9.20.2011

screw being a housewife

last week i boiled a chicken for dinner and had about a gallon of beautiful, golden chicken broth left over. oh, i had plans. i could put it in our rice for yummy flavor, i could saute veggies in it, i could make delicious soup. it was the reason i bought a whole chicken in the first place. i carefully poured the broth in a couple of containers, closed the lids, and let the steaming liquid cool before putting in the freezer. then i went to bed. i woke up the next morning and one of my first thoughts was, CRAP. i forgot to put the $&#% broth away! that night as i was pouring out rotten, nasty-smelling chicken broth down the drain (yes, i waited all day), i told my husband, i HATE being a housewife! (not true.) i am a horrible wife and mother! (arguable.) i suck at it! (true.)

i joke around about being messy and unorganized, but it really does bother me. when i make an effort to be organized, i almost always fail. the thing is, i love organization. i will spend hours cleaning out and sorting through stuff in a closet and actually enjoy it. why can't i translate this insanity to other parts of my life?!

a few days ago a friend of mine asked this question on facebook:
SAHM's: Please describe your house to me. Is it clean? A total wreck? Who does the cleaning and when/how?
we are in similar situations, as we both practice a lot of the same parenting philosophies, and she has a two year old and just had a baby. i figured we are probably in the same boat in a lot of ways. i took the plunge and replied with total honesty.
right at this moment? the kitchen counters and dishes are clean because we finally gave in and cleaned them last night. there is still random junk everywhere, though. papers, toys, and whatnot. 

the living room is messy... there's a pee diaper under the coffee table, a few of rivers toys strewn around and some random junk on the floor -- a piece of paper, a sprayer from a spray bottle (?), my shoes, the couch throw pillows, john's socks, river's little suitcase he plays with, a wipe container, some alphabet cards, a couple blankets and pillows from our bed are on the couch, the vacuum cleaner in the corner.

our bedroom? a total mess of clothes, everywhere. clothes that are in giveaway bags, clothes that need to be folded, clothes that need to be washed. our bed is unmade, and the pile of crap on top of the dresser grows every day.

the bathroom needs to be scrubbed. the bathtub in clean but i need to clean the toilet, sink, and mop the floors. there's a pile of clothes in the corner. for the most part, everything is picked up though.

river's room is messy as anything right now. last month it was perfectly clean because he hardly ever plays in there and i had a place for everything. but now, we are still trying to organize all these new diapers and baby clothes we have, and there is just no room. i just finished bagging clothes we are getting rid of and reorganizing the diaper dresser, but there are still diapers and clothes all over his bed that have no home. his toys are all over the place because we had a little friend come over last week and together they dumped out about every toy he owns, and with everything being so unorganized in there as it is, i haven't found the motivation to clean it up.

the second living area/computer/craft area is ridiculous, mostly river's doing. books off the bookshelf, toys and shoes and sippy cups and more toys and mail and piles everywhere and just mess.

piles of laundry in the laundry closet. just finishing a load of diapers now.

all this, plus we have tile all throughout the house and it needs to be swept and mopped desperately. we have a dog who sheds like crazy and a toddler who leaves crumbs everywhere... so you can imagine.

who cleans? me. or, i don't clean, rather. LOL. i finally understand why my mom always got so pissed off when we kids made little messes... because we figured it was no big deal and she knew SHE was the one who would have to clean it up. when i was a teen, my room was almost always picked up. now, i just leave my crap wherever it is, instead of taking the effort to put it back where it goes. if everything else is just left lying around, i get overwhelmed and don't even bother picking up as i go. i know it's part of being a perfectionist. the "if i can't have everything perfect, then it's not even worth trying" mentality. on days when i do try to keep things clean and picked up, i feel like i am working my ass off ALL DAY LONG.

thanks for asking this question, it feels good to honest and blow off steam! the state of my house bothers me everyday and i just lack the motivation to do something about it. 
these are the resounding thoughts i have: wanting perfection, lacking motivation, and feeling completely overwhelmed. i feel like i just sat through a session with a therapist! bahaha..
i saw a video house tour from young house love a couple weeks ago and in the video she kept apologizing for the mess. i was all, "omg, that's your messy?! that's my CLEAN." so if you read that and thought, "ew." please refrain from telling me. i thought "ew" too. if you read this and thought, there IS someone out there just like me! then i'm happy to have helped you with your confidence level as a housewife. now tell me about your house so i don't feel so bad. we gotta stick together.



14 comments:

  1. Totally hear ya on your "issues." It made me realize one of the things that used to hold me back as a teen was thinking that "pick up my clothes" meant I should gather and sort them, organize, stain treat and mend them, wash, dry, iron them, and hang them on color coded hangers. Now I throw them all in a basket and pat myself on the back LOL. I seriously think everyone's brain just works differently, I could call it ADD for me, but I know I'll get better... but keeping up on it with kids IS incredibly hard, I'm glad you aren't even harder on yourself and let the blessed mess to be sometimes. When I was a nanny, I noticed the days I tried to do constant upkeep instead of making things presentable really fast before the parents got home, man those days were exhausting. I like what blog.cjanerun says about dividing your house into zones, a zone for 6 days a week, then doing a fast power clean on that zone that day. You are not alone. My parents used to act like there was something wrong with me, but then I'd tell them about my friend telling a story about mysterious smell in her room that turned out to be a moldy cereal bowl under the dresser... ah, i love it

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  2. YAY! I'm not the only one to stumble across wet (sometimes "dry but used to be wet") diapers while cleaning!

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  3. you mean tell you about the cheerios strewn on the living room floor from...uh...2 days ago (or more?) The rice (now dried and not alone, because there are raisins to keep them company) under dining room table? Oh yes, and there's also the glorious smell of an almost full diaper pail wafting into the hallway next to the laundry room (which also happens to be dangerously close to the front door). Where IS that pink sippy cup at, anyways? I sure hope it doesn't have milk in it...that would be bad, b/c it's been missing for a while now.... Um, I could go on...but it's reminding me of all the things I should be doing right now..while the kids are asleep...;) You're doing JUST fine, it's when you no longer SEE the mess that you just might not be...It's nice to see I'm not the only one with a lived in house!! PEACE!

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  4. Sigh yeah same here...

    You touched on something I just realized a few months ago. The perfection thing... I realized I have that problem when I was reading FlyLady's site (for the 3rd time.. first two attempts I didn't really try). I'm still failing at getting organized but its slowly getting better. Kinda. I decided I like her method enough to keep failing at it instead of not trying anymore lol.

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  5. Whitney, I totally hear you! I get so frustrated when things are so very messy. I absolutely love the Book A Mother's Rule of Life. Now, it is written by a Catholic, for Catholic but it really is helpful and can be used by any Christian wanting to glorify God in their daily work. I am just now creating my "rule" and am going to be typing up our lists and schedules. There is also another book I have heard of but haven't looked at or used, called Managers of their home. If you desire change, check them out. Of course, you're perfectly entitled to keep at things the way they are if you're happy! :) Of course, there are numerous ways to organize your days and plenty of helpful resources for you to do it. Honestly, taking a break away from things like facebook really help me keep motivated. I am also slooooowly working towards only giving myself a small % of time for recreational computer use at prescribed times of day- only AFTER my duties are completed. I often do not allow my children to walk away from the kitchen table to run off and play until their duties (to foster responsibility) are done; I can't expect them to do something I am not willing to do myself.

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  6. Oh, and it helps to keep a little pad of paper to jot down things I want to look up on the internet later- they often come to me during the day and I'll go to the computer and before I know it, it has been an hour and my kids are tugging, begging for this or that!

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  7. Oh and to answer your question... I'm in the middle of getting ready for a birthday party so trying to power clean. Living Room is almost done save clean clothes on couches to put away and bookshelves that are overflowing thanks to little hands. Dining room needs to be swept. Stuff piled up on piano. Table just needs cleaning. Kitchen = dishes. I did mop yesterday though. And those are just the three rooms that I'm focusing on yesterday/today. I'm afraid to look at the rest too hard or I might get discouraged again and cry.

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  8. oh my soul !!! this is totally correct :-) We live in a studio apartment ( no rooms just one big one) it is impossibl├▒e to keep everything where it goes,,most places dont even have a real place :-) i have a kitchen meltdown at least 3 times a week, because it is the smallest kitchen in the world :( someday ... I try , and most days I probably fail. but hey what can you do when your room is your babies room, living room and dining room all in one ??? I totally feel like I am bad at being a sahm sometimes,,,but hey, I dont think id wanna be a mrs. stewart :-) oh well,, I gues as long as there is a desire to do well ... do your best and forget the rest ;)
    thanks for the post

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  9. I can't see my miniture computer table, just the screen jutting out from a pile of papers, homeschool books making mountains around it's base. Dog blanket in the corner, baby blankets, adult blankets, couch pillows randomly strewn about the couch. The bottom shelf of the coffee table is now a filing pile minus the filing. Surprisingly, for the moment, the top of it is straight. I can't see my dining table under I don't even know what. My dishes are in whatever cabinets (if they're clean). Cohen's room is being transitioned, yet again, so the other 2 bedrooms are not even up for discussion. My bedroom is under clean clothes, dirty clothes, piles of disposable diapers that are too small and have yet to be given away. The closet is a closet and things are hidden there on purpose. My bathroom has a counter somewhere under layers of toothpaste, makeup, and everything else. The other bathroom has toys, clothes, and dirty towels but is surprisingly "clean". That was my brother's doing... The cleaning that is.

    We live here, so, we use things...

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  10. Actually your house sounds cleaner than mine. And I did put my chicken stock in the freezer (10 beautiful quarts), only to find the next day...glass, broken glass everywhere. ARG. Apparently the quart jars are not freezer safe. Oh you better believe I will find a way to safely use all that stock though! Sounds like you're doing a wonderful job, Ms. Whitney..it's not that you are messy, this is just a messy job. :)

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  11. Thank you for this post... my living room sounds so similar... the toys, socks, pillows, wipes/wipe containers... cheerios, shoes, pajamas from yesterday... the list goes on and on.
    And thanks for pointing out the part about the perfectionism. I never realized that before - but I used to keep my room, clothes, and everything else cleaned up all the time. And now I am so overwhelmed, I just don't do any of it!
    It is so encouraging to know there are others like me and that there might, maybe be method to the madness. lol.
    Love your blog, by the way. I believe I found it through Salli or Mary. :)

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  12. This made me laugh out loud with delight. Ah yes, so familiar. So wonderful to hear the honest account. And love the comment "you aren't messy, it's just a messy job!". Brilliant point. We cloth diaper and try to eat healthy and live sustainable and build things and have lots of people over...and the result is utter chaos. And I constantly fight a sense of shame about it. Not to mention physical and mental weariness just from living in the mess. We need grace with ourselves and a sense of power and pride in the work we are doing loving and caring for a family and living a life that adds value and a lower carbon footprint. What value does a clean house have by comparison? (if you have an answer to that, please refrain from saying it). :)

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  13. OMG! You must live with me. I swear you just described our home. I am always depressed over it and on top of it we have 6 kids 16, 9, 8, 5. 2, 1. Two of them are bad and I want to throw them out but cant. I live in a new state with no friends or family. My husband works a lot to support us so he is tired and falls asleep. I feel like a single parent without the vacation of a job.

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  14. I know you wrote this many months ago, but I figured I'd give you a glimpse into my life. I'm sure it'll make you feel a bit better. Lol. I have 5 little ones-all boys-ages 14mos to 10yrs. Just imagine a men's public restroom-ya know that smell? The one that makes you want to say, "ya missed!"? Yeah, I did mention I have 5 boys, right? We are combatting ammonia funk in the little one's diapers, so that diaper pail is pretty sickening. We are moving, so most of our stuff is sitting in storage. What little we are left with is scattered throughout this nearly empty house. Our mattresses are on the floor, but for some reason the single set of sheets I didn't pack for our bed is the set I'd planned to get rid of because the elastic is shot on the fitted sheet. So, our "bed" looks really nice with the sheets more off than on, sitting in the dining room floor....I don't know why I haven't tried to man handle the darned thing upstairs, but I haven't and have no plans to do so. I did do dishes today, but honestly, it was only because we were out of clean sippy cups -I only kept out a few. I have no idea what is sticky on the kitchen floor, but someone dumped the catwater bowl over, onto the dry cat food and finger painted the pantry/laundry room floor with it. Smells great. I did have them wipe it up, but I need to mop to get it all. The litter boxes need to be cleaned, trash needs to be taken out, and omg what is that smell in the pantry? Something has gone bad. I need to be brave to go exploring. Who knows what they opened and left out this time?My 5yo had a potty accident, took off his wet pants, and left them in my closet floor. I can't see my bathroom counter anymore. I did try to organize for the move, but the Little People keep mixing up my piles. But the yard looks nice (aside from the many bikes, scooters, dump trucks, and other toys littering the lawn), and my kids are happy and healthy. It bugs me that the house is never/will never be perfect or even good, but in the grand scheme of things, it just isn't terribly important to score a perfect in the Suzie Homemaker contest. :-)

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