Think back to an old Friends episode. Monica is trying to convince everyone that she doesn’t need to have everything always picked up and put away. She gets up to go to bed and Rachel asks her if she’s really going to leaver her shoes lying on the living-room floor. Monica shakily says she is and heads off to bed. Then they show her lying in bed trying not to be bothered by the thought of her shoes. The thought of them starts to bother her and she starts to get up and go get them. Then she realizes that if she gets them everyone will know, so comes up with a plan. She’ll go get the shoes and put them away, and then she’ll get up early and put them back where they were so no one will know what she did. Finally she gets a crazed look on her face and she falls back onto the pillows while thinking, “I need help!”
That is me. I am Monica. The idea of a messy house drives me nuts. Now I have had some messy piles of papers and things, but for the most part I like my home nice and organized with everything put away in it’s spot. My husbands favorite game used to be moving something like a figuring a little (so it wouldn’t be exactly as I left it) and see if I noticed. I always noticed. Not only do I need things to be in the right place, but I need the house to be clean, and cleaned correctly. I honestly have a hard time letting other people clean my house because I never feel that it’s done right.
I’m sure I sound truly nuts, but I can’t help it. The cleaning and organizing gene is one that has been passed down in my family for generations (although I think I’ve got more of it than others). It’s a running joke in the family to refer to someone as Marion (my Great-Grandmother) when they start cleaning too much because my Great-Grandma had to have everything very clean.
Long before I even thought about having a baby I knew, that when it did happen, that it was going to be hard for me because I would no longer be able to do everything. I wouldn’t always be able to pick the house up. I wouldn’t always have enough time to clean. My son had to come first and other things had to come after him.
My time on maternity leave wasn’t too bad. My mother helped me clean the house some, and that was alright because she got the crazy cleaning gene too and I was truly in too much pain the first week or so to care much anyways. After the first two weeks Mom couldn’t take any more time off, so I was on my own. It really wasn’t too bad though. Nick napped really well then, so I was able to get my cleaning done and take care of him.
Then I had to go back to work part-time and things got harder. It was difficult for me to balance work, Nick, and cleaning. I had family to help, but it was difficult for to accept that I couldn’t do it all. Now that I’m back to work full-time I find it difficult to do anything but work and take care of Nick, and it truly drives me nuts.
I am starting to come to grips with the reality that I just can’t do it all. I am only one person and there are only so many hours in the day, and like it or not I do need some sleep. I’ve gotten to the point that I can go without cleaning if I need to. My mother comes most weekends and helps me clean, but sometimes we can’t both clean because Nick wants attention, so the house only gets partially cleaned. Two weeks ago the house didn’t get cleaned at all and I was OK with that fact. I think I’m at the point that I’m so exhausted that I just don’t care.
I have realized though that I can’t handle it being messy. I know that picking it up doesn’t make it clean, but I feel that if it’s picked up than at least it looks clean. I honestly have to put Nick’s toys away every night. I know that the next day they’ll all be out again, but I can’t leave them out. Not long ago I went to put Nick’s bouncy seat away and Jason told me I might as well leave it in his office because he’d bring it up again the next morning. I knew he was right, but I just couldn’t do it.
I guess I still have a ways to go. I still don’t get enough sleep because I try to get everything done, but I’m working on it. Over the past week I actually found time to get the whole house clean, and I did it all by myself. I honestly don’t know how I managed it though. Teaching myself to let others help and to let things go has not been easy, but being able to spend time with Nick is worth it, and it’s likely the only thing that will ever help me learn to relax and just go with the flow.