When Is Enough, Enough?

I walked in the door at 7:30 tonight after being out since 8:15 this morning.  My day consisted of working with kindergarteners for 7 hours, picking my daughter up from track practice, driving 40 minutes to her voice lesson and 40 minutes home, and a stop for Chinese food.  I blew off a meeting because I had to get home at a decent hour to help my husband, and I was tired.  Like almost every night, I was greeted by dishes in the sink, dirty floors, dusty pet hair covered surfaces, laundry piled on the couch, laundry in the bathroom, laundry in the laundry room.  Did I mention there was laundry?  The bathroom is a mess, even though I clean it at least once, if not twice, a week.  There is also the usual clutter of a lived-in household.

I blew off cooking dinner tonight because if I had to make a meal, we would have been eating at 9 p.m.  Did I mention I was tired?  So, take-out it was.  Again.  I was out of the house and on the go for almost 12 hours today and had no desire to cook.  As I sat and ate my Chinese food , I looked around and started criticizing myself for my obvious incompetence in running a household.  What kind of wife and mother lets her home look like this?  How dare I have this amount of laundry all over?  How dare I allow my floors to look like crap all the time?  It’s incredibly embarrassing every single time someone walks into our home.  I wonder what they must think of me.  I don’t like it when people come over.  They probably think I’m lazy.  There is no excuse to not keep up with it all. Even though I try to clean it every week, it never looks the way I like it, let alone the way guests would expect to see it.  It looks good for a day at most, and then it’s a mess again.  I don’t have time to make it look incredible, or even presentable most of the time.

I look forward to weekends, but then I spend them grocery shopping, cleaning what I can, driving kids around, and hopefully catching up on some of the sleep I inevitably missed during the week.  It’s a rare weekend that I get to do something just for the fun of it.  Sitting and reading a book can be a challenge.  I figure I don’t deserve it anyway, because I can’t even get my simple chores done.

I’ve also been trying to find a part time job to supplement my income during the school year, and be able to work in the summer when I don’t get paid from my regular job.  I can make it work.  I can work a couple of evenings, and maybe one weekend day, while holding my full time job.  I mean, it’ll take some of the stress off, right?  I can do this.  No excuses.

Meanwhile, my husband sat in his recliner.  No, he isn’t lazy.  Far from it.  He was hooked up to the dialysis machine that keeps him alive.  He does this 5 nights a week for several hours.  He can’t be alone when he is hooked up to the machine.  I have to be here with him, or another adult has to be with him, in case something happens or he needs something.  I figure that should give me the time to clean, do laundry, and cook, since I’m home anyway, right?  No excuses.  There is no excuse.  There is no reason that I shouldn’t be getting everything done every night.

These are the things I say to myself all the time.  Then tonight, as I sat here,  I heard that sound a record makes when the needle scratches it.  You know the sound, if you are old enough.  Now, I didn’t really hear that sound…it was in my head.  But I noticed the negative chatter in my head and stopped myself.  What is wrong with me?  I never stop, and yet it still isn’t good enough for me.  The house isn’t clean enough, I don’t cook enough, I don’t keep up with the laundry, I’m not giving enough time/money/attention/experiences to my kids, I’m not giving enough time/attention to my husband, I’m not making enough money, so I can’t provide enough.  I also tear myself apart because of what other people might think.  They’ll think I’m lazy, or dirty, or simply not good enough.  I make it seem like I can handle it all just fine, but I really can’t.  Why is that not okay?

Honestly, I don’t know how to fix it all.  I’m trying to accept that this is my life for now.  My house will be messy, the laundry won’t be completely done, we will eat take out more than we should, and if other people come over, they will have to tolerate the mess.  People will always judge what they haven’t lived.  I’m judging it, and I live it.  I’m just trying to get myself to the point where I can say “enough is enough,” and be okay with just doing the best I can for now.


2 thoughts on “When Is Enough, Enough?

  1. Breath……you are doing your very Best <3. I have learned over the few more years I have over you 😉 I survived those times I felt I wasn't doing enough" to "keep up". Give yourself those "passes" you need to read, relax and have fun. I have learned to "chill" as my kids have told me. I love to have a clean house, laundry caught up etc…but I know those I love will remember me for the time I spent with them not if my house was clean….and as Bob likes to say…if people judge you for "appearances of our home" they aren't people we'd most likely hang out with. So a few words of encouragement to hang in there….cherish the time you take Ari to voice lessons(important stuff), I know the frustration but if you need to feel better come on over….my house is always open and not in order…maybe today I will get more done but if my grand babies need me the "house will wait". LOVE YOU
    p.s.we need to share some wine soon,

  2. Renee – A long time ago, my Mother gave me some advice that I have never forgotten and live by to this day. My oldest was three and I had just given birth to twins. My husband did not expect anything to change in the regular routine. I was talking to my Mom, in California, and she asked how I was feeling. I told her that I was exhausted. There were dishes in the sink, dirty diapers were filling the bathroom and the laundry room, I hadn’t been able to clean the house in a month, my husband didn’t understand why the house was such a mess and, did I say, I was exhausted? She said, “Judy, the dishes will wait patiently in the sink until you get to them, the dust bunnies under the furniture will stay and play as long as I needed to let them, the laundry would get done when I could do it. The most important thing I could do right now was spend time with my children because they would grow up so fast and spend time with my husband because we needed to be strong for each other. Time is limited and you need to spend it doing things that will be important in five years or ten. If people come over, they will see whatever there is to see, but don’t let it bother you because you are doing the IMPORTANT things.”.Please read this every day, really think about it and ask yourself, “Will it matter in five years?” If the answer is “No.”, then LET IT GO, for your own peace of mind. You will be there for your children and your husband, and the house can take care of itself. I love you, now you start loving yourself and STOP expecting yourself to be SUPERMOM.

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