Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Go away "Should Be Able Tos"

Me, putting baby on my back in attempt to do the dishes.


Been visited by the "shoulds" lately.. Should be able to keep up with the house and make sure my children get their homework turned in on time..Make sure my daughter doesn't have a rats nest in her hair..I feel embarassed when she goes to a playdate with messy hair and comes back with her hair nicely braided..Make sure that she wears warm enough clothes even though she wants to go short sleeved on a 33 degree morning.. I am embarassed when someone comes over to my messy house..and it is so messy because we went away for the weekend..and am now so far behind in everything, it will take another week to catch up, but oh, my husband is going away on another business trip next week, so I'll quickly get behind again..But, we went on the trip to see family..because that is what we should do..It was worth it, though, because we had "good quality time together" because that is one of the things we should do.  But my house is so messy and somehow I should still have it clean..

Went to the doctors today and was told I should get more exercise..but how?  Get up earlier?  I already get up at  530 and am often too tired by the time my husband gets home at 730..."What is wrong with me?"that I am not skilled enough to keep up with it all..I wonder that someone might think...when they give me advice on how I could do "better" But, honestly, there are not enough hours in the day even if you are a "stay at home mom"...I wonder how working moms do it?  Keep their house clean and feed their kids..and work..But, honestly it is still very hard even when you are not balancing a job..because often you dont have childcare..because you cant afford it..and often the other spouse works long hours..and you are on your own and expected to do it all because you are lucky to be home with your kids...you are "priveledged" so you must surely be failing if your house is not immaculate or your child's hair is messy..

(I really should edit my writing too...like my house, my writing is sloppy..)


Yesterday, a parent came over to pick up her daughter after a playdate..and I was hoping she would only see the living room, but my daughter had lost her favorite toy..and that parent had to help her find it...and they looked all over my house! seeing to my horror my failings..She is a working mom and  her home is so much cleaner than mine..  (she's better at this than me?)


I am not saying this to complain, really I am not..I am saying it to address the shoulds for other people out there who may be struggling with the "shoulds" too..Because, the "shoulds" is an unrealistic condition..just as much as the body image of being supermodel thin is..They are parts of the same problem...that women are supposed to be everything to everyone..and that the "shoulds" should not bother me when I realize this..

So maybe it is okay, that I cannot have a family weekend and a clean house this week..and maybe it is okay to have my 6 year old brush her own hair and live with the consequence if she doesn't..and maybe it is okay to have my kids get hot luch sometimes so I can go to the gym and get the exercise I NEED..or ask for help.

Here is the thing, if I did keep up with my home, do all the loads of laundry that need to be done..every day..  put the mail away, do the dishes 3x/day, sweep the floors (which really need it daily), put away the clothes, make the beds, clean up the toys, and the art supplies, make the food, put away the clean clothes...all the things that need to be done daily.. My baby would not get held much at all..she would have to just cry alone (a lot!)..  My children would not have playdates, or be able to play violin, or go on adventures, or get help with homework..  so, there would be those "shoulds" that would be not done..  and I would still be "damned"..as a mom..  Because I really can never win..  Either the house is neglected or my kids are..  or we choose not to go to visit my father in law for the weekend..

I am imagining in my mind, that some people may "imagine" my day while my kids are at school...as my being able to sit down and relax or watch soap operas..That is the look I get sometimes when I tell some people how busy I am...and why I need to say no to some things because I HAVE to catch up with the house..  What could I possibly be doing all day...when I am not "working"...I must have tons of time...so my house should be clean..  Perhaps, people don't think this at all, but sometimes it "feels" like these thoughts are coming at me.. (but perhaps those critical thoughts are only my own feeling of the "failed shoulds"

Also, someone might tell me how happy my baby is...that I have a very content, easy baby..  (and she really is!)  and sometimes when someone says this, I feel defensive..that it is another reason, why I "should" be able to do a better job at keeping my house clean..

Ok, here is the reality...Often all or 2 of my kids are home..  often one of them is sick.. or there are conferences, furlough days, teacher work days..and there is no school.  Often, I have to get groceries..or run errends..get the oil changed on the van.  and I have to fit it in..between naps. there are also doctors appointments (like my own today)  or my baby's last week.  There are days to help out in the classrooms.  There is catching up with other parents who want to get together with our kids.  There is communicating that has to happen with teachers.  The list is hundreds of tasks long..

Often naps are only 30 minutes long..  And the school day is only 6 hours long.  Usually there is only one nap that happens while the kids are in school.

And I have to feed the baby..and change her diaper..and soothe her when she is getting tired, but not ready to nap..

And often I am TRYING to get things done..run a load of diapers while the baby is content for 5 minutes..

I am doing the best I can. And trying to be a good parent..But, it is okay not to be a complete martyr. It is okay to read a book sometimes..or knit..or go on a weekend trip..  It is not going to get all done..and I should not feel guilty for stealing some moments to do this..even if I should be cleaning instead..because the cleaning ALWAYS needs to be done..

True friends will understand..and not judge.. and I can accept I am never going to be a supermodel..so perhaps I can accept I may never be one of those really good housekeeper moms either..

But I do make sure my kids are fed and warm and loved and safe..and I spend time with them..and help with homework and snuggle them and read to them..and do crafts with them..and I feed them healthy homemade meals most of the time.  And I really try to keep my cool even when my kids are not...when they are tired and "tantrummy"  And my kids are "clean"..They are bathed. They have clean clothes..and eat off of clean dishes.  (although sometimes, it feels that even this standard is hard to live up to lately..)

And I nurse my baby and sit on the floor with her as she explores..

And I make sure I do some things for myself..keep learning and creating so that I do not get depressed..or stir crazy..

There are not enough hours in the day to do it all..  I should not feel guilty...I should not react to the "vibes" I feel from others who may or may not understand..  I am not inadequate.  I am not lazy...or a slob even if my home does not reflect how much work I do..  I am on the go most of the day starting from 530 AM..  And I am soo sure that many many other moms/dads are too..

This "should" virus..of shame..needs to go away..  I am a fabulously creative and hard working parent of 3  and my husband is usually away for 12 hours a day..  My mother is passed away..and I do not have very much outside help..  I am NOT lazy.  I work very very very hard..while trying to find a balance..to keep my sanity..  So, I write..and knit and cook..And LOVE my kids..and try to put my all into this as best as I can.  (and clean the house as best as I can with the time/energy I have) So, go away "shoulds"!!  (-;

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