Eating Elephants and Other Unappetizing Things

One of the hardest things about being a Stay At Home Mom, for me, anyway, is that I seem to do a lot but get nowhere fast. I don’t mean that I procrastinate a lot and pass that off as working. (Although, there is that, too.) It’s just that, no matter what I do, it seems as if I have made zero progress. Or if I do make any progress, it is quickly eclipsed and things either go back to the way they were, or worse. (Also, I am sure working moms and parents can equally relate – it’s just that I feel they have a better excuse for the house being a mess or laundry not being done. After all – they’re out working. I’m at home most of the day so shouldn’t I be able to get more done?)

Even though this summer was a lot of fun with our Taiwan Trip, Disneyland, and my Atlanta trip, it threw me off my schedule (okokok, it’s not like I was amazing with keeping this schedule anyway, but it was still passable) and as a result, my house was a disaster. All the detritus from daily living, school, art projects, junk mail, medical bills, etc. would make the flow from outside to our kitchen table to a bag/box swept into the laundry room or hall closet and forgotten about.

Then there was actually cleaning the house so that the bathrooms didn’t resemble a science experiment, the floors and carpets weren’t gravelly from food and crumbs, and the kitchen was not a biohazard waste site. On top of that, apparently my children have to eat and excrete multiple times a day, bathe, and wear reasonably clean clothes. (And what the heck, man? Not only are there diapers to wash, a family of five can generate loads of laundry in a matter of minutes. And then, the laundry does naughty things and spawns babies. Totally irresponsible.)

Then, there are the things that I would like to accomplish outside of maintaining a home. You know, blog, read, be someone other than a professional caretaker to three tyrannical children. Oh, and perhaps Hapa Papa would like some time to be a human, too. (Oh, who are we kidding? We all know the poor man never gets any time to himself unless he’s “on vacation.” Which he is. Right now. Until late tomorrow night. Lucky bastard.)

Yes, yes. There are things I can do to make my life easier. For instance, I could hire help with either the house cleaning or my children. Unfortunately, I used to have a house cleaner and I realized that I hated it. I turned hyper critical and would find fault in everything. Not to the cleaners’ faces. But after they left, I would be annoyed and the smell of all their cleaning products would permeate the house. Even if I gave them organic cleaning materials, I was never sure they used it correctly or at all. Plus, just trying to work everything into my schedules with the kids’ school and classes – AGH. Perhaps it was that particular cleaner, but needless to say, I was much happier when we stopped. Now if something is not to my satisfaction, I only have myself to blame. Plus, it saves me money.

As for hiring someone to watch my children, that seems ridiculous since I’m the one staying at home. After all, that was the whole point of me no longer working. (And truthfully, I don’t want to work anyway so we can save that particular joy for Hapa Papa.) And yes, I know this is totally a first world problem but again, it is still my problem.

Anyhow, my whole point with this rambling post is that at the end of the day, even though I have cooked, cleaned, and kept three small humans alive, it feels as if I’m just treading water. Barely keeping my place and most likely, losing ground.

Last week, I spent at least three or four hours finally digging out my kitchen table from under three feet of stuff. Then I spent a few more hours clearing out my hall closet and laundry room. It has been less than a week. My kitchen table is already half buried again. My laundry room and hall closet are still holding steady, but I don’t expect it to last. Why? I have guests coming over tomorrow and a birthday party at my house Saturday. Everything that is currently on my table will make a quick escape to the laundry room. I would be more bummed, but why get sad over the inevitable?

It is times like these that I am particularly comforted by the book, The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and “Women’s Work” by Kathleen Norris. I have mentioned this book many times in the past, but it bears repeating.

I am reminded that the daily drudgery of cooking, cleaning, and caring for people is a holy endeavor. That I am not merely Sisyphus, continually rolling a boulder up a mountain only to have it tumble back down before it reaches the peak. That I am actually performing acts of prayer, worship, and transformative love. That what seems dreary and horrible is life-giving and beautiful.

I’m having trouble ending posts lately. We’ll just leave it at that. Be blessed, friends.

Counting Down

This morning I woke up and thought it was Saturday. I started to freak out until I realized that it was Friday. Whew. I have three days until my trip to Taiwan and despite my friends constantly asking, I have yet to start packing. Mostly because what is the point of packing things we use every day? That would just serve to piss me off and confuse me if I had to constantly repack stuff I already packed.

Also, I am crazy and feel the need to have all the laundry done and house cleaned before I leave. (I always have this problem before trips.) There is nothing I hate more than returning to a house full of dirty laundry and bathrooms. I think it’s because I’ll be bringing enough dirty stuff back as it is.

Hapa Papa has generously told me that he would clean the house after we leave so I don’t have to stress about it. I love this man. However, the thought of him cleaning my bathroom makes me ill. Why? Because I don’t trust him to clean it right. sigh I am an ass. I will let him vacuum and do the laundry though. 😀

What about you? Any crazy pre-trip rituals or quirks?

 

New Home

I’ve finally gotten off my duff and moved all my blogs to my very own site. What does that mean for you? Well, if you primarily read my blog from my Facebook updates, you don’t have to do anything! YAY! If you happen to use an RSS Reader such as Feedly, then please take the time to re-subscribe at my new Mandarin Mama site. If you primarily read through WordPress, you should still be able to subscribe through WordPress at the new site.

The site shouldn’t look too different since I would rather get something up than make a ton of fancy changes only to never make the transition. I know I often fall victim to perfectionism and as a result, procrastinate until some arbitrary “perfect” state which, of course, never arrives in a timely manner (if ever).

Now that I am older and hopefully wiser, I am more okay with the idea that “good enough” is perfectly good enough. I don’t have to have everything perfect and final right out the gate. In true fact, the creative process is rarely like that. (I know. I’ve written about this before.) Of course, since I love detailed and well working systems, this chafes at my inner anal retentive crazy person. But as my old boss used to say, “A mediocre plan executed perfectly is better than a perfect plan executed mediocrely.” Or something like that.

Besides, the beauty of life is that it is always a work in progress. This site (like life), can have one iteration now and a different iteration later. There is nothing wrong with that. I know. So boring when I’m blabbing on and on about the site (“But it’s a metaphor,” she said pretentiously) when who cares as long as it’s working?

Very well. Moving on! (Pun intended. I’m here all week, folks.)

Speaking of new homes, we’ve been at our current house for about 4.5 years and it STILL has mostly bare walls (except for the wall I’ve designated for all of Cookie Monster and Gamera). I am TERRIBLE at interior decorating and my house is so boring and over-run with toys and functional furniture. There are no interesting eye-catching pieces and we will never be featured in a magazine.

Part of me thinks that when the kids are older, we’ll hire someone and re-decorate and be all fancy and modern. (I do enjoy the modern look.) However, I doubt that will happen because even though I like the LOOK of modern furniture and pretty, sleek designs, it doesn’t seem very ME, if that makes sense. I think I am much more of a comfy, slouchy sofa and well-loved furniture type. Also, I HATE knickknacks and clutter. (I do well enough cluttering up my house, thanks!) But perhaps, someone can spruce “me” up a bit. This will be at least a decade off, so I suppose there is no sense in worrying about it now.

Anyhow, hope you like the new place! 😉