Like many women I know, I thought homemaking would be so much easier once that became my full time job. It has taken me some time to get over this expectation. Yes, I am home more often, but the kids are also home more often, thus having more time to make more messes! I thought that I would be able to be the type of mother that I always dreamed about while having a spectacular house like my own mother.
My mother was a clean freak to put it nicely! She did home daycare, so she claims that is the reason for having an immaculate house, however, I beg to differ! I believe that she just used daycare as an excuse to make sure she had a very clean house! I remember she would clean the kitchen (wipe down counters, sweep, mop, dishes, etc) and wipe down the bathrooms (and this was before the time of Clorox wipes- yikes!! I don’t even want to think about being a mom and not having Clorox wipes!) every night (& sometimes even a few times throughout the day! I cannot remember how often she vacuumed, but I know it was at least every other day! Then, usually on Saturday, my mom, brother and I would clean the entire house (even the door knobs and light switches)! Then every month we would clean all the air vents (and I don’t just mean wipe them down, we unscrewed them and washed them in the sink!), doors and walls! I think every other or every three months we would clean all of the light fixtures. I know my memories may be skewed because I was younger. I just remember feeling like we were always cleaning (and my mother had a very particular way of cleaning things)!
Now that I was staying home, I thought I could do that with no problem! Wow, did I ever fail miserably at that! I highly doubt that my house will never be in a magazine as a spectacularly clean house! I am slowly coming to that realization! If you were to come to my house unannounced, you would find any and or all of following: a front storm door with multiple fingerprints, mail that I have yet to go through, probably folded laundry on the couch, a basket of unfolded laundry and toys on the floor! Now, if you were to call and say that you would be over in ten minutes, the basket of laundry would be put back in the laundry room, the basket of mail would be hid somewhere, I would have the kids pick up the toys and put their clothes away while I do a quick wipe down of the bathrooms!
When my house is not in tip top shape, I feel like a failure, but I try to keep it all in perspective: one day the kids will be able to help out more, this too shall pass, and making sure that my children were held, cuddled, read to and loved are so much more important than making sure all the fingerprints have been cleaned off the storm door! Every day I try to prioritize! I make a list of three to five things that I would love to get done that day. I take a look at my list and figure out what I can do while the children are awake and those that would be so much easier to accomplish while the children are sleeping. I also take note as to what can be done while I’m watching TV! I take all that into consideration as I figure out what would be best to accomplish when.
I have a blueprint in my head and I start my day. However, this plan can soon be derailed by any number of things; you parents out there know what I am talking about! Inevitably I am in the groove to get things done (which is another obstacle because I tend to be a lazy person) and one of the kids gets hurt and needs cuddling or they spill their milk all over the place! Sometimes they want to help, and although I could get it done so much faster without help, I try my hardest to be in the moment and turn it into a teachable moment! The other day I was folding clothes and my two year old daughter started handing me things out of the basket, she soon realized that I would fold the clothes and put all the socks in a pile (cause I HATE to mate socks, but ironically, I love socks, I have 2 drawers full). She then preceded to hand me the clothes and put all of the socks in the pile. When she handed me the clothes she would tell me whose clothes they were. We then started talking about colors and size. Now it took me probably five more minutes to fold that basket of laundry than it would have if I didn’t have my little helper, but I accomplished so much more in those 5 extra minutes, than I would have if I’d just folded the clothes. I made a memory with my little girl, we practiced sorting, recognizing colors and sizes, and most importantly, my little girl got a self-esteem boost because she helped me! The smile on her face was priceless! That moment is what motherhood is all about!!
What were some of your expectations you held of yourself the first few months/years of parenthood?