I left out today at 4pm and returned around 6:30. While out it was raining, dark, and cold. When I returned home it had not changed. While at home, unloading the groceries into the fridge and starting dinner, I was informed that the neighbor next door came over to use our phone to call her husband. She couldn’t reach him and made a comment about it being cold outside. My daughter didn’t let her in.
Part of me felt proud. I have taught my children to not allow people into my house while I’m gone, even if they do know them. Part of me was angry. I have also taught my children to not answer the door while I am gone and yet my daughter did. Part of me was sadden. My neighbor happens to be the only person in the neighborhood that I enjoy and talk to frequently. She’s always sending stuff over the kids and sharing info. She is just all over kind and she is pregnant, 5 months and at least in her late 30’s if not early 40’s from what I can tell. She couldn’t get in touch with her husband and was left in the dark and cold for how long, I don’t know. I feel really bad and it hurts. But most of all I think I feel embarrassment.
My first words were, “She didn’t see the house did she?” My house is a complete mess. Nasty would be the better word and if I walked into someone’s house and it looked like this I would be repulsed beyond belief. It is not ALWAYS a mess but it is not always as I would want it either. When the kitchen is done that normally means something else has not been worked on. When upstairs is clean, down stairs you can barely walk through. Living, dining, kitchen and bathroom will be neat and tidy for guest while my room of the kids room is cluttered. I hate it. I get one section clean and then have to pull everything out of another and into that section in order to clean the other section and in the mean while the kids are into everything and the basics are not being kept up.
And did I tell you before that I hate it?
I hate worrying about the neighbors, church people, friends and just random people, even the mail man. I hate wondering if they are going to come over, can see through the window or parted door and I worry that they will talk.
Truth be told I shouldn’t have to worry.My first thought should have been about my neighbor and her safety and instead it was about how I was going to be viewed for my house keeping skills.
And I admit it, I suck at keeping house but I refuse to take all the blame. I don’t understand how it is that others with children go about and do a load of laundry, fold and put it away, wash dishes, take out trash, sweep and mop and spend one day a week just keeping one room tidy and then once a month doing a deep clean of maybe the kids room or washing windows or walls.
I can never get away with just that.
I clean the living room and the next day I can’t walk through it at all. Dishes are there, food, skates, clothes, book bags, toys, books and trash. I can honestly say that I watch my children eat a candy bar and watch them look at the wrapper and throw it on the floor. And I wish this was the younger ones but the 15 and nearly 13 year old do it too. Right now if my neighbor was in my house she would be sitting on a sofa which has a blanket that my 13 year old has left on it, a bag of cuties which are smashed are on the ottoman, the book shelf has books sideways and most on the floor, the stand in which the t.v. sits is covered in food and juice, bins are placed in the room and most are half dumped and gone through. The recycling bin was knocked over by someone and the contents thrown around. Two of the children went through their school folders and left the papers which are now all over the floor. Trash from snacks and food from yesterday evening and my time gone are all over the place and in the amount of half a bags full, clothes and toys that could fill a laundry basket and small bin are also located on the floor.
The sad part, Christmas was just 2 weeks ago and the whole room was completely clean. New years was just a week ago and the only thing in there was a couple of bins of items from the holiday (toy bin and decorations). Two days ago I went off and swept the floor and placed everything into bins, baskets, trash and recycling. I didn’t do catch up yesterday due to focusing on laundry and being out and about. I picked up clothes today but spent most of my time in the kitchen (like yesterday) and in the hallway and doing laundry. It would take me up to an hour of cleaning the living room just to get it decent. That would mean just throwing things into bins and baskets, onto the shelf and into the trash and recycling, without care. It wouldn’t be organized or tidy, just picked up. Tables wouldn’t be wiped down, floors not mopped and no dusting. And, truth be told, it should be a 10 min pick up/straighten up and a 5 min wipe down of surfaces with once a week dust, wash of windows and wipe down of walls and furniture. Instead it’s an hour to 2 hours of cleaning daily and never reaching the other half but once a month if that.
But it’s not just the living room, it’s every room. I am the last to go to sleep and I see how things are left. This morning I woke up to EVERY single cabinet and drawer open and after going to the potty I spent my morning closing every single one. The toaster is out, chocolate chips were melted and smeared on the counter, the bag and knife left there, bread left open and this all happened during the time that I was down stairs putting in laundry and mopping up the floor. I had to come up, put everything away and scrap chocolate chips off the counter and wipe it down. I had already done dishes but now have items in the sink. Chocolate chips were spilled onto the floor and stepped on. I now have to scrap that up, sweep and mop. The trash was not take out and neither was the recycling, I’ll be doing that before 8am, in the mist of taking everyone to school and getting the younger ones ready. It will be raining and cold. I’ll also be putting away the dishes that didn’t get put away and collecting the ones I found downstairs, but couldn’t bring up due to bringing up laundry, and washing them. I bring up these things because trash, recycling, putting away clean dishes and collecting dirty dishes are the ONLY mandatory chores that my older girls have. Occasionally they will be asked to do a load of laundry, one child taking it down and putting it into the wash, the boy putting it from wash to dryer and the other child taking it out of the dryer and bring it back up for me to sort, fold and put away. All they are asked to do is gather their own clothes and put them away. All other chores are mine unless things get really awful and I demand their help.
And I think they get off easy for their ages. And when you figure in the fact that their clothes are all over the place, they can’t put trash where it belongs, I think they get off really easy.
They don’t get allowance. They don’t have cell phones, ipads, gaming systems and the such. They don’t shop the mall. They don’t get to hang out after school with friends. And, they don’t seem to care.
But I do. I hate the fact that the house looks the way it does and I know that something has to be done about it. But it’s not fair, I shouldn’t have to do all the work and I shouldn’t have to get rid of all MY belongings because of them. Why are they in the china cabinet downstairs? Why are they in the photo’s? Who took out my clarinet? Why is all the camping gear out? Who went through the holiday bins? Why is the storage door open? What happened to all the paint? Where are all the dishes?
And I guess some would say, “Where are you at when all this is happening?”
On the toilet. Taking a shower. Sleeping during the night. Upstairs with another child. Downstairs with another child. Cleaning one room. Eating. Making a phone call. Answering the door. Working in the yard. Cleaning out the van. Shopping for food. Going to church. Attending a school activity with one child. Picking up a child. Going to the doctors. Reading a book. Writing. Donating. Being sick. And sometimes, I watch a show. Unfortunately, sometimes during it a child will sneak off or an older one will say that she doesn’t want to watch. Then I’ll come down and find that she went through another box or the younger one got into paints.
And I just don’t have the space to put EVERY single thing I own up high. And I don’t have the money to lock it all up into chest. And I don’t have the magical powers to be in each room at all times.
And it becomes over whelming and causes anxiety.
And then I can’t tackle it.
And it gets out of control.
And I try to sort it out.
And it becomes a bigger problem.
Like organizing the cabinets which took 5 days. All 5 days everything was all over the kitchen, you couldn’t even use the counters. You still can’t except for the one I cleaned off today. One set of cabinets is clean but not organized because I can’t afford the containers to put flour and the such into so things are just sitting in there, haphazard like. It doesn’t look pretty though it is clean.
And that is the other issue. I throw away everything I own; pictures, graduation gown, teddy bear from when I was a child, all holiday decorations but the tree and bulbs and I wash and wash and organize and the walls are bare and the shelves are bare and the counters are bare and yet, I’m still embarrassed and won’t let anyone in. And why?
Because it is not pretty.
Mixed match and out dated furniture and appliances. Cabinets and fixtures from the 70’s. Counters falling apart. Cheap. Old. Clean yes. But, not pretty.
And, I know for a fact that people judge on that. Especially many of the people I know. And no, they aren’t people I consider to be friends to the point that I would invite them over. But, they are people who are friends with my friends I would invite over and I know they are people who will talk.
And their is no chance of pleasing them.
I could remove every item out of the house, hire personal cleaners and still…it would be “disgusting”.
And part of me is okay with that because I have no intentions on letting such people into my house with the exception of one whom is moving here from the east coast. I worry about her talk because she is super superficial and even admits it. No plastic lawn chairs for her!
What does bother me is when I see other people’s houses. People I know who are not clean but every picture is one of a decent house. They aren’t organized by far but that is where the issue lies.
I’m OCD, that is why I get anxiety and that is why it takes forever to clean anything. It has to be done right and perfect no matter how long it takes and if it isn’t, I can’t work on it. I organized the book shelves and within 24 hours someone had pushed the books to the back of the shelf. I had an anxiety attack and was in tears. I haven’t returned to finishing the task since then. Who knows when I will.
And I know that my depression is part of it and I know that my weight is another part. I don’t want to be out doing things and when I do things it hurts, my back, my knee’s, my hips and pelvic. I’m out of breath, my muscles ache and I’m tired.
Another issue is my husband. I can’t even find the words to describe him. “Pick up my dishes, it’s your job.” A good example of what I live with when with him: I cleaned the living room one day but he had a project sitting out on the coffee table, end table and floor. This project had a utility knife in it. I had a daughter age 1 and a half. I asked him to pick it up. He told me it was my job. I went to pick it up. He started screaming and cursing. I tried to walk away. I was informed that the living room was not clean. I asked him what needed to be done. He informed me his project was not put away. I went to put it away, he went after me. I informed him that it was impossible to clean the mess if he wouldn’t let me. He informed me that the living room wasn’t clean and I refused to do my job.
Another example: I wanted to take the baby to the library. He told me to clean the house. I told him it was clean. He did an inspection. At the end of the inspection he came to the bedroom, took the clothing out of the drawers and dumped them on the floor. He then went to the kitchen and pulled out the trash and dumped it onto the clothes. He then kicked it all around the room. He finished by saying, “The house isn’t clean.”
That last incident happened 14 years ago but try to imagine the life that I lived with this man and then try to imagine what I go through now when he looks at me and tells me that the kids put their school bags in the living room, it is not clean. And when I tell them to get it up he tells me it’s my job. And when I move it, he screams. And when I tell them to get it, they tell me, “I don’t have to, Dad says that it’s your job.” And when I go to pick it up, he screams for me to put it back.
And I walk away and I’m told that I never clean, the house is filthy, “Why do I keep you around.”.
But, he’s not here anymore. Yet, I still deal with the children, “Dad says it’s your job. Do it.” And I’m trying to find ways to handle them and the mess they create. And I’m trying to not slump into that depression and anxiety I get when faced with something I need to have done Perfectly and yet by the standards of others, will never be perfect.
And I don’t want to be angry and frustrated. I don’t want to be scared. I don’t want to be embarrassed. I don’t want to worry. I just want to live in my home and live in it without being a slave to it. And when people come over, I want to be able to invite them in.
And never again do I want to be ashamed to the point that I’m willing to put a friend out.