Being a stay at home mom, I feel like I really should have it together all the time. But I don’t. It’s not even close. As a matter of fact, I am a mess. Everything is a mess.
We moved into our home last August. It happens to be literally three times the size of our old place, so obviously it has taken me some time to get used to all the space, and all the cleaning. There was an initial overwhelming feeling about it all, but I’ve settled in and it is getting easier. It started with a frantic unpacking of things and once that was done, it was the organization of things. And now it’s down to cleaning.
Oh, God. The cleaning. Four bathrooms. Four toilets to clean. Think about that people. It’s like I’m spending half my day with a scrub brush and some Lysol in hand. I’m not saying that this house is palatial or anything, but it is a big adjustment to what we were in. And also, I don’t want to hear you say how lucky I am to have this great house, because I KNOW that. This is not about me whining that I have such a difficult life. I don’t, I know that. My demons are all living inside my head and I’m trying to find my way out. Except for the demons who constantly spill the cheerios and add to the laundry pile. Those demons are here to stay.
I finally got around to making a daily checklist of things that I need to do on a very regular basis to maintain this place and my sanity. I also made weekly and monthly lists. I color coded them. I printed them on pretty paper. I am SO good at making lists, and PRETTY good at following them. I really thought that this would be the solution to the anxiety I feel, and the despair that what I do doesn’t make a difference. I thought that a checklist would give me a sense of accomplishment, and I’d feel great at the end of the day looking at all I had done.
But I don’t. I am in this rut where I am completely sad. I walk around the (clean) house and I don’t feel like I’ve done anything. I look at my children, and if I have time to ponder for a moment before they’re whining for snacks or coloring the furniture with a red sharpie, I think about how the hugs I give are somehow never long enough and the activities we do are never fun enough. They’re just like the house: when they were infants, it was the frantic survival mode, then it was figuring out a routine, and now it’s a lot easier, but I struggle to maintain a consistent balance with them. Or at least I think I do. I’m always wondering if they’re watching too much TV (they are), or eating enough vegetables (they’re not). And even if I have a great day where I think I’ve got it all figured out, there’s still some sadness.
If you’ve read this far, you’re going to want to tell me to take care of myself and I’ll feel better. I agree with you. I’ve been doing that-I got the highlights I’ve wanted for years. But did you know that you still have to wash and style your hair even after it is the right color?! Exhausting. I also exercise. But I just found out in a “helpful” book that if I want to count my walking as exercise I need to do it for 90 minutes. Even with back to back episodes of Pretty Little Liars, I can’t handle 90 minutes. But this is ridiculous. It seems that no matter how much I try, I can’t find that balance that I am seeking. My skin can’t even find it. Somehow, at 34, I’m breaking out and getting wrinkles. Bring on the Clearasil, friends.
As I write, I know there are more of you out there who are unbalanced like me. As a writer, I’m encouraged to find purpose in the words I put on paper. I’m hoping we can help each other. I am hoping we can find balance together, whether it be within our homes, in raising our children, or in our skin care regimen. I truly believe balance is out there and I will continue to search for it.