Jan 12, 2017

Being Sick Equals Messy House

Have you ever noticed that when a mom gets sick the whole house falls apart? I really caught it the day before yesterday when I came home from work with serious stomach pains. I thought I had eaten something that maybe didn’t agree with me, or that I had gotten food poisoning, but after a few hours and I started running a fever I realized that I was down with the flu.

Isn’t it amazing how our whole houses fall apart when us moms get sick?

All day long yesterday I laid in bed and worked on my laptop while fighting the urge to go puke my guts out. I wanted to get up and clean the house, make something to eat for my family, and have a cup of coffee, but no amount of wanting was getting me out of bed.

Funny thing is this — when everyone else in the house is sick, I am right there, rubbing backs, foreheads, and giving all kinds of snuggles.

I cook meals and wait on the sick hand and foot.

But let mom get sick — it is like the worst virus in the world has hit the household.

~No one knows what to do
~No one knows how to clean anything

~God forbid that mom get any loving — she has a fatal disease and if you touch her, you will get it too.

Thankfully I have a well behaved daughter who can take care of herself.

 But let's face it, It's an unwritten rule that moms are not allowed to get sick. In fact, they never get sick.  Now, we all know this is a fallacy, and we've searched high and low for this chapter in the Rules of Motherhood handbook. It's obviously hidden, but very much applicable. Getting sick just doesn't happen.

God forbid you do get "sick"... as you're the only one who knows where the thermometer might actually be. Does it really matter though? If you're wearing four pairs of socks, a sweatshirt and a robe and you're still sweating, you're sick.

Beyond the thermometer, on the sick days the math homework will disappear along with a shoe needed for school and a lunch box and socks that once had matches will continue to vanish at an exponential rate until your health returns. 

The non-functioning stay in bed all day and eat homemade chicken soup option doesn’t apply no matter how hard you pray for this. Unless you have adequate backup. Also do not expect your child to go to bed with the pleas of Mom’s really not feeling well tonight — please go to bed now. Moms simply don’t have the ability to hibernate. I searched for that chapter too.

In continuation of yesterdays post, for the love of god, just let the house go. Now, I know this is the antithesis of what we normally like to do as moms but the same rules as when you have a newborn apply. Let the house go. Cereal for dinner is an excellent, and according to the nutritional label on these boxes of grainy goodness, a semi healthy option. But even if it’s just a couple of clementines and some chocolate chips they will survive the one night of you deciding to heal.

 So here I am, signing off... I am going to try to sleep, but this seems futile as every time I nod off, I get a buzzing message from my boss asking me the same question from months ago, which could so easily be found in his email inbox. GRRRR

Alas, I will nonetheless try.

Peace out,

Jan 11, 2017

Domestic Labor Gender Gaps and How to Deal

I've most recently thought about this issue because it has become somewhat of a contentious topic in my household. I predominantly take the stance that however mundane the work, it could, within reason, be done primarily by one person. Taking into consideration the work schedules of each partner, mental stresses of the week and overall stress of the household. Now, I am not a subservient girlfriend, taking orders from a dictator of a boyfriend. I do though, find a sense of purpose by serving others and taking care of them. Maybe this is a trait that isn't often found in many others, but rarely do I ever complain about having to clean up after, or take care of someone else. I find joy in it, believe it or not.

In my home, there are daily and weekly chores. On the daily, it breaks down pretty evenly on tidying up when necessary. We’d each claim more responsibility for grocery shopping (he’d be lying). Weekly laundry, vacuuming and bathroom cleaning are more often than not done by me. In fairness, I’m the one who can’t relax until the dishes get clean, the bed made, and the endless dirt that's tracked in is vacuumed up. I do the cleaning. I do because the dirt bothers ME; on some level, it’s selfish.

At the same time, I know that while my partner wants to live in a clean house, he doesn’t actually want to do the cleaning. I cannot bear to ask him to do chores because, in my experience, a) it sounds like nagging b) it still won’t get done until he is good and ready, which inevitably is long past the time when I am good and ready to see the job completed and c) refer back to "a."  It sounds like nagging because it IS nagging.

I hate nagging. What's even worse? Being nagged at for the very reasons you'd want to complain.

About this issue of nagging: I kind of made peace with the concept when I realized that if someone had to remind me to do every task and chore I do routinely and without being asked or reminded -- hell yeah, it would sound like nagging. I’m thinking along the lines of, “Gloria, can you please empty the garbage bag when it’s full/toss the empty cereal box/pick up soy milk/put laundry in the basket/wipe the toothpaste out of the sink/take your dishes to the sink/get your hair out of the drain?” Who the hell wants to listen to that? It sounds parental, and, god forbid, mothering. MILFs aside, it’s not hot.

And dammit, I do have certain standards: socks and pants strewn about the floor, a dirty toilet, mold in the shower and a moldering sink full of dirty dishes is pretty darn intolerable to me. When I met my partner, I saw how he lived with his roommates. There should have been no illusions on my part as to the sort of domestic work that might be expected of him.

I must say emphatically: I’m no clean freak.

Of all the amazing skills my boyfriend has, fastidious cleaning is not among them. I have come to understand that we have different notions of what makes a home clean. In my partner’s case, I know that dirty dishes and piles of clothing just don’t bother him the way they do me.  We’ve had this discussion many times -- when a person must decide between pushing a broom or reading a book on the sofa, the sofa will always win. But isn’t making boring tedious choices that involve pointless work one of life’s unpleasant realities? We can’t always succumb to the sofa.

This mother/lover housework bullshit can be a source of simmering resentment, which, I’ve learned can have unintended consequences in the bedroom. Is the solution to throw money at the problem and just pay someone to take care of our mess? 

If we both desire domestic harmony including a degree of hygiene, there are compromises to be made. And we are working on them. I know this stuff isn’t even specific to gender; in friends’ relationships there are women who slack off and men who do the bulk of the tedious stuff. I hate to think that something as mundane as housecleaning could sow the seeds of discontent in my happy relationship. Who knew that the metaphoric work of relationships could morph so stupidly into literal work of housecleaning? I would love to hear how other people (women) work this shit out.

I'm going to lose my mind.

and in hindsight, this post should have been titled:

"Seeking Local Housekeeper, Will Pay Handsomely"

Peace out, 

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