Thursday, February 21, 2008

Can you recycle a Sitz bath?

So what, exactly, is the statute of limitations on getting your shit together after having a baby? Because although it seems like all I do is sit around on my ever-lovin' butt all day long, alternately playing with or holding one kid or the other, I still don't seem to have any time to do anything of consequence.

My house is a mess and it's not getting any cleaner. I actually avoid inviting people over because it would entail an hour-long mad dash to make the place only mildly less embarrassing than it is now. I feel like a heel for not returning invites, and yet the prospect of cleaning is just too daunting to consider. There are piles of gifts from Christmas and birthdays with no place to put them. There are even larger piles of mail that I don't seem to have the time or the energy to open, much less do anything with them. Except the bills, of course. I open those, and invariably end up paying them late. And why does my hair, which I am losing at an alarmingly rapid rate, have the sentience to avoid every single attempt I make to wipe it up from the bathroom walls and floors? I swear, if anyone comes to our house, they would think that a woolly mammoth lives here, not a family of four average Canadians. Oh, and that Sitz bath? Still in the bathroom from November. You know, just in case I want to use it again, or something. I'm not entirely sure what to do with that.

Don't get me started on the garbage and recycling that has to live in our house because we keep getting so much snow that it takes a fully-outfitted winter trek to make it to the garbage bins...Or the neverending piles of laundry either, for that matter. Out damn laundry! Out I say!! Good day to you.

On top of all this, or perhaps at the root of it, all is my barely concealed guilt every time that I send the Boy off to daycare. I know he loves it there, so that is not the problem, but I feel somehow like I've failed as a parent because I can't handle the two of them on my own. I've had them both home on the many (many!) snow days that we've had lately, and I swear that by the end of the day, I am literally swaying on my feet from exhaustion. I think if I had them both home all day every day, I would be a mere shell of the person that I once was. You would be able to talk to me if you like, but I would just stare blankly at all the pretty shapes and colours. Seriously, how do all you full-time moms handle it? Can you really do it all on your own without help?? Kudos to you if you can. Please enlighten me on how to be a better mother. Because right now? I feel like a big fat failure. I'm going to have to take "multi-tasking" off my resume, that's for sure.

26 comments:

painted maypole said...

look, i've got one who is in school for 7 hours every day, and I can't keep my house clean. sounds like you're doing a fine job, and i think exhaustion is a rite of passage, is it not? if you had it all under control we'd all be suspicious of you.

ewe are here said...

I suspect you're doing a lot better than you think...

And nobody with kids has a clean and tidy house. Nobody.

kgirl said...

Yeah slacker, go clean your house.

wink.

I seriously think it is this weather. It kills ones gentle spirit. Every single room in our house is a mess, except the kitchen, which Chris cleans every night. I suspect it is only so that I will continue to cook.

Please come over. I need friends who won't care about the mess to come over.

Tracey said...

Seriously, the house will always be messy and there will always be chores to get done. There is no finish line to motherhood (or life, for that matter, except, well, death...)and there are no markers for how "good" of a job you're doing other than the family's state of mind. So. If you TRULY enjoy cleaning, then make it a priority. But, if it is something that stresses you out, then screw it. Obviously, make sure the kids aren't eating off of silverware that is dirty (or at least, not TOO dirty) but getting the whole house clean? Or even, mopping the floor? Meh. I can do without it. I'll have plenty of years when the kids are grown up to mop, if the desire should strike me then (hope it doesn't....)

BTW, those mythical moms who can "do it all" are just that: MYTHICAL.

Alpha DogMa said...

Red wine. And lots of it. Drink it from a coffee mug so the kids don't notice. At least until you fall asleep during story time.

(And yeah, it seemed wrong to me to throw away a perfectly good sitz bath. I did contemplate using the bag and hose as some sort of time release plant watering system, but then I remembered: all my house plants are dead.)

Beck said...

I've been thinking about this all day long. Could you be a bit post-partumy? The best thing I know with a new baby is getting out of the house with your bambino everyday for a while, but that's not PRACTICAL right now. Can you hire someone to come in and help with the housework, even just the once? Or is there a friend or something who might come help you out? That help-me-I'm-drowing feeling is PRETTY bad.
In the short-term - get your honey to grab some wicker bin things from Canadian Tire and just shoot all of the crap randomly in there. When you're feeling energetic, you can sort a basket and until them, HIDE THEM.
And don't be hard on yourself - having a new baby is the hardest thing in the world.

mamatulip said...

You are NOT a failure -- you are a mother with two children, one who happens to be an infant. BIG difference there.

The house can wait, cleaning can wait, laundry can wait. Looking after the kiddos and taking a break here and there are top priority.

cinnamon gurl said...

I couldn't do anything when I just had one new baby. I seriously can't imagine coping with a new baby AND a toddler. I think Swee'pea was about six months old when I finally wised up that it's ok to pay someone to clean a few crucial rooms like the kitchen, bathroom and living room. It seemed so bourgeois but at least I knew the house had been cleaned some time in the last few weeks.

Mad Hatter said...

Chin up, baby. This post describes me to a T and I only have the one kid and she's 3. Seriously, my husband will often say to my "do you plan to open your mail one of these weeks?"

Mac and Cheese said...

As I recall, I lived in the same state of disarray when I first had my one child. I love that other people have messy houses too! It makes me feel like we all have a common bond.

kittenpie said...

Your house sounds like my house, and I only have one kid.

and I'll tell you something - Pumpkinpie starts kindergarten inseptember, when I am due, and I STILL intend to keep her in daycare, too. Why? Partly so she can have some time playing with her good friends, partly so my day has more flexibility as to when I pick her up if I am in the midst of baby business, partly so I can spend time with this second child like I did with her, and partly for my own damn sanity. I don't think this makes you a lesser mom in any way, just one who knows when she needs a bit of a break and is smart enough to give it to herself. Good for you.

jen said...

it's been 3.5 years and i still haven't gotten my shit together, so i have nothing to offer.

Mary G said...

If your little guy enjoys the daycare, go for it. Kids get good socializing at daycare and I think its good for them.
I had two kids 15 months apart. The only thing that saved me was that I was 25 and tough. And even then, I was wiped all the time. And the dishes weren't. The Board of Health would not have liked my house at all -- the clean spots on the floor were where the dog licked up spills.
Look, 'good enough' mothering is where it's at.
And yeah, there may be a bit of ppd there, too. I love the advice you got. Take it! (Red wine in the coffee cups, who knew.)

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wheelsonthebus said...

I couldn't do it, either. One thing that has helped the disarray is getting rid of a lot of stuff. We are very low on adult stuff right now. But, there is no way I could be with them all day every day. It is so important to know yourself and mother the best way you know how.

MaryP said...

I have three. They were home with me full-time until I started them in school. (At age 10.)

So.

I think the SAHMs who survive develop different expectations of 'togetherness'. We play with the kids when we feel like it; otherwise, they have each other. (If there's only the one kid? Independent play is a life skill, kiddo.) We do a lot of congenial working-alongside the kids. Going to the grocery store is an "outing", and every bit as enriching as the damned zoo. Yes, it is.

And our houses are messy. It is what it is.

How old is that baby, anyway? He's just a wee little thing, isn't he? At that stage, personal hygiene is a big accomplishment. If you're showering more than twice a week, GOOD FOR YOU! Who cares about the dishes and the dustballs?

Sounds to me like you're doing just fine. And it will get better. Day by day. Yes, it will.

LoryKC said...

You're doing GREAT!
Most days, I'm home with just the 3-month old for much of the day. ("Much" as the older kids are in school for 7 hours, "most" because there are days--like today--when I have one home sick). So I have an advantage and can try to shower when he naps. (There are many days I still don't manage that much, however!)

My older two are 2.5 years apart and I remember when it was "just" the two of them--wondering how anyone manages well with 2 and wondering how anyone could survive any more than that! Mary P is right -- if you shower once in a while, and manage to brush your hair and teeth in between, call yourself successful!

Lisa b said...

Everyone has already said what I'm thinking which is you need to give your self a break and hire someone to clean up or just accept that having two kids is very consuming. I am just starting to feel the dust settling and Julia is nine months old. Despite having a nanny and a nurse it was total chaos here for months.

Cut yourself some slack and make sure you get out of the house even if you don't get far.

crazymumma said...

I am 45. My children are ten and six. We had no help. none. Last week was the first time a(of many to come I hope I pray) that someone cleaned my house for me.

Is it wrong to want to kiss someone who cleans your house?

Beg borrow or steal is all I can say for time or cleaning or whatever.

Kelly said...

MaryP rocks. Listen to her. When I was home with my newborn and my 2.5 year old, every day I nearly lost it. Whatever you can do to make things easier, embrace them. Do not succumb to guilt!

Kyla said...

Lots of coffee. And low expectations. ;)

You're doing fine, Nomo.

Mimi said...

I am hardly keeping my sh*t together, and I've only got one kid. It'll get better, and you do what really needs to get done, and remember -- you're so sleep-deprived you're not going to remember this next year. Here's hoping ...

Susanne said...

Well, I have bills on my desk dating back to June, nothing has been put away and I was shocked at the size of the dust bunnies in the bathroom. Yep, my tub is dusty. You're doing fine. You're in that stage when one thinks one should have been going back to normal but that comes later. Relax and ask people for help.

KC said...

I so hear you. I'm on maternity leave and the only way I can be sane is if joles still goes to school everyday. I have not handled the 2 of them alone for even a day. I might die.

bren j. said...

I'm sure no help with how to handle two since I'm sometimes going crazy with just one. For what it's worth though, we just started filing bills from erm....um....2005-ish the other day. And we've moved three times since then. Our recycling pile looked no better until the Husband finally went on a one-hour recycling spree last Saturday.
I hope things get even a little easier for you VERY soon!

BIRD OF PARADISE said...

Pagans and wacky liberals are pushing this whole rediculous idea of GAIA as stupid as that crack-pot JAMES LOVELOCK and cracked urns like E.O. WILSON and PAUL EHRLICH and its always these wackos and others that get big time attention from the liberal left-wing news media