July 29, 2008

Coming up for Air

Well, at least you came back to check on me! Jeesh! I'm sorry everyone - it's been one of those years....ya feel me?

First of all - the joys of motherhood are too many to name - but I'll try. They're joyful. There you have it. Ha!

The trials of motherhood are also too many to name, but I'll try that too...let's just say this - your house will never be the same. Fughett about it. Seriously. I've been grappling with the ever increasing mess and the rapidly decreasing measure of time I seem to have on any given day to get anything even remotely relevant taken care of. I was the girl who said "that will not be me".

In April I hosted a baby shower at my home for a friend. One woman complimented me on how organized everything was - and lamented how she couldn't manage to keep her house in any semblance of "organized". I said "it's a personality flaw of mine...not necessarily a good thing". She then said to me (I'll never forget this!!) "OH WAIT! You don't have kids yet! But just you wait...you'll see what I'm talking about....I used to be YOU...I used to have everything just so...you'll see!" We laughed and I inwardly shrugged her off. I just knew she was wrong and that my life of uber cleanliness and organization did not have to come to an end simply because our family was growing.


Hindsight people...hindsight. (shaking head)

Behold I give you the"favorite snack" bag...mini powdered donuts...

And sadly - all that remained after I stressed out about my lack of organization lately. This, my friends, is the only thing getting cleaned out in my house. Shameful, I know.

Ok - well, I've since become educated on exactly what she meant - I too, cannot keep anything organized. Sob. What happened to my labeled files and neatly stacked papers - or frequently deep cleaned home, or tightly folded towels and sheets? I'll tell you. Time is a fickle friend. He's around when you don't really want or need him (enter our long wait for Keira here) and he's fleeting and invisible when I really long for him to be present. Jerk.

Labeled files are still around...somewhere. Stacks of papers are still there - only they are no longer neat and they have multiplied by the dozens because I have neither the time nor the energy to deal with their rapid duplication. The deep cleaned home I long for and used to know makes me want to cry. Really - what happened to that? I was the girl who got a great sense of accomplishment from taking a Saturday to give my house a good deep clean. There I was in my cute little pink house gloves, scrubbing a toilet and singing a happy tune. True story. It was a great feeling for me to do that and do it well. Now, let's just be real - I can't be taking an entire day to deep clean my house anymore. You all read this post, right? Where do YOU fit a deep clean into that schedule. Nothing I do anymore can take all day. No more all day shopping, all day lounging, all day cleaning, all day working, or all day sleeping (though good gawd how I would love me some all day sleeping). The reason is because there is a little person depending on me for regular diaper changes, interaction, feedings, naps, and lots of hugs and kisses. What may seem like hours and hours in any given day are quickly swallowed whole by tasks. Not to mention, you can't be vacuuming and clanking around your house while your light sleeper of an 8-month old is trying to nap. And trust me - you want him to nap. You really do.

SO. Having said all that - we have had to come up with some quick fixes that I thought I'd pass along on the off chance any of you need some. Not for everyone - realize that. But for some - it might help or might help down the line when you add to your own family.

1. Get on a schedule. As best you can - make and keep a schedule for yourself, your family, and most of all - baby. Lord help us if we just went through each day willy nilly. Not only would I never accomplish anything at a predictable rate - but Quint would be miserable, because he could not count on anything happening at the same time everyday. I'm talking about sleep, naps, feeding, and playtime. That's all - though some people like to structure even tighter - which is fine.

2. If you find yourself letting the house go - letting the bills and piles of paperwork go, etc. - take my advice here: make a gentle to do list - or make a monster to do list. Divide your list into rooms or categories, depending on what you're trying to get done. For me, I needed to clean my house. I made a list of each room and what I wanted to accomplish in that room. Then I proceeded to only tackle one room at a time or one room per day, whichever came first. Once that room was done - I would not keep going, but cross it off the list and move on to the rest of my day (or to bed in some cases). This gave me the freedom to let myself walk away. On Monday, I deep cleaned our bathroom in increments that took me about 8 hours of off and on to finish. But, at the end of the day, I had a beautiful bathroom and crossed it off my list. It felt good! Granted, I knew I was moving at a slower pace than I had pre-baby (what with said baby happily jumping around in his exersaucer in the bathroom while I cleaned out the closet) but it still felt good to get a nice hold of my ever growing list and just make even the tiniest dent. This encouraged me that I could get through it, if I gave myself the grace. So far, it's been two weeks since I made the list, and I've attacked five rooms in the house. Not finished, but still feels like accomplishment, which has become very important to me.

3. Get out. Literally. Get a sitter and get out. Some days you will be swallowed whole by the responsibility of parenting and you just have to take the opportunity to get out. If you must, scheduled a sitter after baby goes down for the night and have a date night. Or maybe just ask a friend to come by for a couple hours during the day so you can get out and be human again, sans spit-up on your shirt and crackers in your hair. Go to the mall, go to the nail salon, go get a massage, or just go sit in the library and have some peace and quiet time that's all your own. Being a mom is amazing - but so is being a woman, and a wife, and a daughter, and a friend. Keep all your hats and don't let any one hat get too dusty with your new role. Promise?

4. Allow your spouse (or family member or friend) to help you out. Anton saw me drowning last week and threw me the very biggest of lifelines. He took our little guy and made a special trip to go visit his parents for two days. Hard as it was for me to part with either of them (yes, I cried when they drove away), I then walked back into a completely quiet house and found myself almost as weepy at the happy prospect of actually making some progress to get caught up with work. Which I did - and which I appreciated so very much. If you have loved ones offering to take the little stinker for a couple days - don't let your guilt keep you from it. You're only human, after all - and we all need sanity time. (And no, working outside the home is not sanity time)

Ok - so enough advice from a mom of only three stinking months...eh? What the frig!

How about some pics of my little man?


Kim said...

Great Ideas...
LOVE This post...
You have done a great job in the 3 months figuring this out...
Quint is sooooo adorable..
You got it mommy...
HUGS to you..

Dan, Misty & Ashar said...

So what I hear ya sayin is that I had better enjoy my clean and organized now, because it's all about to be messed with - in a good way?! Okay. Will do. Great advice! AND THE BLOG LOOKS GREAT! Love it!

frogglet said...

Great tips, I am not very organized now, I often wonder about how my life will change but I have a feeling it is something you can't truely predict.
Quint just gets more adorable everytime you post!!

Stephanie said...

Ok. Tucking this post away for future reference!!! :)
Those pix are SO cute. Quint is seriously an adorable baby!!!!

Briana's Mom said...

Girl - you hit the nail on the head! I found the most important thing for me and Bri is a routine. It makes for a very happy girl.

Deep clean houses are a thing of the past. Well, maybe until Briana's gets a little older and cleans it for me - LOL!!!!!

Valerie said...

Girl, you and I are on the same page...I just blogged about the changes in our standard of living too. This isn't the first time I've thought about something and you've written about it - we are definitely in sync.

Quint is such a sweetie pie. I need one of those hats for Lil Dude; but will most probably have to go to a specialty store for big heads.

Love V

Linda said...

Looks like you are getting it together...Becoming a true Mom who has learned the priority is always the baby.... but they do thrive on routine, Doing a Great Job because he is still smiling bigger then ever... Linda

redmaryjanes said...

I just love your posts. You bust me up and you are doing the best job. Your son is so cute and he always looks darling.
And who could resist powdered donuts??? Not me sister.
I think you are doing great!

Robyn said...

Girl...I feel your pain. We have just given up and given Avery free reign over the living room for her toys and such and of course you know we no longer pick up the magnets!?!

Maybe someday I will have control over my house again (maybe like in 18 years?)!

sawheeler said...

Quint is so adorable! I am only back 2 weeks with Noah and going through some of the same stuff - the schedule is the key, I can tell already - but how to keep up with a 3 hour schedule - HELP!!!

Kate said...

I hear ya! The one thing that I did after I went back to work after I had my second daughter was hire a cleaning lady every other week. At first I felt like the biggest "failure" - I couldn't do EVERYTHING. The cleaning lady comes on the week (rotating schedule at work you see) when I have two 13 hour workdays at the pharmacy. I don't have to spend my weekend off of work cleaning! If you can afford it, get one! You won't be sorry. Two kids, full time job, husband, pets you need the help. For me it has been a lifesaver.

Elise said...

LOVE the new look! And the pictures of you all are to die for!
I love those sweet baby smiles....always lifts me up!

Enjoy every minute and don't stress over the mess....it just gets worse as they get older and you add more to the mix;) Totally worth it!

Anna said...

I agree with Kate-if you can get someone to clean your house...do it! It was my lifesaver. I can pick-up, but I don't have the time to do the deep-down cleaning that I crave. Now if I could afford someone to cook for me....hmmm.