While going about my stay-at-home-mom business this fine fall morning, I stumbled upon a scene reminiscent of Miss AP's recent, hilarious post about her attempt to hire a housecleaner and some passive-aggressive, "You're a stay-at-home-mom, surely you have all the time in the world to clean?" feedback she received:
|Book Nerd Note: yes, despite the nursery location, some of these books are mine. Master P isn't quite up to Edith Hamilton's "Mythology" yet, but I figure we'll start on that once he breezes through Dickens next month.|
I'm nothing if not crafty (in the diabolical, not scrapbook-y, sense), so I waited until Master P was safely distracted with his puzzles in the living room before attempting to tidy the nursery. While I was doing that, a box of cereal I thought I'd put away materialized, and this happened:
|Note the Life cereal pixie toddler dust strewn about.|
|I'm so happy to have invested in that fancy red Pottery Barn Kids chair, which has served nicely as a dogbed and toddler means of scaling the TV cabinet.|
This all ties in nicely to my Liposuction Theory of Housecleaning, which tells us that whenever one household mess is eliminated another one inevitably follows. Add a toddler to that mix, and it's a dilemma no Martha nor plastic surgeon has solved.
Suffice to say, this whole "keeping house" thing of the "housewife" gig isn't quite as simple as it may sound. Yes, absolutely, I can and do complete a few basics most days - now that Master P's no longer a newborn, I hasten to add, when all cleaning bets were off. While Master P is up, I try to make the bed, get
While the CEO naps - usually for 1 hour, on rare, glorious occasion for 2-3 - I try to shower, pay bills, do whatever household chores he won't let me do while he's up (dishes, mostly - otherwise, he makes a dive for the knives as soon as I open the washer) and that won't wake him up (in our small house, that eliminates the vacuum and Shark mop), and, yes, email and noodle around here. I took a lunchtime break while working outside of the home, and I try to do so now while I'm working in it too.
Admittedly, the heavy duty cleaning falls to my twice-monthly housekeeping service, a big privilege for which I'm utterly grateful - and make no apology. It allows me to put down the broom during the day and just enjoy Master P, especially when he's having a week, like this one, when he's in "All Mom All the Time mode" and creates stuff like book piles when left alone. It allows me to enjoy time with the Anonymous Husband on the nights he's able to be home for dinner; once Master P is snoozing, the dishes are done, and the toys are put away (all things the AH helps with, I gratefully add), we're able to relax versus my rushing around trying to deep clean.
I hope this doesn't come across as a braggy, "I have a maid!" sort of Trophy Wife thing, which of course isn't at all what I mean. I get that it's a privilege, one I could certainly do without, though I'd really, REALLY prefer to cut other expenses before this one (and have, by the way). My hat - a big, Kentucky Derby-style number - is seriously off to those of you who manage kids and cleaning house and/or a job AND a spouse-type all by yourself. I'm tired just typing that. Truly.
This is merely an admission that I don't feel I can do a good job juggling all the child-rearing and housekeeping AND husband caring myself, that I'm hugely appreciative of the household help I do have - and I'm a bit puzzled by those who would question that. If by budget or by preference household help isn't for you, fine, but why snark at those for whom it is?
At risk of making this the "Moms, Let's Just Get Along and Stop Judging One Another" blog, can't we just all admit we're doing our best and try to hold off judgment on others? How we run our respective households is a deeply personal, private business - yes, it's one I'm publicly delving into a tad here, but we can't possibly know the details of one another's every little circumstance. Motherhood - or keeping house - isn't a competition. It just isn't.
Let's reserve our Mommy Mafia Judgment for where it truly can help, say, with city governments issuing offensive, co-sleeping baby killer ads, shall we? Can I get an "AMEN"?