When Did We Fire the Maid?

This summer has been full to say the very least.  Full of car trips down to Detroit.  Full of visits with family and friends.  Full of days at the pool.  Full of mini vacations to all kinds of wonderful places in and around the Great Lakes.  Full of walks to the farmers market and local festivals.  Full of barbeques and soccer games and birthday parties.  In short, this summer has been one big weekend for me and Cedella.  And hence, the Maid has been on a bit of a vacation.

When Michael and I decided that we would move to Lansing and I would stay at home with the baby I knew it would be hard work, but I welcomed it, I looked forward to it.  I had visions of leisurely mornings sipping coffee after my morning yoga and meditation session.  Afternoons laying the baby down for a nap and reorganizing the linen closet and labeling everything with a P-Touch machine.  Evenings, waiting for Michael to get home from work and presenting him with a gorgeously plated gourmet meal straight outta Top Chef.  A cookie jar always full of freshly baked cookies.  Floors and countertops that you could eat off of.

And what happened?  Well…let’s just say that taking a shower and making it to the grocery store became the top priorities.  That, and making sure I spent as much time as humanely possible playing, laughing and taking care of every one of my little girl’s needs.

I wish I could just accept myself for the uninspired housekeeper I am, but I don’t want to.  I want a clean house.  I want the floors to be free of dog hair.  I want fresh and flavorful meals on the table every night. I want the clothes put away in the closets and drawers.  I want the beds made every morning.  I want to love to do housework and do it well.  I want the cookie jar full of cookies dammit!!

But let’s be honest.  What I want is to know that I’m doing something.  I want to feel that I am contributing more to our household.  It was incredibly hard for me to stop working at the library, to not get up every morning and have to get ready for work.  To not get a paycheck anymore.  To feel like I’m not financially holding up my end of the bargain.  I feel like I owe it to my husband, to my child, to make sure our home is in the most amazing condition it can be in.  But for the life of me, I can’t seem to get into it one little bit.  I play my favorite music, make it a game, see how fast I can complete a task.  It doesn’t matter.  There are plenty of ways to distract myself.  Plenty of ways to rationalize doing it later.  Plenty of ways to begrudgingly get through cleaning the kitchen without making it sparkle and shine the way Martha would.  It’s clean enough, but not Martha clean.

Over the winter it was much easier to look around and find little things to do all day long to keep myself occupied (you know, when Cedella was young enough to sleep every couple of hours).  It was easier then to wear my “Do Everything” martyr hat with gusto.  But despite feeling like I owe it to my family, I gotta say, I’m getting a little sick of it.  The novelty of the Stay at Home Mom Who Does Everything has completely worn off.  What happened to the partnership we talked about all those long months of pregnancy?  We talked about one of us cooking while the other cleaned up.  We talked about dividing the duties equally.  We talked about Was it one too many episodes of Mad Men that made me think that my pregnant ass was named Betty Draper?  That I was destined doomed to be a silly frivolous housewife with vacuums and bundt pans on the brain?  Sure, Michael helps out.  Occasionally.  But between Head of Child Rearing, Master of the Front Loader, Dishwasher Commander, Lead Food Procurer, Top Chef and Accounts Payable Manager, I am wearing many many hats at the moment.  More than any one person in a partnership should wear.  It’s exhausting and honestly, not very fun at all.

And so this summer, I’ve decided just to let things go.  I sweep the floor every day, cause Kira is the Incredible Shedding Dog.  I do the dishes every day.  I wash the diapers every other day.  And the rest, well it gets done when it gets done.  There’s too many fun things to do and too few sunny days to enjoy to slave away like Florence in the Jefferson’s place.  Isn’t that enough?  My child is happy and healthy, we all have clean sheets and underwear and food on the table.  And yes, quite often there are fresh baked cookies in the kitchen, baked with a hint of love and a sprinkling of devotion, but without all that nasty perfectionism that Martha reeks of.

My two little Dirt Bunnies

Happiness is a messy baby…who might eat crayons cause Mama forgot to pick up dinner