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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: A confession

Monday, January 18, 2010

A confession

I am a terrible house keeper. It's not for lack of desire... I would love to do better at it. I think what it comes down to is multi-faceted.

1. I would rather do something else (i.e. laziness, selfishness, undisciplined, etc.).
2. I'm unorganized, therefore the straightening that comes before cleaning makes cleaning happen less often.
3. I'm out of practice.
4. I'm overwhelmed by the enormity of all that I've let build up for so long.
5. I lack routine (though I think this one may fall in with number 3 or vice versa).
6. I have a toddler.
7. I have a preschooler.
8. I'm pregnant.
9. I all too often forget that Jesus came to be a servant to all, not served by all.
10. I have yet to truly learn to die to self!

There... aren't lists of 10 nice and "complete"? Ok, so 2-8 are really just excuses (regardless of whether or not they could contribute to the problem). And the first one is my real confession. It's #9 and #10 that are the real root of the problem! But let me tell you how it started... because I didn't used to have this problem.

When My Beloved and I were newly married (5 years ago now), I jumped right in to being a homemaker. It was all I really ever wanted to be. And finally, at 26 years of age, I was it. I found great tools to help me form a routine and I took off. I kept up and things weren't hard at all. I had meal plans and meals made regularly. I had a weekly cleaning day and the house stayed nice. I can remember being with my husband one evening as he was fixing a computer in someone's home. There was a ton of dust on the desk behind the computer. I remember thinking to myself how terrible that was and "didn't she know that it really doesn't take that long to clean the house if she just does it?" I shutter at that whole thought now... as I turn my eyes from the cobwebs everywhere!

Nine months into our marriage I took a teaching job to help pay off school loans before the "one day" when we would have children. I had never taught before, let alone 10th and 12th grade English! As it turns out, I was only there one semester, but I did little else during that semester than plan, grade, read papers and try to stay afloat. My sweet husband did pretty much everything else... and I do mean everything!

When my job ended the following January (for which I was both sad and grateful!) I found myself without a routine and struggling to find one. Three weeks into my (again) housewife role, and I was still floundering, feeling defeated, and seeing the house fall apart around me. That is when we found out I was pregnant with our first and the 24/7 morning sickness started. I did very little over the next 5-6 months until the sickness changed to every once and a while and I could be off the couch for more than a few minutes without running to the bathroom. Again, My Beloved stepped up. I had a month or so of some energy to plan ahead meals and such before Tornado was born. After that was 4 weeks of back and forth to work with a lactation consultant and another 2 weeks after that before I was recovered completely. And you all know how hard it is to get back into routine after baby comes... try not being in routine in the first place!

When Tornado was 3 months old, we discovered he was not gaining weight and was only 1 pound heavier than his birth weight. I began pumping everything so I could add cereal to his bottles (in the hopes the extra weight would help him keep it down and the extra calories would plump him up!) This started an endless cycle of pump, wash pumping things, prep bottle, bottle feed, wash bottle, start pumping again, and so on. I did this (and little else but keep us fed) for the next 3 months before switching (begrudgingly and thankfully) to formula. Within 2 months of stopping, I learned that I was pregnant again, and just about in my 2nd trimester (which I was very sick for the entire 3 months). We were now officially passing into the 3rd year in which I had not had a regular house cleaning routine!

By the time Sweet pea was born in March 08, Tornado was 15 months. Two babies is enough reason to barely be hanging on!!

This past fall, for the first time in nearly more than 3 years, I felt completely myself! Full energy. So this is what I used to feel like when I wasn't pregnant or nursing! Yet still, lack of routine (or worse, in routine for not taking care of our house) is hard to break. I found it easier to waste time online reading blogs that encouraged me to do better than to get up and do it. Add to that our incredibly busy photography season.

December was rough with the new pregnancy and I am still having morning sickness.

All this to tell you that I'm very motivated to break this deadly cycle... even though I'm pregnant and have a toddler and a preschooler (whom I am homeschooling). Some of the struggle I have with it all is that I really wasn't ever taught how to do things. Though we had chores growing up, they were pretty minimal considering all the things that need to happen in a household. I find myself floundering with where to begin.

I was so excited when I found the book Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House at the book store a couple weeks ago. I haven't read much of it yet (it's a huge book) and it's not written from a Christian perspective, but it focuses a lot on keeping house for the reasons of yesteryear. When they really used to do it. So far, it is very practical. I hope to be highlighting it as I learn throughout the months/year.

So the real point of this post! I cleaned the bathroom today. Sure, I do that somewhat regularly (though not often enough), but today I did the sink/counter/mirror and toilet area like usual. But I also did the shower/bathtub, floors, walls, door, switch plate, cupboard doors, etc. It took me 3 hours! But it's clean. And if felt so good to watch it get there!! Why don't I enjoy cleaning more? It's so gratifying!! (And hopefully it won't take as long next week!)

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3 Comments:

At January 18, 2010 at 8:45 PM , Blogger Little Mommy said...

They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. I think if you tried to focus on some aspect of "cleaning" each day for the next 21 days, you might help re-establish a cleaning routine. I have one, and although I have yet to stick to it regularily enough to hit 21 days without breaking the cycle, I do find that by about day 4 my house is not only looking better, but I feel better myself and I think I am better wife and mother because the chaos isn't consuming me. Good Luck!

 
At January 19, 2010 at 12:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

One day at a time, sweetie!

 
At January 19, 2010 at 2:15 AM , OpenID purplemoose said...

Hey, three hours in the bathroom is amazing!! Congrats!! Was that with breaks and interruptions?

I was talking about this kind of thing with a friend. She remembered the house was immaculate when she was a kid, but that her mom never played with her. I think there needs to be a balance. Clean-ish house, some time with the kids. I don't get that balance right, though.

 

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