Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I quite one of the most irritating conversations with my mother a few weeks ago, so irritating in fact, that I am still stewing over her words! We were chatting and I was telling her all about our weekend. We did whole bunch of things - saw family, played with friends, went to new playgrounds. I thought it sounded like a really great weekend. But, then my mom asked "when do you get your laundry and cleaning done?" I half-jokingly said "never", but then clarified and said, "at different times, sometimes Saturday morning, sometimes through the week, and sometimes it does not get done." So, then she says in her mom tone of voice that means I am saying something nice and normal but it is mean and hurtful: "It is great that you do not care if your stuff is done. That would really bother me, but it sounds like you do not mind if your house is not clean and your laundry is not done. That is great."

My feelings were hurt. Really hurt. Does she really think I do not give a hoot if my house is unclean? Really? Of course I want my house to be clean. I want my family to have clean clothes. I want, I want...But the reality is, I am a mom. I have to manage the kids, the household, chores, bills, etc, and I work a full work week, which requires me to commute 37 miles each way. I want a lot of things, but mostly I want the energy, time, and motivation do them all!

The truth is I feel guilty all the time. I feel guilty about my messy (and sometimes dirty) house, the lack of clean clothes, the lack of folded put away clean clothes, the numerous unfinished or even unstarted house projects, and the disorganization of so many storage areas. I also feel guilyy about only working my 40-44 hours a week. I am frequently the person in my group who works the least number of hours - I am more efficient than most of the team members, but quantitative data does not reflect my productivity in those 40 hours. I feel guilty every time I leave work early for a kid's doctor appointment or school show, and I feel guilty that I take more sick days because I have to stay home with my sick kids. I also feel guilty that my kids have to go to daycare. My toddler thrives there, and honestly, I would send her there even if I did stay home - provided we could afford to do so, but the baby I think would do better at home for a while. I feel guilty when I am home with my kids for one hour and get so fed up I want to send them back to school!

So, the guilt. It is always there. Sometimes it is crushing, sometimes all these guilt inducing things balance each other out and I feel fine. But I am okay with this. While I may feel guilty a lot, while I may never find a "balance" (aka, nirvana), I do feel content 90-95% of the time. As long as I maintain that 90-95%, I am okay!


  1. I have trouble doing the house chore things along with work and everything that takes up time but matters more than a dust-free shelf, and I don't have any kids! In fact, I just noted this morning that the pile of laundry in my closet has not only overflowed the basket it is a mountain threatening to erupt into the bathroom if not immediately addressed. And hey, 90-95% is an 'A' and you can't do much better than that!

  2. My favorite poem, by Ruth Hamilton:

    "Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth, Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
    Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
    Sew on a button and make up a bed.
    Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
    She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
    Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
    (Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
    Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
    (Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
    The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
    And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
    But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
    Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
    (Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

    The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
    For children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
    I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."