I was recently talking to a Mom that feels she can't keep up with it all... Unlike mysef, she doesn't work out side of the home but, like me, has two kids. The conversation made me think of my own home and family... do we "keep up?"
All week long we're going. I work full time as a preschool teacher and center director; out the door at 6:15 am, not returning until 5:30 pm. I love my job, but sadly it keeps me from my kids, hubby, and house. Because we are such early risers (I'm out of bed by 5:00 am and my kids by 5:30.) there is a strictly enforced bed time of 7:00 and 7:30. I essentially have an hour and a half - two hours to complete: dinner, baths(although the Small Boy showers in the am), homework(just the Small Boy), reading(20 minutes a night), and "quality time" with my kids. And let's not forget the housework that must be done before I'm too tired: dishes, laundry, general cleaning... Oh and some quality time with my Hubby and some much deserved "me time." Um yea... I manage to prepare a decent meal(no tv dinners here!!! ick!!! We do enjoy ordering out, once in a blue moon.) every night, usually cleaning up the previous night's dishes(I love my dishwasher!) as I go. All the while the Small Boy is sitting at the table either finishing up the homework that didn't get done at daycare(my children attend a local daycare, I work out of town) or reading. I can usually get Hubby to bathe the Little Bird while I'm in the kitchen, but not without her protesting that I do it... sometimes he wins, sometimes she does. And then there are those times that she *gasp* doesn't get a bath and goes to bed having just been quickly wiped down with a wet cloth. We quickly eat, not leaving much time for small talk in between bites, so we can finish bathing and homework after if necessary. The dishes are then piled into the sink and left there *gasp again!* until the next day. Insert "quality time for all" here; sometimes with a book, sometimes with a family movie, occasionally with a walk, maybe we'll run errands... there are nights when we're all so spent from the day that we need a bit of alone time and go to our seperate corners of the house. I'll collapse into my chair and knit or catch up on my various web sites, Hubby'll take over the TV, the Small Boy will retreat to his playroom where his Legos are waiting for him, and the Little Bird will meander about the house with a baby doll tucked under her arm and a blanket in tow. So much for quality time. Our bedtime routine is a very simple one; hugs and kisses, up the stairs, and plopped into bed without much ceremony. A hush falls over the house... Now I'm sure this is where you all think I begin talking care of my home. Well, not exactly. After working a nine hour day(7:00 am - 4:00 pm on my feet chasing a classroom full of "my other kids") and then coming home to the whirlwind of "quality family time" I'm pooped. Sometimes Hubby or I will toss in a load or two of laundry, maybe start the dishwasher, but usually we just sit. Watch a bit of TV? Or a Movie? Zone out in front of George(my computer)? Lull myself with the rhythmic clicking of my knitting needles? Take your pick.
Does this make me a bad housekeeper? A lazy mom? A terrible wife? Do I care? Nope... I'll sacrifice the clean house and perfect appearance for a bit of sanity, thank you.
Now I'm not a complete bum... I do bake for my family(muffins for an on-the-run breakfast every morning, the occasional dessert treat, and we always have homemade cake on birthdays! Always!). My children both have lots of hand made goodness... sweaters, socks, quilts, clothes. I do a lot of crafting to keep myself sane(see my crafting blog Crafty Nerd), but most of it goes to them. And on weekends we clean when we're home(sports, out of town family visits, fun local events; I'm a homebody but I want my kids to get out and see at least a bit of the world and not be couch potatoes).
So to all you mom's that "have it all together" - good for you! I'm not much on appearances myself. I don't have it all together and I'm OK with that. I have a messy house, happy kids, fun adventures, and a good life... most of the time. Besides, no one really ever "has it all." If they claim to... they're lying.