Wednesday, May 12, 2010


 I'm going to warn you - this is a very whiny post.

I feel like I'm always walking a tightrope. A little breeze, a slip, and I'm tumbling for days. I need a safety net.

This morning, I lost my balance again. I've been wavering for a few days. I should have seen it coming. I guess I kind of did. I felt it Saturday. I felt it Sunday. I thought it was just that I was tired. That I did too much that weekend (and I did, and I won't - not like that - again). That it was maybe hormones. I thought I was just shaky - but not about to fall.

I snapped this morning. I nagged. I sounded like my mother. The husband tuned me out. The kids tuned me out. But I still kept muttering. I woke up to the cat pooping in my shower. Kev laughed as I came downstairs about the surprise in the kitchen - which was bread crumbs all over. The cat (I hope it was the cat since our cellar door was left open all night!) got into a bag of rolls and got them all over. Her dish was empty. I normally check it when I get home (though it's Colin's responsibility) and last night I just forgot. I was tired. I was re-routed on the way home due to an accident and it took me an extra 25 minutes to get home (meaning almost 10 pm).  Anyway, the 'surprise' in the kitchen - everyone walked past it. Guess who got to clean it up? On top of trying to find Colin's baseball socks, and getting dinner started (because I had work at 7 this morning, I get home at 5 and Colin has a 5:45 baseball game). I asked for one load - just one load of laundry to be done yesterday while I was working. It wasn't. Now I'm looking at catching up on Mount laundry on my days off. Oh, and then I remembered the trash had to go out as the garbage truck was driving by. This all made for a cranky morning.

Anyway. I could complain all day about this weekend and this morning, but the end result is I just couldn't take it. I fell. I am tired.

I suppose I could also go on and on about how my kids are expected to do chores, and my husband was raised to help and on and on and blah, blah, blah. But in the end it doesn't matter. I've talked calmly about it. I've nagged about it. I've tried everything under the sun and I still end up doing most of the housework.

The thing is, I don't mind doing housework. I don't. I'm just tired. I can't do it all. I work odd hours and I work full time, and I'm tired of spending all my free time catching up on the things that weren't done while I was working. I can't keep doing the majority of the cooking and cleaning and everything else while I'm working full time. I can't. Something has to give.

The thing is, that I don't want to give up things like cooking from scratch, laundry on the line and other things that may take more time. I enjoy those things. I won't compromise the things that are important to me.  I'm not looking so much for things to be easier, or take less time. There are things though, that I could be helped with more often. Little things that take two seconds, but save me time. Like wiping the bathroom counter if you get toothpaste on it. Emptying the trash under the sink - not walking past breadcrumbs all over the floor and counters!

I feel unappreciated. I'm not expecting a pat on the back. I don't need praise. I just don't need attitude when I ask for help. I'd like maybe a thanks once in a while. I'd like it if I wasn't expected to do all the things that everyone else walks past. I mean, the laundry fairy doesn't come and gather their clothes and wash them. The toilet gnome doesn't scrub the toilets when everyone is sleeping.

Sometimes I wish I could be the kind of woman who just does it all and does it with a smile on her face. I want to be. I try to be. I'm not.

I realized this morning that my feelings of 'balance' come from chores. Why is that? How did that happen? I've noticed that when I'm caught up on things at home, I feel good. And when they aren't, I feel overwhelmed and out of rhythm, out of balance. I mean not always, but most of the time - yeah. That's what does it.

What a whiny post. Sometimes I wish I could be one of those people that only post about feel good things. Inspiring things. Lovely things. But I'm not. Like I've said - how I write is how I speak. How I blog is how I think. What you see is what I am. And sometimes that means I'm whiny and cranky and feeling sorry for myself.

I know I need to take some time for myself. I almost never do. The time I take for myself involves quick trips to wander thrift stores on my lunch break. Or Saturday morning farmers markets. I need something else. But I feel guilty. I feel like I shouldn't be taking the time from my family. Not that they necessarily need me there, but I feel like I need to be there - I already spend so much time away with work. Then there's the self-pitying thought that I'll just have to clean when I get home anyway, so what's the point. Then, of course, what would I do? I'd love to indulge in a massage, but realistically we just don't have the money for that. At least not on a semi-regular basis. I'd gladly spend time wandering thrift stores, used book stores and rummage sales, but the truth is we don't need more stuff. I could go walking or hiking which is free and won't result in stuff, but honestly - I prefer to do that with my family. I like being with them. I haven't taken much time for sewing or scrap-booking or any other crafting in a while, and I'd love to - but those are things I do at home, in the kitchen and I'd end up getting lunches and drinks and snacks for kids, and doing laundry while I work on it and feeling guilty for being home and not getting other things done.

Blah. It's just a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

How do you balance work and home life? How do you get your kids (or your husband!!) to pitch in more without being naggy? What do you do to recharge, to get away, to re-balance? What have you learned to let go of? What won't you ever let go of?

Edited to add this quote I just saw:

Note to self (again and again and again):

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.
Groucho Marx




Sara said...

Today, I'm just going to be happy in it. hahahaha!

It is hard, Crystal. You have a lot on your plate and yes, you have a right to be cranky and naggy and to feel under-appreciated. All that said, you have tied your happiness to the state of your house. Some people are like that. I like a clean house. Really I do, but nine times out of ten only the important things get done. Priority for me is no smells. So dirty dishes get done, rabbit room gets cleaned, toilets get cleaned and laundry gets done daily or weekly depending. After that, well, my house is a mess 7 days a week.

So there is my priority...smell. If it don't smell bad, we ain't fretting it.

You can't do it all by yourself and at some point you have to let go and let live. If you keep holding onto the small things, these cause little fissures in the bedrock of your marriage. Not a good thing.

I do it. I get it and then I gotta stop and let go. Especially when it comes to the house stuff. I asked Jon to put away the laundry I spent all weekend getting done. He's off on Monday's. Know who put away laundry on her sick day yesterday? Yeah. I feel ya, babe!

What won't I ever let go of? I'm trying really hard to think, but what comes to mind is bedtime. It has occurred to me I hate bedtime. I hate the rush, I hate the whining, I hate the scramble to find clothes, make sure sheets are clean, blankets are in bed, water is available, teeth are brushed, peepees are clean...It all just gets to me at a level where I get pissy. I hate that I do it and I've let go of the routine of bedtime and I've let Jon do it, while I snatch 15-30 minutes finishing up a puzzle, knitting or watching tv...or all three. ha! So there ya go, that is how I get away and let go all in one event. I feel selfish doing it, but it works. I don't know why.

♥ Cari said...

I'm feeling the same way you are, except on the opposite side of the spectrum. I stay at home now, and Abe works full time. In our situation, I feel as though I am expected to do everything, and that when he gets home, he gets to do absolutely NOTHING. That is exactly what he does. I understand that he is bringing home the bacon, but I can't do it all. I will go insane. I need help. I don't expect him to do everything, but helping me clean up after dinner or something would be nice. I never get a day off and it's starting to wear on me.

I'm also the same way when it comes to a clean house. If everything is done, I feel great. When it's not, I feel miserable, down, and just plain crabby. Then, I tend to bite heads off. All of my frustrations come out, and we usually end up fighting. Which, obviously does no good, because when he comes home from work the next day...he does the same thing. NOTHING.

Sorry for my little rant there. I feel ya though! (((hugs)))

kiki said...

Ahhhhhhhhhh...the global dilemma of women all over the world!

This is why we should live in communes, tribes, clans - at least while we're raising kids - let's all share the load!

You carry a lot of load Crystal - bread-winner, student, mother, domestic-goddess, cat-keeper ;)

I think we all feel like mules sometimes.

Big, big hugs mama!

Barefoot Goddess said...

I totally have days similar to you, and there's only two of us. I think it comes from caring about the people and places we care for: we care so much, that things just mount up, and, we do live with humans who sometimes just don't do exactly what we want them to...

And you do need time for you, but make it something small: buy yourself lunch, or get a pedicure (Place next to wegman's is great!)or take an hour to watch something you want on television-no interruptions allowed....

and call me if you need to talk


Jodi said...

Sometimes when I read your posts, I just can't help but think "YES! I KNOW! I know what you mean! Absolutely. ME TOO!"

This would be one of them (and we're lucky enough that I don't have to work out of the home full time).

I have no advice on finding balance. I'm struggling with it myself most of the time. (And I agree - I feel so off when I'm not caught up on stuff - I've been having a week like that this week).

Just know you are not alone.

Valkyrie said...

I pretty much agree with Sara. She is a wise woman. :-) I used to get really stressed out if the housework did not get done. I have just learned to let go of a lot of stuff, and I'm a lot happier now. I just realized one day the sky would *not* fall if there was a layer of dust on the bookshelves. I just re-prioritized I guess.

Now, if I'm too tired, it just doesn't get done. Except the cooking. That's got to get done every night, eh? I used to really hate coming home and having to cook dinner. Now I like it, I've learned to make it meditative.