Monday, February 22, 2016

when the going gets tough, ask for help. and eat ice cream.

I have this weird (read: horrible) mix of personality where I am not much of a go-getter, do-all-the-things, pack-the-schedule-full, list-making kind of lady, and I'm also too timid (read: prideful) to ask for help when things get too crazy for me to handle (which is, like, a lot of the time).

I don't want to blame the dirty state of my house on homeschooling + pregnancy, but I'm blaming it on homeschooling + pregnancy. Ever since I started to feel less awful, I see so much more clearly how gross things are, but the hours of the day when I would typically be doing productive house cleaning stuff are taken up with things like phonics, math, and if we're getting really fancy, religion and history. While you would think those should only take 45 minutes to an hour a day, they take a full 2-3 hours, easily. Sure, I could those hours where they are sleeping and pony up and work but they are spent in an exhausted pregnant heap on the couch or sleeping myself. Plus there are the normal things that need to be done daily that I can't get out of: dishes, laundry, cleaning every body's poop, feeding all the people, etc... It's a lot!!

And I know we ALL have those things on our plates, I am not at all asserting that things are harder for me than anyone else but simply standing up and saying: I cannot do it all. I AM standing in awe of those of you who do it all and stay sane.

The last month got even crazier because right around the last week of January Bernadette got some virus that was as super thrilling combo of a high fever, vomit and other bodily fluids, which had the added bonus of what seemed to be a 3-7 day latent period before striking its next victim. What this meant for us is an entire month of having this bug in our house. As soon as one person got better, another got it, some to lesser or greater degrees, but everyone it hit had the exact same symptoms. I was spared, and Lucy seemed to fight off the worst of it, for which I am EXTREMELY grateful (and please please please don't let this jinx me because Mike only got over it 4 days ago which means it could possibly still attack).

It was awful, and I was face to face with what a HUGE wimp I am when it comes to added difficulties in the home and face to face with the fact that I need help.

Right before the bug-of-the-year hit Mike he got a call from a school that he applied to for a teaching position letting him know that he had gotten an interview. Great! But! An interview that would mean no husband help for a full 4 days (AND WE ALL KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT THAT).

That was it. I had hit my limit and for a brief moment I stopped giving a crap about money or how pathetic it might make me look and I took the first step in the direction of getting a little help: I called a house cleaner.

I am not even joking, as the lady went down the list of what they do in their standard one-time house cleaning, I almost burst into tears at the thought of those things actually getting done, and me not having to do them all. It was glorious and I almost yelled "YES I WANT ALL OF THAT PLEASE COME RIGHT AWAY AND BY THE WAY, WILL YOU BE MY BEST FRIEND?!?" at her on the phone. I refrained from some of it.

Once I made the appointment for them to come, it felt like a huge weight was lifted and every time I've remembered that someone is coming to help with the cleaning, an involuntary smile just happens, which is kind of miraculous because this past month has seen me mustering all my facial muscle strength to force smiles during the day.

They come tomorrow so you can expect a freshly-cleaned house gram some time tomorrow afternoon. Or just a selfie of me weeping with joy, either or.

Then there was the issue of Mike being gone most of this week/weekend. My initial instinct was to do what I usually do and get all angry and resentful and emotional at Mike for leaving his poor wife and children, because I'm real grown-up and mature.

Mike brought up the idea of our whole family driving as far as Steubenville and him dropping me and the kids off at my parents so I would have their help with things while he interviewed, I think my first response was literally "no, I can handle things". Let me repeat that "no, I can handle things".

Hahahahaha.

I called my mother and was quickly lifted out of my idiotic state and came to the conclusion that, yes, I need to not stay here and go it alone with the kids when we're getting over a month of sickness and, well, pregnancy.

So I am slowly learning what every seasoned mother has learned and advises: to ask for help and to not try to do everything yourself, and it feels good. Also, to eat ice cream, but that I've always been good at.

14 comments :

  1. I love it. Thank you!!! Since we started homeschooling (just kinder!) and violin lessons I have zero time to do any above and beyond biz. So I hack it out and half ass everything. The days are sweet but rough. And untidy. And sometimes super dirty.

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  2. My husband told me a year or so ago that someone HAD to come clean our house because he and I bother did not have the time or energy to do it.

    Totally get it!

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  3. GOOD FOR YOU. Seriously. Asking for help can be so difficult. Why is that? I know you've heard this a thousand times, but we were not meant to do this motherhood thing alone. I am blessed to have both my parents and my in-laws in town, so I have more help than I deserve, but I still feel guilty every time I call upon it.

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  4. Leaving south bend for greener (warmer) pastures?
    Also... yay! For a cleaning lady.

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  5. I've been toying with the idea of asking for a cleaning company to clean my house for my birthday gift. This may have cinched it for me :)

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    1. You won't regret it! Except the morning of when you're trying to clean up for the cleaning crew! : )

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  6. YES. I had my first profesh cleaning the month Luke was born, then another at Christmastime, and last night (because we're living parallel lives, remember?) I was a weepy mess of overwhelm and Dave wisely suggested we maybe make it a regular-ish occurrence. Like every 3 weeks. Cue the weeping for joy.

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  7. I hear you. I'm only just starting to crawl out of the mess that the first tri created in my home.... and the only way I'm making head way? Take up the grandparents to watch the kiddo so I rock out chores and laundry and take things to the thrift shop and pay doctors bills and then come home and take a long nap!

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  8. Good for you!!! And add to that list a job hunting husband...

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  9. Oh, goodness, I needed to read this. I have been struggling with the same stuff--homeschooling while running a household, plus pregnant with number 7 (my kids range in age from 13 months to 7 years). I've been threatening to hire a cleaning service during exasperated tirades at my husband, and this post is exactly the inspiration I needed to nudge me over the edge! THANK YOU, and good luck. (:

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    1. Yay! I'm glad I was able to help convince you-- it was SO worth it! Expensive, yes, but we will likely only do it once a year. I went with a big name cleaning company as opposed to an individual person or smaller company so that I could threaten bad reviews and demand my $ back if they didn't do what I wanted. I had a bad experience previously when asking an individual we knew to come do it, because then it's super awkward if you're not happy, you know? Anyways, that my 2 cents, and they did a great job!

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    2. That's great advice. It narrows my options, which is always good when mommy- brain is trying to make a decision! Thanks.

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  10. I have a homeschool teenager who rides her bike over twice a week and does the cleaning. The amount of mental stability and sanity it provides is invaluable! It helps me to stay on top of the clutter, too, because if I want her to clean the counters, they have to be clear. Plus, for whatever reason, my kiddos are way more willing to pick up toys so "Miss Katie can vacuum" than if I ask them to at any other time. win, win, win.

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  11. Ana, do you need any help cleaning up that wall art? I have an amazing cleaning paste that I just used to remove pen art from our fireplace. Do you want to try it? Also, I highly recommend a once-a-month housekeeper for as long as you can.

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