Weekends are basically me walking around my house looking for something until it’s time to go to bed.
This is because my house is usually a mess. It’s a mess because I’ve had to stop stressing over the mess. I had to realize that my house and the stuff within it is not a priority.
These are my priorities:
- My family’s (and mine) health and happiness.
- My work.
I have never thought that “making sure stuff is put away” should top any of these. If I had a bulleted list of all the things I have to do in my life, that would be way way down there, maybe slightly before “get regular oil changes.”
In my local FB Moms group, a courageous mom just said she was on strike for cleaning because she was up until 12:30 a.m., after a long day of working and commuting, cleaning her house.
Friends, I never even considered that could be an option. That you would miss your bedtime because your house needed cleaning. If there are still dishes in my sink at 9 p.m., I just turn out the light in the kitchen and move into another room, usually the one my husband is in, so I can talk and hang out with him while looking at my phone (keeping tabs on my Internet friends is also very important for my well-being) before bed. I figure I will get to the dishes in the morning. And if not the morning, definitely the next night. Or not. But they will be done. Just maybe not right away. Nothing is going to get in the way of me sleeping or working. If I’m going to keep this ship upright while working — and be happy about it — I have to get my sleep. It’s non-negotiable.
I’ve been very intrigued by all the “self-care” talk that is currently swirling around in my mom (and female) circles. For those not in the know, “self-care” is defined as “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” For women, this usually translates into “wearing face masks purchased off of Amazon Prime.” But I find it strange it even has to be a thing; that we have to weigh the importance of taking care of ourselves. Apparently, women are so overwhelmed with all of the stuff they have to do they have to coin a phrase so they can “justify” taking 10 minutes for themselves.
I don’t have to take a break to do self-care because it’s already my top priority.
I think they would find more time to do the stuff they like if they let the other, non-important stuff go.
And I realize that many women can’t live in a messy house. But I can’t live in a house where I’m tired and yell at my equally hard-working husband about not putting his socks away. Or yell at the mess my children make simply because they are children. Or stop what I like to do (exercising, writing, reading, lounging around looking at social media) to clean up their mess. I think my husband would rather live in a messy house with a happy wife than live with a neurotic woman who screeches at him all the time. (If I’m going to be honest with you all here, I would say “Making my husband” happy is my top priority, even over the kids. I know that isn’t very feminist of me, but I really don’t want him to leave me as he makes my and my children’s life better and happier. If he wants to “play” with LEGOS after the kids go to bed instead of actually putting them away, which he does and I find kind of adorable, I can live with that. Shit is hard. I don’t give him shit about it, and he doesn’t give me shit about looking at my phone.)
So, we muddle along. But, here’s the thing, because of my priority buckets, we’re pretty happy about it and there is money in our bank account because we make sure our work goes a lot smoother than our home organization. Our kids are clean (ish), happy and well-fed. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish I had a pristine house. I really, really wish I had a pristine house. But in order to have a pristine house, I know what it would take (moving it above my other priorities) and I’m not willing to live like that. I also probably would have to stop feeding and playing with my children and I’m not willing to do that.
In closing, here are some shots of things I should be cleaning instead of writing this. In fact, I’m actually writing this while staring at a blob of my son’s lasagna he had for lunch 2 inches away from my laptop that I didn’t bother wiping up before I sat down to write. Please note, this was all clean as of yesterday at 4 p.m. It is now Saturday at 11:30 a.m. It’s a disaster. But, I had a choice: I could write this or clean. I know writing makes me a lot happier than cleaning. So I picked this option. Enjoy my piles of doom. And know you aren’t alone.
Self care bitches!