Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Spectacular Day

So this morning, I was nursing James and Sophie comes walking into the living room holding the carton of eggs. "Look mommy! Eggs!" Yes, sweetie, I see them, but you REALLY need to put those down. She trots back into the kitchen, and comes back holding one egg. "Mommy! Egg!" I tell her to put the egg back. Moments later, James finished eating so I could go and be more "hands-on" with this situation. She had very nicely put the eggs on the kitchen table, but three out of the four that were left were broken. One completely, with egg all over the table. (She had been "cleaning up". She's so helpful!) The other two were just cracked enough that I couldn't save them, so eggs for breakfast! I cook them scrambled, because that's pretty much the only way I can do eggs. Oh but then she decides that she doesn't want eggs. I save the one unbroken egg on the counter in case I need an egg for something later.

Then I decide to be all domestic-like and get something accomplished today. Hmm, the bathrooms need to be cleaned. James laid down for a nap, and I went downstairs to the bathroom with the cleaner. Sophia followed, because what's more fun than cleaning products? I got the toilet started, then realized I forgot paper towels. Back upstairs. Back downstairs, to find her splashing in the DIRTY POO TOILET WATER. GAH.

Bath time for Sophie! Get her cleaned up, get back downstairs, finish cleaning the bathroom. Come upstairs, start on the upstairs bathroom. I'm almost done when I hear her little voice quietly saying "yucky yucky..." so I come quickly out to the kitchen. She's standing on a chair, holding a big chopping knife, and she's chopped open the one last egg on the counter. Egg everywhere. She looks at me and says, "big mess!" I said, "yes, Sophia, that's a big mess..." trying to hold back the spasmodic outburst I felt bubble up inside of me. I'm pretty sure a crazed little giggle came out though. She says, "mommy clean it." Yes, yes, mommy will clean it. I send her to sit on the chair in the living room to have a time-out. We don't do time-outs very often though, so the concept hasn't quite sunk in for her. She kept getting up and trying to play the piano with her crayon. It's an amazing new technique that would change the world if only I would let her practice it more. But I'm old-fashioned that way.

I got the egg cleaned up, and James is awake. It's lunchtime, and does Sophie want to eat eggs? No, sirree! She has a muffin and a peanut butter sandwich, and gives James a pile of Goldfish crackers on his highchair. He had a banana and a few crackers. Got some cereal into him too. I'm getting myself a drink when there's a crash and crying and I turn around and she's pulled the highchair over onto herself, and James is strapped in face-down on the floor. Two screaming children = FUN. I get him out, and take them both into the living room to sit and snuggle and nurse their grievances. Thankfully, they both calmed down pretty quick. I had to get the laundry put in the dryer, and change James' poopy diaper, and then he's getting sleepy again so I lay him back down. I took Sophie downstairs to watch Bambi so hopefully I can take a breath. I decide this will be a good time for me to have a quick shower or else I might not get one today. Aaahh, you know, I have about two baths a year, but I love me a nice hot shower. So that at least was nice.

I came downstairs to check on her, and find her drowsy in the chair. We're phasing out the afternoon nap (not because I want to, believe me!) and we have to watch or else she sleeps too long and then is up until 10 or 11 at night, which nobody wants. So I wake her up a bit, I don't know if she's waking up or just falling asleep or what, so I take her on my lap and sit and snuggle while we watch Bambi.

Then she pees on me.

Right on my lap, on my favourite pair of jeans that just came out of the wash and everything. Bazinga.

Upstairs, change into old jeans because who knows what else will happen, and get her cleaned up. I've now decided that I don't care, she's laying down for awhile. I get her yellow blanket and put her in bed. When I last checked on her she wasn't asleep, but she was laying quietly in bed. I'll take it.

James was awake. Yes, as I suspected, that strong poo smell in the kids' room was him and not the diaper pail. He continues his reign as the Poo that Never Quits.

This brings us up to 4:30 pm and all I've had to eat is a bowl of cereal. I'm really really hoping that my husband brings home supper. Or, you know, we could have those two eggs that have been sitting on the counter since this morning.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why Bother?

First things first. Why is it important for me to be a good housewife? Isn't that a sexist expectation? Why can't I be liberated and be out in the working world, building a career? We could just pay someone to come and clean, and the kids could go to daycare.

Well, I used to work in the "outside world". I don't want to anymore. I want to be home with my children, as frustrating as that is sometimes. That's my choice. I don't want to hear about my son's firsts from someone else. I understand that many women choose to work outside the home, and that's perfectly fine if that's their decision. For me, I always knew that once I had kids I wanted to be at home with them. Maybe that has a little something to do with the fact that I can stay in my pajamas until noon if I want, but home with the kids is where my heart and soul is. My husband works and provides financially for the family. He has a job in the outside world. We had a talk when I was pregnant with our daughter, and clarified that going out and working is his job. Staying home and taking care of the family is my job, since that's what I chose. (I do teach piano and voice part-time, but that is in the home. My students come to me.)

This is my domain, my kingdom, my responsibility.

So why is it important that the house be clean and organized and proper meals made? We have a toddler and a baby learning to walk, for crying out loud! Shouldn't we just expect the house to be in a state of informal chaos?

Phyllis Diller said "Cleaning a house with children is like shoveling snow in a blizzard."
And oh yeah, is that ever true. Except here's the thing: blizzards don't last for 18 years. And nobody in their right mind goes to a blizzard looking to relax and unwind after a long stressful day. My home is meant to be a place of rest and rejuvenation for my family, a place of coming together and learning and blessing and growing. You can't do that in chaos. Just because by nature small children are usually pretty messy doesn't mean you should just kick back and do nothing about it. Your house and indirectly your mental well-being will suffer. And you will teach your children that mess and chaos and clutter is acceptable. I don't want to do that. I want my children to have respect for their home and their belongings. I want my home to be a fun, engaging, relaxing place to be. And a clean, clutter-free house is a big part of that.

As you can see, I have this all figured out in my head. Getting it into practice, not so much.

The Start of a Project

My name is Michelle. I've been married for almost 7 years. I'm a stay-at-home mom to Sophia, who's two-na-haff (in her words) and James, who's almost a year. I suck at housework. My truly wonderful long-suffering easygoing husband has put up with this for a long time. I've tried many things. And still I suck. My house is a mess. Writing this, I feel like I'm at an AA meeting or something: "Hello, my name is Michelle, and I'm a bad housewife." Oh and did I mention that I married into a family of domestic goddesses who would never dream of being caught with dirty dishes on the counter when people drop in or bringing STORE BOUGHT muffins to a family picnic?

I know other people who are like this too, and have the same struggles and the same fights with their husbands over and over and over again, about why can't the house be cleaner, and I thought, okay, I'm not the only one! But is there any hope for us?

I've seen other blogs about housework, and they're great, but a lot of them seem to be written by women who already have it all together and are sharing their extra special tips for canning their homegrown avocados while doing everything else the Proverbs 31 woman does. And that's awesome, but I'm just not there yet.

So maybe all this will be is motivation and accountability for myself. Maybe it will be encouragement for someone else. Who knows?

Anyway, here goes nothin'!