Thursday, December 18, 2008

On a rant!

Do you ever get tired of being a maid? I swear lately my family has it in their heads that I'm their maide. Yesterday my eyes were opened to the fact they've gotten used to me doing things for them so they don't have to bother. Making an after school snack becomes a chore because everything is left on the counter, I'm expected to go behind them and clean up the messes as they go. I usually don't get frustrated with this type of thing. Usually I simply say, 'the maid quit, cleam up your mess'. They clean up their mess. But why do even have to ask?! Why do I have say anything at all? You got it out, you put it away. It's simple. And if everyone cleaned up after themselves, life would be way simpler!

I wish I could say this is just the kids doing this but it's not. My husband, bless his heart, does it too. It's harder for me to be angry with him though, because when I quit working a full time job to stay home with the kids, I took the running of the house. He cooks, I clean. We've always worked well together. But as my life is exploding these days with deadlines, I'm starting to see that my job as a wife and stay-home mom has altered a little. I now need time to work, not just take care of everyone. It's been an uncomfortable realization for all of us really. In the backs of our minds we've known this day would come. We knew at some point I wouldn't be able to do the dishes, laundry, organizing all on my own. It's gotten to the point where the closets are a wreck, the sock basket is overflowing, and I'm pretty much just keeping the day to day stuff done.

Now, this isn't to say the kids don't help, because they do. They get an allowance each week to do certain chores. But lately we've all gotten lazy. Some of the chorse get done, others don't. Some days they don't get done at all. This is partly my fault for not enforcing the rules harder, but really I've found myself too busy to care if everything gets done.

So, last night my husband comes home from a party and tells me how clean and neat the house was that he'd been to. Even the garage was neat as a pin. I always wonder what type of person has a neat garage. I've never considered my house messy. I almost always keep things neat and tidy, but lately I just haven't had the time. So, what happens? It piles up.

My solution? After Christmas and before New Year's I plan to get everyone involved in the 'big clean up'. I figure if everyone has a few jobs, it'll all get done and I won't have to break my back doing it all. We all live here, why shouldn't we all help keep the place clean?

How do you handle situations like this. Both parents working, whether at home or not, kids busy with school work and sports. By the end of the day we're all just too tired to care. What's the answer? Trust me when I say, I'm all ears here! I'm at the end of my rope!


Dana Marie Bell said...

When I got diagnosed with arthritis in my back and knee this year, we had a little sit-down. I explained to them that Mommy couldn't do it all by herself anymore, and we decided that on Saturdays we would clean "as a family". So far it's worked nicely. Even the four-year-old pitches in!

Admittedly, we don't do the entire house in one day. We take it floor by floor, week by week. Are we neat as a pin? Heck no, I have kids. But I haven't heard one single complaint since we're pretty much cleaning right beside each other. So maybe something like that would work for you, too.

Good luck!

Dana Marie Bell said...

P.S.: Dusty (the DH) has been muttering something about a Roomba recently, too.

Kelley Nyrae said...

I go through this too. My husband is a great guy and very supportive but some times I do think he forgets that I DO have a job now besides the one of being a full time, stay at home mom. I work. I write. I have deadlines which means I HAVE to have time to write and get them done. It's my job. I think he forgets that some times. Its just me wanting to be on the computer or whatever. My hubby does work very hard. 6 days at week, some times 7. 6 AM - 6 PM usually, working outdoors in the cold in winter and the sun in summer so I get it but I do work too and I do all the laundry, cooking, dishes, bathrooms...everything. I'm not sure he'd be home enough to help me even if I asked. Maybe on Sundays. He does do some stuff on his days off. He'll clean the garage when need be or if I ask him to do something he will.

My kids are a little young. My four year old can clean up but I do have to ask. Think that's her age and my one year old...well she's one so she can't. LOL.

Wow, obviously I needed to let this out too. LOL.

Anne Rainey said...

Dana Marie--I really like the 'one day a week' thing. And, don't laugh, but what's a roomba?

Kelley--See, this is exactly how I feel. Guilty for asking, because Les does so much already, but at the same time I need the help. Thank goodness the kids are old enough to pitch in, I just tend to let them slide too often because I feel bad that they already have so much to do with school work.

Dianna F said...

I live with my mother and grandfather and it is not much better here. If I do not clean up after him then I get in trouble cause the house is dirty, yet when I am not here he does it for himself. This is on top of me working 4 to 5 days a week at my job. When I was not working it was one thing, but now it seems like I am expected to do it and work too. I get in trouble for not doing things the way my mother wants them done. I don't know what to do.

Dana Marie Bell said...

A Roomba is one of those little round robot vacuums. It doesn't clean as deeply as a regular vacuum, but you can turn it on, sit down, and it runs by itself. Gets most of the dirt, just not all, so you only have to break out the big vacuum once a month instead of every week.

Or so claims. =)

Regina Carlysle said...

Rant away, Anne! I'm in the same damn boat at my house. When my son left home years ago, I thought it would get better. I think I spoiled everyone over the years and they just thought 'Mom will do it". My husband says it's my OWN FAULT because I'm not tough enough and he doesn't feel "sorry for me". ARGH!!!! I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me, I want them to HELP. The other day my daughter was fixing peanut butter and jelly and she got everything out, looked at me and said....can you spread this Mom? I don't know HOW. ARGH AGAIN!!!!

I keep telling everyone that if they could just pick up their OWN STUFF I wouldn't be so overwhelmed with everything else.I'm at my wits end.

Nicole said...

I do feel all of your pain. I was diagnosed with arthritis in my hands 10 years ago, 7 years ago my surgeon took me out of work. So for 7 years I've been "in charge" of the house, and unless I'm standing right over someone to get something done, or complaining loudly, it doesn't get done. My kids help with laundry (somewhat) and my son does dishes (sort of) because I have a tendancy to drop things. My husband is great for helping me raise a voice to get the kids moving - but it will still take him a week to change a light bulb if I ask him to. But when things get really bad, and I'm really hurting, they all pitch in. Shame it takes me that much pain for them to get off the sofa!

My mom's house feels like a museum now that there aren't children living there. Everything is in it's place, not a speck of dust to be seen, and when we stop in, Gods forbid you leave a bottle of soda NOT on a coaster. I swear I can see mamma twitching (yes, I do it on purpose). My house however is "lived in" - a nice way of saying it's cluttered. Dirty, oh no. School papers lying here and there, books stacked against a wall because there's no more room on the book case, and there are always dishes in the sink (insomniac husband eats while everyone else is sleeping).

Shiela Stewart said...

Yeah, once in a while I have a melt down and let my family know I'm overwhelmed. I'm a stay at home mom but I do a lot of writing and promoting and helping othre authors promote themselves. Plsu, as you said, I have deadlines. My kids don't seem to get that I have a job even though I'm at home.

All of my kids are old enough to clean up on their own yet I always have to remind them to clean up after themselves. They're 13, 16 and 20.

My daughter makes hot chocolate and I swear she stands across the room and tosses the chocolate into her cup. There is always crystals on the floor, on the counter and she never wipes them up, Then when I tell her to do it, she rolls her eyes and groans like I'm the bad guy.

My husband is just as bad sometimes, leaving his stuff lying around and when I get upset with him, he gets mad at me. Like what the hell??

Okay Anne, now you got me ranting. LOL

Mia Varano said...

Anne, consider yourself lucky your husband cooks! I work outside the home as well as writing and trying to cook and clean. I'm ready to get a maid. I try to do the basics, and my husband does usually vacuum and takes care of all the dog stuff (but he has a gardner for the outdoor work). And why is it that gardners are so much cheaper than maids? Because the indoor stuff is obviously more work than the outdoor stuff!

Anne Rainey said...

Dianna--these things should be a shared responsibility. Have you talked to your mother about this?

Dana Marie--okay, I'm sold! LOL

Regina--I hate to complain about my own kids, but Alisha does crap like that. She is forever wanting me to get her snack or bring her a drink. I constantly tell her no, she can get it herself, but does that stop her from asking over and over? Kati isn't that way at all. She'd rather get things herself, she doesn't get why Alisha even asks me. I think I need to sit the family down and have a talk.

Anne Rainey said...

Nicole--that's my house, lived in, but clean. I don't like clutter so I try to keep up on it, but then my closets are downright scary looking. Who has time?? When he came home talking about that house and how perfect it was I wanted to scream. Ugh!

Shiela--OMG! Your daughter and the hot chocolate! That is sooooo Kati. I don't know how she makes such a mess making one drink, but it downright scares me to imagine her cooking an entire meal. I've had my share of meltdowns too, I call those my 'Psycho Mom Moments'. LOL

Mia--I can well imagine what you have to deal with. I'm starting to feel lucky that I do at least have some time to get things done!

Anny Cook said...

Sigh. It's very simple. JUST DON'T DO IT!

There are two people in my house now, but back when I had six + I set it up. Everyone had a job. I don't do anyone else's job unless they're sick--ever.

So my husband's job is to empty the dishwasher. If it's not empty, I can't reload it. When the sink is too full for him to get to it, he get's the message.

If he wants clean clothes, he washes them--just like the kids did they're laundry if they wanted clean clothes.

If he wants to eat, he cooks.

There is no such thing as "women's" work. It's time for women to stop feeling guilty because they can't do everything. Children do not have a god-given right to be waited on and neither do men. Why should any woman have to wait until she's incapacitated before she can ask for help? If people live in the house, then it's THEIR responsibility. As for age, children help more readily when they're older if they've always had responsibility. You'd be surprised what a two or three year old can accomplish--especially when they're "helping" mommy!

Anne Rainey said...

Anny--my kids have had chores since they were big enough to pick up after themselves. I started them early because I wanted it to seem fun to them, not like work. So when they were little it wasn't hard at all to get them to do their chores. Now that they're teenagers, it's way tougher, I admit. I'm not saying I do it all, I'm saying there are days where if I don't remind, remind, remind, then it doesn't get done. I personally hate to live in filth so a lot of times I just do it myself to get it done. Wrong, yeah, but I never claimed to be perfect.

And like I said, when my husband and I divided the chores, it was clear that I would do the cleaning because he does the cooking. We were cool with that arrangement, until my writing started to take off. Now we're clearly at a point where we need to sit down and figure out a new system.

Also, I've been thinking of having my girls do their own laundry now that they're old enough not ruin everything.

It's simply a matter of finding the time to come up with this new plan. Lately, I've just been too busy. As a result things have gotten out of thing leads to another and what happens? Mom finally snaps. lol Yep, it's time to nip this thing in the ass before I move out and leave them all to their filth! LOL

Writer and Cat said...

I don't handle it, Anne. I cook, I write, I take care of the girls, but I have a messy house. Hubby knows better than compare or complain or he'll get a week or two alone with the kids when I desert him on a mommy strike! He helps out a lot, but even so, we don't keep ahead of it. We usually vote in favor of together time instead of CLEANING time! Maybe some superparents can keep a clean house, maintain a career (writing or otherwise), have personal/family time, and still sleep, but we're not super. And anybody who judges us -- or you -- for that is a terd. Besides, whenever I clean, it gets wrecked before bedtime. Right now the state of the girls' rooms makes me want to cry (they are 2 & 7) but if I burn a couple hours cleaning them (hours I could be writing), by the very next day, they will be disgusting again. Well, not "disgusting" because they're not teenagers yet, but you know what I mean :).

Luckily hubby and I agree that favoring family time and good, healthy meals over a fancy, clean house is the right choice for us.

Gosh, I think we ALL needed to vent!! Thanks for this topic.

Jody W.

Shiela said...

Yep, Psycho mom moment is exactly what I have. LOL

It terrifies me to think of my daughter, Angela cooking too. I would have to go into the kitchen with a high powered water hose just to clean it. LOL

Anne Rainey said...

Jody--I swear if I could get my hands on the lady who owns the house he was at yesterday I'd strangle her. I'm soooo not a Stepford Wife here! I like to keep my house clean, but there are a lot of things that go unattended. The walls all need washed down, the bathrooms could use a good 'down on my knees' moping, the closets are frightening, the pantry needs reorganized, laundry is a never ending mountain, the list goes on...who has that sort of time?

Anny Cook said...

How important are those things to YOU, Anne? Not to you mother, the neighbor ladies, the supermom on the next block, but YOU? If those things aren't really, really important to you, why are you taking ownership of them? If they ARE important to you, then you must change your priorities or you'll never be happy.

Anne Rainey said...

Thanks, Anny! And yep, you're right! :)

Susan Macatee said...

Boy, I hear you Anne! I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom years ago, because my husband refused to help me with anything. Housework, child care. It was all left on my back, after working 8 hours a day in an office. Once I'd quit, I did everything myself out of guilt. After all, I was no longer bringing in a paycheck. But now, I'm struggling to be a full-time writer and I also run a home typing business. My boys are grown, so I don't have the child care issues anymore. I do try to keep the house reasonably clean, but otherwise, I don't really care. If my men want a super clean house, they'll just have to pitch in. But I really don't think they care, considering the condition on my son's rooms. LOL.

Writer and Cat said...

Anne, it occurred to me, the clean house might have been cleaned primarily FOR the party, so when you go to somebody's house for a function and it's clean, that DOESN'T COUNT. Even my house is cleaner if I know people are going to be in it :)

Anne Rainey said...

Susan--I love your attitude!! And my oldest daugther's room *shudders*. I'm afraid to go in there for fear of never finding my way back out. LOL

Jody--That's true. I do the same thing. Like for New Year's Eve we'll be having a party. Me and the girls will clean our butts off for it probably.

Beth Caudill said...

I agree...particularly since I spent 4 hours today vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms. How hard is it for little boys to aim into the toilet?

I gave my kids a week to clean up their rooms and help clean up the bonus room and living rooms. Still we were running around last night putting everything away. And of course my oldest got in trouble at school for not cleaning up a game. Arrrr. Where did I go wrong?

Genella deGrey said...

I like the one day a week idea.

Delegation is an art unto itself - but you'll have to stand over them during the process until it kicks in. "This is the new regime, people!" LOL

No, really. Promise them their favorite meal for dinner with one stipulation: They are to do as they are told (for however long it takes) and if they don't, no special dinner. In fact, no dinner at all.

June Cleaver didn't have a 9 to 5, and Carol Brady had Alice. It's time for life to imitate art.

Crack that whip, girls!

Evanne said...

Anny had a good point, how high is a clean house on one's priority list and just how clean is clean enough? I like things clean, but I have to simply avert my gaze or I'd never get anything written...;)

So, what significance a few dust bunnies in the overall scheme of things?

Dana Marie Bell said...

Their reward is Pajama Sunday (if we don't have to be at Nana's, which is a reward in and of itself to them). No one gets dressed; we all laze around, doing whatever we feel like (that doesn't destroy the house we just cleaned). Mommy makes raviolis for dinner. It's just a day to decompress, and it really helps the day before we head back to the hustle and bustle. And it really seems to work.

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Great post!

My house is a pit. We weren't good about making the kids do chores when they were little and now it's downright impossible. I work outside the home as well as write, and I've just decided a clean house isn't worth the headache. My MIL gave me a wooden statue one year that says "Housework makes you ugly." If that's true, I'm beautiful.

MaryF said...

I do the meltdown, too.

There used to be a website called Fly Lady and she talked about working in one room, 15 minutes a day. You'd be amazed what you can get done in 15 minutes. That's what I'm working on doing now. I teach 4th grade and I'm finishing a book....too busy to devote much time, but at least I feel like I'm making a dent.

Anne Rainey said...

Beth--It can really make you crazy, esp. when you spend hours on the house only to have them come in and wreck it withing minutes!

Genella--Great advice!! And I really really want my own Alice! LOL

Evanne--Yeah, like today I finished my WIP. I could have done laundry and mopped, but would that give me a sense of accomplishment, nope!

Anne Rainey said...

Rebecca--LOL! I love your MIL! What a great woman!

Mary--Now that's a unique idea. Hmm, I like that!

MaryF said...

I try to time my 15 minutes or whatever when my laptop battery is low.