Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Working Mother Dilemma #4,193

I cannot imagine being a single parent full time. The emotional and physical demands are astounding even when I have “back-up”. Lucky as I am to have a partner in this child rearing job I’ve been blessed with, I am currently on my own with the kids till about midnight on Wednesday. That’s only three days, but it’s enough to crush me!

The main reason that this overwhelms me is because I am not built to be organized. I try. Believe me. I have been known to hang all of my clothes on hangers, put them in my closet and then color and item coordinate the clothes. I did this last summer and now most of my clothes sit on the chair next to my closet. Why? Because I can’t keep up with it. The minute I hang a black sleeveless shirt with the black long sleeved shirts – I know I’ve blown it and I just don’t want to do that. So I ignore it. And the pile on my chair is almost to the ceiling. Seriously.

Dishes and mail are other things that deteriorate the clean counters that Chris often leaves for me. Growing up, we put dirty “hand wash” dirty dishes next to the sink, not in the sink, and there were many rules for what was hand-washable. Wooden spoons, big pots and pans (they took up too much space in the dishwasher, it was considered wasteful), all plastic left-over dishes, etc. I have managed to break free of some of the constraints my mother placed on me, but it’s still very hard. So unless I wash dishes after every meal, and load the dishwasher, the piles become pretty large. With limited counter space, mail and school paperwork fill up any remaining empty spots. For the life of me, I can’t come up with a way to organize all the paperwork. We have tried baskets, standing file divider thingys, etc. No matter how hard I try, I end up piling. I am happy to report, though, that we are down to two main pile areas.

My kids are pretty patient with all the disorder in our home. They seem to enjoy life with or without clutter. My husband, on the other hand, can’t handle it at all! He feels that he is the only one who cleans and organizes. I beg to differ, but have to admit he’s much more likely to be cleaning dishes than relaxing reading a magazine. Whenever it becomes an “issue” (my polite way of saying “fight”) I bring up the “P” word – “priorities”. Cleaning and organizing are just not priorities for me. I can look past clutter easily whereas he cannot.

M, my wonder therapist, suggested that we hire a nanny part time to help with our morning routine and at other times when we need to clean or just have a date. Chris is all for it. I am not so sure. I spend so much time away from my kids as it is – how can I justify this? M and Chris say it will help our sanity. The kids get to stay in their own home and we get the support we need. We’re both professionals…we can’t do it all. I have a hard time with that, though. If there are thousands of single moms doing EVERYTHING, including working full time, how can I not handle half of EVERYTHING?

I’m pretty sure I was Catholic in another life because this whole nanny thing is making me feel very guilty. And I haven’t even done anything!

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