Over the last year I’ve been taking a lot of stock in who I am and what I do. I’ve been making some decisions about what works for me and what doesn’t and what’s important and what isn’t….Well, maybe it started a bit before this last year….
When I was a brand new newly wed, I mean like first couple of months into my marriage, I had coffee with Jen and another friend…do you remember this Jen? (and by had coffee I mean I had tea while they had coffee…I am not a coffee person.). They are a bit older than me, and I started gushing about all of the things I had done to keep the household going. I was feeling like a good wife. I’d paid the bills, cleaned the house, made meals, done some grocery shopping, etc. I don’t really remember what I had done that I was so proud of…but you get the gist.
The other friend stopped me right there. She said “be careful of the things that you take on as a young wife. You may regret them as an older wife as your plate becomes more full of responsibilities, as the children come…” That stuck with me, and I was thinking about it a lot when I went to work part time when Ava was a toddler. When that time came, we renegotiated housework. I stressed about how it was all going to get done and Tommy suggested we come up with a plan. It took the specter of the loss of time to make me realize that he was right and we needed a cleaning schedule (I tend to balk at routine). We came up with a plan that worked pretty well for both of us. It kept the house pretty good most of the time (we’ve never been the spic and span eat off the floor types). It was like growing pains.
And so on we went like that for a couple of years. Tommy and I are really good about being on the same page financially, and so we do all of the financial decision making together (although, I have typically been the one to balance the checkbook and write out the bills…but certainly not always).
However, up until last year, I took care of all of the other paperwork type of stuff. You know the glamorous stuff, like getting the tags renewed on the vehicles; or setting up doctor’s appointments; or waiting on hold to contest the cell phone bill. That was my thing. Well, back in 2013 when I was pregnant, working part time, taking the girls to and from school, and trying to keep up with all of that, we renegotiated. It may or may not have been pretty all the time, that renegotiation…and sometimes I was pissed about how things did or didn’t get done.
And then we got two babies for the price of one. I was so thankful that I had put all of our bills on auto pay before giving birth. I used to pay them all by hand (I didn’t trust that the correct amount would be taken out). Now I’m just thankful that I know that I won’t forget to pay something. And Tommy now makes a lot of appointments for us…or I schedule them in office while I’m there. It’s really hard for me to call in to places now. Invariably I will have a baby screaming in the receptionist’s ear.
Back in October we finally caved to the fact that we couldn’t keep up on housework. This here parenting gig is so intense that the few hours a week that we have free from responsibilities, we don’t want to spend cleaning. So we first started paying our daughters for small jobs that they could complete around the house. Finally, we decided to hire an individual to come and help us. We have a non-typical arrangement. She does different things each week when she comes, and I usually need help picking up toys, dirty clothes, and washing dishes. So I still have cobwebs in my corners and my ceiling fans aren’t dusted, but what I needed was just a little break from constant responsibility.
Before we hired the help, I was scared about the winter. It’s one thing to have a filthy house when you can go outside for a little while in the evening when your husband gets home from work. It’s quite another thing to stay in there the entire winter. I’m so glad we did it. I feel so much better inside the house now, and I’m worth it.
I mentioned putting away most everything at baby level in the fall, and that was wonderful. Decluttering has been a journey for me, and I really need to do more of it, but I’m just trying to spend time on things I enjoy rather than stuff I don’t…So I’m fine with where we are. The children are small for such a short time, and I would rather spend my time playing with them, caring for them, and on my own interests in down time.
Meals. This was a biggie. I’ve become less picky. I still care a lot about nutrition, but we just plan out simple, simple, simple meals. Tommy cooks many nights a week, or we tag team, or I throw something in the crock pot (and usually freeze extra…so that it makes two meals). On my last post, Suzy commented about letting go of guilt. She has made huge strides in this arena, and despite the heavier tone of my last couple of posts, so have I. This is my journey. This is what I’m doing…no more guilt. I don’t even know what I was hanging onto really. It’s funny how when you let go of something that takes up a lot of mental space, it creates room for other things. And you forget much of what that ugly it was and why it was there.
A friend asked me last week when the happiest period of my life has been. My answer is right now. Yep, definitely right now.
Wishing all of you the same kind of clean out.