Since becoming a mom 7 months ago, each day has felt like a marathon. I start out hopeful and optimistic that I can get everything done that I need to. I go through bouts of exhaustion and despair, thinking to myself, “when will this day END already?!” And as the day draws to a close, I nearly cry as I collapse onto my couch, finally having scraped by for another day.
I was a busy person before adding motherhood to my resume. I work full-time as a sales manager at a small manufacturing company; a job that bring new meaning to the words, “not enough time in the day”. I am also responsible for most of the chores, cleaning, and household functions at home. Add in a new child, and I am maxed out on time, energy, and the ability to care about it all. I decided that I had to let something in my life slide in order to gain a little bit of my sanity back. So, I sat down and took a look at all of the categories in life I am exerting energy toward.
First and foremost are my relationships with my husband and son. Obviously, I will not be letting those go. The hour or two each weekday that the three of us are all at home together are some of the most cherished moments that I have. I value my marriage and my parenthood, and in my eyes, sacrificing time with my family for sanity is a non-starter.
Next, there’s my job. Much as I’d like to some days, leaving my job is not an option. My salary is responsible for a significant portion of my family’s financial stability, so on a basic level, I cannot let that go. Also, there are days when going to my job, talking to adults, and doing something other than cleaning up toys and dirty diapers literally saves my life.
Next is my close friendships and relationships. My best friends, my parents, my brothers. I want to be someone that is called on in good times and in bad, and the relationships that I have built with my close friends and family are truly valuable to me. I enjoy hearing about their days, helping them solve a problem, and making them laugh. These relationships are a huge part of what has shaped the person I am. So, the relationships stay.
That leaves… the house. I can freely admit that I have a problem when it comes to chores, cleaning, and house work. I obsess over every little thing that has to get done. I cannot stand it when my kitchen counters are dirty or my bathrooms are not scrubbed regularly. So I really drive myself nuts trying to hold the house together. After a full day of working, spending time with my family, making lunches, doing laundry, and getting life set up for the next day, I will start to think about all of the other things in the house that I need to do. The real problem is that the list is never ending. I never give myself an out, say “it’s okay not to clean the kitchen tonight” or “that laundry really can wait until tomorrow”. I just run myself right into the ground trying to keep everything perfectly clean- as if that is what is expected of me.
For the sake of my sanity, my energy level, and my quality time with my family, I need to let this go. I am trying to make peace with the fact that some weeks, my house is just going to look like a mess. It’s no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed; it’s no reason to feel like a failure. No one is criticizing me on this. My 7 month old son does not know the difference. My husband does not care. No one has come over to my house and commented on how dirty or disorganized it is. I recognize that this is a completely self-inflicted wound. But like most sanctions we pose on ourselves, they have developed over long periods of time, and take hard work to undo. So this is a commitment I must make to myself and my family. To try not to see the dust of the coffee tables, the toothpaste globs in the bathroom sinks, and the crumbs on the floor. Because every minute I spend worrying about that, is a minute where I am missing out on what life is truly about. And I, for one, do not want to be the 85 year old woman with a clean house and nothing else left.
Kristin is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, click here.
Featured image via Unsplash.