Doing it all: The housewife/working mom edition
Recently, I asked for help.
That is to say, I hired help.
Once every two weeks, she comes to clean my home from top to bottom. This morning, she eagerly volunteered to clean out my fridge. I can’t stress this enough: someone wants to clean out my fridge, the “cave of edibles from parts unknown.” This marks the second item on a list of things I never thought would happen. At the top of the list was asking for help.
I officially burned out two months into life post-maternity leave. I felt the signs: heart palpitations, sweats, anxiety, fatigue. I felt it every time I came home from my full time job and looked at the catastrophe that was my living room, every time I couldn’t find something, every time I asked “what did I just step in?” I couldn’t stay on top of dishes, laundry, cooking, groceries, vacuuming. I couldn’t enjoy time with my kids because I was busy scurrying around trying to straighten up – a task that was never complete. I felt like I was trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose attached to a fuel line.
And yet I went a long time before I actually hired someone to help me stay on top of it. I don’t ask for help very well or often (honestly I’d rather give myself a physical using kitchen utensils). I used to judge women who had “hired help”.
“Must be nice,” I’d think, feeling angry and resentful that these women had time to spend with their kids while I was off playing “find the smell.”
I’m not perfect, I still judge people. I’m working on that. It’s on my To Do list, right under deleting Pinterest from my apps.
Let’s get real – most of us have to work. We’ve come to enjoy the finer things in life, like food, shelter and catered birthday parties at Jungle Land. The cost of living in this city is insane – it’s no wonder that double incomes are not always a choice. Certainly not for us. I’m the primary breadwinner AND the default parent. I’ve been trying to manage everything, and ultimately, not managing at all. I don’t “have it all”, I just “do it all.”
And who was I martyring myself for? Was there a prize for shouldering the biggest burden? I was back at work full time and at my full salary. My kids wanted my full attention – I could give it to them. I needed time to myself – I could make it happen. I started putting money aside and found a cleaning lady that I trusted (I’m working on my trust issues. It’s on that list, right under waxing my unmentionables.) I started delegating. I even found a babysitter to come once in a while. You know, so my husband and I can go out, eat hot food and talk about…the kids. We’re working on that.
It’s on the list…