Had myself a little breakdown last night after The Boy spilled his blue coconut slushy all over the freezer, down the front of the fridge, under the fridge, and all over the kitchen floor. Jebus, it was pathetic. I was crying hysterically, yelling at ALL my kids with my squeaky laryngitis voice, calling them animals and “screaming” that I was tired of being treated WORSE than a maid, and no one does shit to help me, etc.
It took me about 45 minutes of cleaning (and crying) to clean up that sticky mess, and the fridge door and the floor STILL have sticky spots. The children wisely stayed upstairs with their doors closed during this whole tirade. I can kind of chuckle now about how I screamed like a petulant 4-year-old throwing a tantrum: “That’s IT! We are NEVER getting slushies AGAIN! EVER!” and “I am so sick of this SHIT, no one cares about me and you and your FATHER treat me like a FUCKING MAID….”
After everything was less sticky and blue, I had to throw dinner on the table, 45 minutes late. If there was ever a time that I was LESS interested in making sure my kids were fed, I don’t know when it would be. I was so angry and upset I was willing to let them go without supper.
And go without me for a while, for that matter. For the first time since I was 13, I actually felt like running away from home. All this over a spilled slushy, you might ask? Drama queen, you might say. This was just a backlog of SHIT that finally broke the dam. I had been sick all the previous week, and with my best friend Theresa’s visit pending, I was frantically cleaning the house, trying to make it presentable, rather than have it look like a pack of wild, rabid hoarders lived here. It was during this cleaning that I realized how far gone the house really was, and I castigated myself for letting it get that bad.
But then I realized how it got that bad. I work 2 part time jobs, and still consider myself a SAHM. One of my jobs I do in the home, the other I do in my “free time”, which means on the weekends when spouse is home to watch the kids. I do housework when I can, which means maybe an hour here, 15 minutes there, and that is not including “regular” chores like dishes, laundry, walking the dog. I am talking about vacuuming, scrubbing toilets, cleaning windows, etc.
And, I do 98% of the housework BY MYSELF. No one helps. I can’t remember the last time someone other than ME vacuumed, mopped, scrubbed a bathtub or a toilet, or even folded clothes or made a dinner that didn’t come out of a box or from a fast food place. The dishwasher could be standing open, empty, waiting for dirty dishes, and EVERYONE will just pile their dirty dishes up in the sink, under the assumption that I will do it, I guess. That it is somehow MY responsibility. You’re maybe thinking “Crazy bitch should MAKE her family help!”, but I have begged, pleaded, bribed, asked, threatened and demanded help. I get whining and crying from the kids, and nothing from the spouse. Or one hour of frenzied “helping” from the spouse that involves busy work, like cleaning out the cabinets under the bathroom sink, while dishes sit in the sink and there is a 6 foot tall laundry monster taking over the hallway.
When Theresa, the other half of Valium, visited, I at least had the common areas picked up, but I showed her my shame too- the messy office and master bedroom. Of course I was mortified, and stammered apology after apology. Theresa (around whom I never feel like I have to apologize or be anyone but me) laughed and said, “Honey! Don’t apologize! You are a slob! Like ME!” My subconscious chewed on that for a bit, and then I had a realization. I am NOT a slob. I grew up in slobby conditions as a child, and I swore I would NEVER live that way again. And yet, here I am. How did I get here?
I will tell you. I am one person picking up and cleaning up after 4 people who don’t do anything to clean up after themselves, other than the bare minimum. The ONLY person. Do the math. It is impossible. IMPOSSIBLE. And yet, everyday I try. I try to balance work, the kids, the dog, the bills, the husband, and the housework, and I fail. Miserably.
The thing is, there are women out there who do all this too, and STILL manage to have a neat house. How do they DO that? Am I somehow deficient? Lazy? I think maybe the hour or so I spend a day on Facebook is probably time better spent cleaning. That maybe I go to the bathroom too many times a day, and I could spend that extra few minutes cleaning. That maybe I could clean the shower while I take a shower, mop the kitchen floor as I make dinner, or fold clothes while I am on the crapper. I mean, I have two hands, right? Maybe get up a couple of hours earlier (my son would probably hear me though, and get up with me, thereby defeating the purpose of getting up while everyone else is still sleeping), or use that couple of hours after the kids go to bed for housework. I will admit, the prospect of spending the few hours I have to myself on housecleaning depresses me. I mean, am I doomed to an existence of servitude to other people? When did I cease to be a person, and become “this”? I would say maid, but at least a maid is paid for her services. My family couldn’t AFFORD to pay me for all the shit I do.
There has to be more to being a wife and mother than this. There has to be more than resentment, anger, and sadness. Look, I KNOW my family loves me. And I love them and wouldn’t trade them for the world. But when did it become the wife/mom’s job to do EVERYTHING?