Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Striking a balance

Sometimes, I give myself permission to be slack.

My life is crazy, hectic, wonderfully full. In addition to working a full-time job (with an hour-long commute each way), I write from home, wrangling my Regency-era characters into finding their happily-ever-afters. And then there’s my family, my husband and my three-year-old daughter. Add to this the usual demands of the home…laundry, dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing toilets, etc. (I would add cooking to that list, but I’m blessed that my hubby takes care of that for me!)

Regardless of whether we work from home, or outside of the home, or both, we all have obligations—ones that can quickly become overwhelming depending on what’s going on in our lives. I usually find that as soon as I tackle the never-ending mountain of laundry, something crazy happens and I might let it pile up for a day or so…then I’m back where I started.

In the past, I’d really let that kind of stuff get me down. I’d start thinking about how I must be the worst wife and mother in the world because it had been too long since I’d dusted the baseboards in the house. Once the guilt started piling on, I’d morph into SuperMom mode.

As SuperMom, my mantra was that I was going to get everything done even if it killed me.

It never did kill me, but those moments of single-minded determination did hurt me in other ways.

In an effort to clean the hampers out or reorganize the pantry, I would stress myself out and deny myself the things that truly make me happy—spending time with my family, reading, relaxing, etc.

I don’t pretend to know what works for every mom, but I just wanted to share how I keep myself from going crazy. A little secret that’s not really so much a secret.

I stop beating myself up. I decide to watch Beauty and the Beast for the 50th time with my daughter instead of doing some menial chore that could wait an hour or two. I hide in my bedroom and read a book. Instead of stressing out when my husband and daughter make a wreck of the kitchen while they try to bake muffins, I laugh. And I’m reminded how rejuvenating it is to relax.

Because somewhere, in the quest to be a domestic diva, I forgot the importance of my home being a haven and a place of rest…and not just another set of items on my to-do list.


  1. What? You're supposed to dust a baseboard?! My hubby jokes that I only dust when we move. That equates to 6 times in 10 years. :)

    I tend to let the chores go until the mess drives me crazy or I have visitors--whichever come first.

    Though I will admit I've been jealous lately of the spic and span houses of some of my church's members when they've invited us over for dinner--I just keep saying over and over in my head (while staring at every freshly vacuumed square inch of their carpet) it's because they don't have little ones.

    And if the housework doesn't get easier when they reach the teen years, don't burst my happy bubble!

  2. Oh, I completely sympathize with both of you! I tell myself the house will get cleaner as the kids grow up. And you know what? My mom always complained about how I couldn't pick anything up when I was young, it was always so hard for her to clean, etc. Now I look at her house and it's NEVER messy. So, yeah, I think some of it is a stage-of-life thing.

    And being Super Mom can hurt me too.

    Got to run, fussing kid. :-)

  3. I guarantee, those baseboards could care less about getting dusted! Melissa. But I did have to learn that those who visit had come to see me and family, not the house.
    And, Naomi, you're right, it really is a stage-of-life thing. One day you'll look back, like I can now, and see the total unimportance of anything other than the Lord, family, and love. My houses (four of them as we moved once from state to state and then three times to larger --read more sq. ft. to clean!--) homes actually survived all the growing up years of my children. Imagine that!
    So just do your best and relax and toss the ball with your little guy or like Mandy, watch B&B 50 more times with your precious daughter. Those little ones who are here today are so quickly on thier own tomorrow. And be good to your sweet selves and trust in the Lord always.

  4. If you come to see me, come any time, if you come to see my house, make an appointment! ;)
    My grandmother had this little trivet in her kitchen while I was growing up that stated: "come in sit, relax, converse; our house doesn't always look like this, some times it's even worse." I had to have that memento of hers and now it hangs in my kitchen. It is more often true than not unfortunately.