Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Finding meaning in the mop bucket

In my perpetual state of half-finished, I have found myself outside on a chaise in the sun knitting or reading more and more often. I am loving this. I am loving it because despite all the unfinished stuff that fills my home, and all my sitting around, the house is looking better than ever.

DeuceDad and I don't see eye to eye on housework. My philosophy is that if my kid won't get sick or hurt in our home, it's fine. I push the clutter aside to make room for additional clutter, I clean the toilet, I call it a day. He likes things put away properly but does not under any circumstances clean the toilet. In other words, I'm a "clean" and he's a "neat."

That said, a few weeks ago he expressed some, uh, frustration? annoyance? fear? over the state of the house. There were some very precarious leaning piles. As I've said, I don't care, but if it's important to him I can make it at least marginally important to me. I do love him after all.

So I implemented a lose days of the week schedule to make sure each level of my house is getting some attention every week. I have a split level, so that's 3 days of tidying and cleaning with 2 days for margin of error/naps. It's been working out nicely because it's a small set of things to do each day, and I can make myself do them before I get really bored.

Okay, so all this is cute, right? Housework, leaning town of mail, haha. But here's the tough stuff. All the while I've been overachieving in school, working professional jobs, then being a WOHM I've always said I have much more important things to do than keep house. And now I find myself a SAHM and keeping house is the only thing I have to do. I play with Deuce, I socialize, I do my crafts. But when he's taking his 2-3 hour daily nap, the only actual responsibility I have is the housework. My gut reaction to that is to say "is this what my life's become?" My life is the unimportant things - the things that were beneath me a year ago.

My mom put this in perspective for me. She always told me to be the best I can at whatever I'm doing. That always meant academics or career in my life. Parenting goes without saying that I try to be a good mom, but now my career is homemaker. Mom told me that I need to take pride in my home and be the best homemaker I can be.

She's right. Homemaking isn't beneath me. It's hard work. It's tiring and thankless and repetitive, like so many other jobs I've had can be at times. But it can also bring a sense of satisfaction and pride when the job is well done, and certainly when it gets noticed!

DeuceDad does make a point to say when the house looks nice - and particularly when he notices a giant pile of crap has disappeared. But I'm the one who needs to take notice and appreciate when I've done a good job. I'm the one who needs to hold myself to a higher standard when it comes to this SAHM gig. This is my life after all, and it's not too small for me.

1 comment:

Gramma Phyllis said...

Well, you have made a start at finally truly loving yourself. I have a suggestion that you might like to look at. It is a website that helped me reduce the stress that clutter was bringing into my life. I wish it had been around when I had kids and husband at home. Give www.flylady.net a try. Her starting point may seem a little weird but give it a try.