Friday, January 11, 2013

Measuring Up

I've been feeling a little (well, a LOT) overwhelmed for the past couple of months. I'm embarrassed about that because I'm only working part-time. I look at the moms who work and are good parents and STILL keep their houses clean. I'm "just" a housewife. The critical part of my head tells me I should be able to do a better job with everything, and that I am failing at most of it. I'm barely keeping up with general cleanliness around the house (yesterday I discovered a dried lake bed of dog urine hidden under a table and still haven't gotten it all cleared off, bleached, and mopped up) even with all the time I have.

A friend recently mentioned that the most abusive relationship she's ever been in is with herself. She would never tolerate anyone "real" being as critical and unsupportive, as downright hurtful, as she is to herself. I've been thinking about that a lot. This morning, as I switched from email replies to typing minutes to website administration to cleaning the kitchen I paused. First I berated myself for not concentrating on and actually finishing something. Then I took a step back and marvelled at just how many things I was trying to do at once. Finally I decided to write down the names of the various hats I wear on a regular basis. Here's what I came up with:

- Girl scout troop leader
- School webmaster
- Property manager for 9 houses
- PTA volunteer
- CSC representative (secretary)
- Part time employee (3 days/wk)

Then I added the things I spend time on but don't really consider a "job"

- Student (or at least trying to be)
housekeeper (dishes, laundry, cleaning)
- calendar keeper/social directory
- cook (at least 10 prepared meals a week for 4, plus packing lunches for three 5 days a week)
- writer
- emerging athlete (so it's a stretch. At least I'm trying!)
- parent
- teacher (to my kids)
- friend
- knitter
- random tasks assigned by W
- webmaster for W's business

For today at least I have decided that the criticism being spouted by the abuser in my head is utter nonsense. Sure, there's dog hair in every corner of the house. And yes, I do spend more time than is prudent farting around on social networking sites. But I do measure up (even if it is a short ruler).


  1. {{{HUGS}}} That evil voice in your head needs to be exorcised. It sounds like you are also the emotional backbone of your entire family. It's not something you can easily codify on a to do list, but believe you me, it's an enormous job.

  2. Yeah, what LJ said. I'm new to your blog, but not new to the ideas you're writing about today. I somehow got free of those same lying voices in my head sometime last year. (Maybe it's the anti-anxiety meds!) I think that we really get down on ourselves for not being able to be ALL things to ALL the people who need us. You're pretty amazing, just as you are. May you be gentle to and forgiving of yourself.

  3. The person I have the most trouble with is the one I see in the mirror every day. (That is a possibly paraphrased quote from someone... can't recall who right now.)

    My husband is now retired and my kids are no longer little (youngest is in 7th grade) but I cannot keep up with the house. The thing is, if I put a clean house as my #1 priority, it would probably be clean... but where would that leave me? Sure, blogging and everything else takes away time from housewife-y endeavors, but we need to remember to take time to be creative, to feed our minds and our souls.