsessive compulsive personality. I had been trained that things are put away a certain way, all the time. If a space belonging to something is empty, it doesn't get filled with something else. This didn't work in my MIL's house. I was taught that Saturday was cleaning day. Not in my MIL's house.
When we moved into our own home, I still had my upbringing ingrained in me, but I had added to it working outside the home. For a while I was able to schedule my time so that I was home just as my husband left for work. But, that only lasted about a year because my workload continued to increase.
(I should explain that my husband worked shiftwork - still does - and had arranged his schedule to be home with Chris as much as possible, but this meant that we didn't see each other for days. Two ships passing in the night, one person called it.)
I soon realized that I couldn't keep up with all the housecleaning and spend the time with Chris that I wanted to. I'm also one of these people that is in bed by 9:30, so staying up until 10 or 11 to finish tidying up isn't possible if I'm to be functional the next day. During this time I felt like a single mother (and still do). While my husband is working, I'm responsible for caring for everything and I must admit I can't seem to take care of everything. I can do the laundry, go grocery shopping, run Chris to his various activities...
Since I let go of my "perfectionism", though, I have found it very hard to keep house and very hard to get back to what I had been taught. I like that I'm not stressed out keeping things tidy - except now I'm stressed out because I have a hard time keeping things in any semblance of order. It doesn't help that my husband and oldest son - I have yet to see if our baby will turn out the same - are the exact polar opposite to me in terms of organization and cleanliness. I just can't keep up with them. Add to that a fledgling freelance writing/editing career replacing the 9-5 job and I still struggle.
I have tried Flylady and couldn't keep up with it. I had thought that having a baby would focus my life on taking care of the house more. That working from home would provide me the extra time I needed to take care of the house. That hasn't quite materialized.
So, in 2009, I'm taking on the challenge of my house - the dustbunnies, the clutter, the unwashed dishes. Although I still find the prospect overwhelming and struggle with the scheduling of enough time, I am determined to get my house to a state where I can invite people in without wondering what they're thinking. I'm tired of walking into somebody else's house where you can see the floors and countertops and have them tell me, "It's okay. You are so busy." So are they, so what makes me so special. I want to have the ladies' Bible study over and friends, without the whirlwind clean up that usually entails.
This is the year I reclaim some semblance of OCD because without it I will never stay on top of all these things that have taken over the house since I gave it up.
What do you see as your greatest challenge this year in the home?
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