Category Archives: marriage

I am not a housekeeper

In the spirit of making do with less, one of the things that has fallen by the wayside is hiring a professional to come in and clean the apartment. It’s a really nice perk, but one we seem to be surviving without. Of course it does mean that we have to find the time to actually do the cleaning and we don’t get to experience that miraculous feeling of walking in the door and finding the floors sparkly, the porcelain gleaming and everything smelling faintly of ammonia. So, in my quest for balance, where does cleaning the apartment fit in with keeping up with a toddler, vigilant nursing of a newborn and trying to maintain a business and home. Answer, it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the day, most everything has found it’s way back to where it belongs, my amazing amazing amazing husband manages to clean the kitchen every night, the laundry gets done once a week – and maybe the sheets get changed, the trash goes out every day, but there’s always something left undone. I have never been much of one for housekeeping, clutter makes me crazy, piles make me nuts, so while I can straighten things to death, don’t ask me to do the dishes and I’m a whiz at ignoring a dirty toilet.

A few years back we heard about the idea that if you and your partner each clean for 10 minutes a day, you will always have a neat house. This idea does not work. Okay, in theory, if you’re doing a massive cleaning once a week, then sure, 10 minutes a day of picking up around the house might work, but there’s that once a week deep cleaning. And so far, I haven’t figured out how to do this 1x a week clean with two kids in the house. As far as I can tell, diligent cleaning is almost impossible with a toddler. So I’m excited to try this new method I read about from the Work at Home Woman – the 22 minute house cleaning. LOVE IT.

Okay, I’m not saying that cleaning is awesome, but it needs to be done, living in this city, the dust alone that builds up on the furniture could kill you, and  I can find 22 minutes a day to do these things (especially if Jeremy continues his commitment to the kitchen) and then if we put into the schedule, once a month, drop the kids at grandma’s and scrub the place down. We can do this. I think.

One final thought about housecleaning and then I swear I’ll post something fitness related – the other day Harry and I were listening to Free to Be, You and Me. When I was a kid, my mother mainlined this album for me. I remember my record had a chip on the edge and as long as we didn’t listen to the first couple of tracks, it worked fine. But, we were sitting in his room and it came on the pod (sidenote…when I was pg with Harry, I bought a Fisher Price record player because I don’t want him to think that music only comes out of a sleek white deck of cards looking thing, now to find some records) and there was Carol Channing talking about housework. I stopped building my Lego tower and flashed back to 8 years old. I guess all that listening I did as a kid actually sank in, because I realized there are so many lessons from this album that I hold true to my heart. It’s Okay to Cry, William Wants a Doll, Parents are People…but this Housekeeping one, boy howdy. It’s worth copying.

You know, there are times when we happen to be
Just sitting there, quietly watching TV,
When the program we’re watching will stop for a while
And suddenly someone appears with a smile,
And starts to show us how terribly urgent
It is to buy some brand of detergent,
Or soap or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach,
To help with the housework.

Now, most of the time it’s a lady we see,
Who’s doing the housework on TV.
She’s cheerfully scouring a skillet or two,
Or she’s polishing pots till they gleam like new,
Or she’s scrubbing the tub or she’s mopping the floors,
Or she’s wiping the stains from the walls and the doors,
Or she’s washing the windows, the dishes, the clothes,
Or waxing the furniture till it just glows,
Or cleaning the fridge or the stove or the sink,
With a light-hearted smile, and a friendly wink,
And she’s doing her best to make us think
That her soap, or detergent or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach,
Is the best kind of soap, or detergent or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach,
That there is in the whole wide world.
And, maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t,
And maybe it does what they say it will do,
But I’ll tell you one thing I know is true.
The lady we see when we’re watching TV,
The lady who smiles as she scours or scrubs or rubs or washes or wipes or mops or dusts or cleans,
Or whatever she does on our TV screens,
That lady is smiling because she’s an actress,
And she’s earning money for learning those speeches
That mention those wonderful soaps and detergents and cleansers and cleaners and powders and pastes and waxes and bleaches.

So, the very next time you happen to be
Just sitting there quietly watching TV,
And you see some nice lady who smiles
As she scours or scrubs or rubs or washes or wipes or mops or dusts or cleans,
Remember, nobody smiles doing housework but those ladies you see on TV.
Your mommy hates housework,
Your daddy hates housework,
I hate housework too.
And when you grow up, so will you.
Because even if the soap or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach
That you use is the very best one,
Housework is just no fun.

Children, when you have a house of your own,
Make sure, when there’s house work to do,
That you don’t have to do it alone.
Little boys, little girls, when you’re big husbands and wives,
If you want all the days of your lives
To seem sunny as summer weather,
Make sure, when there’s housework to do,
That you do it together!

So this is one thing I know. Housework sucks. And one way to begin to achieve balance is to get a handle on it, get everyone in the house involved and don’t spend too much time worrying about it. There are far more important things in life than worrying over streaky stainless steel.


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What made me cry this morning

Yep, one of the benefits of being pregnant is the ability to burst into tears at just about any moment. Seriously, crummy commercials make me cry these days. So this morning, around 5:45 H starts bawling from his crib. Jeremy rolls over and asks if I’m awake (duh) and then asks what time it is. A brief history – I made us get rid of the alarm clock because
a. why do we need an alarm clock? We have a human alarm clock right next door
b. due to the inordinate amount of times I wake up during the night, I found the giant LCD time in my face to be a major deterrent in my ability to fall back asleep.
So the digital alarm clock got booted. And we have a very pretty bedside clock that’s impossible to tell what time it is unless you turn on the light.

SO. Here we are, we both know it’s way earlier than 7, which is when H usually wakes up, but after turning on the lamp and discovering that it’s 5:45 AM and on a snowy morning no less, well, we both rolled over and moaned and wished him back to sleep. I believe Jeremy said “I don’t want to get up at 5:45 in the morning.” Which was not a weird thing to say and after it became apparent that this kid was AWAKE, he got up. Bless his heart.

I lay in bed listening to them puttering around the kitchen, one big crash followed by a short crying spell, and the inevitable smell of pancakes and coffee. I tried to go back to sleep but pregnancy brain is not very forgiving and lying there, I thought about what’s to come and the great unknowns that having two kids will bring about and how I’m not scared of the birth, but what comes after (no, not the afterbirth) I mean, what I remember about after Harry being born was how perfect everything seemed (oh pregnancy brain, how funny you are). But really, our apartment was warm and quiet and it was just the three of us getting to know each other and sleeping and moving slow and friends and family coming to visit and all those crazy nerves about every little thing. And there I am, at 6am making myself a nervous wreck about things I can’t control and I get the sudden need for a hug.

Weren’t they surprised to see me awake and all nervous looking. And I got my hug and some vague sleepy reassurances that everything would be okay and maybe I should go back to bed, which I did, bringing with me a month old New Yorker and lay there reading this article written by Joyce Carol Oates about her experience of her husband dying and what a fantastic person he was and how much she loved him and was going to miss him. Good grief. It’s a lovely article but there should be a warning label on it. Do not read this if you don’t feel like weeping. I head back out to the dining room boo-hooing my brains out. I needed to hug my man. And I needed to tell him how much I appreciate all the things he does for us and how he’s the best person I know and I know that I’m borderline impossible to live with right now, but someday I’ll go back to being my regular old snarky self and how much I love him for his patience and goodness and humor and did I mention patience. Yep, just what every semi exhausted man wants to hear from his pregnant wife at 630 in the morning.

So here’s another hats off to those exceptional men in our lives. The ones we choose to make a life with and who we love and who make us crazy to the point of wondering if maybe we weren’t slipped something when deciding to hitch ourselves to this ride. The ride is so worth it. I can’t imagine anything more fun.

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Happy Anniversary all you hubbys out there

Tomorrow we are celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary. We’re dropping the kiddo off at his grandparents and heading up to the Dreamaway Lodge in Becket, MA for dinner and a night in the country. If you ever spend any time in the Berkshires, I highly recommend a visit to this place. Daniel the purveyor is a dream, the food is delicious, the music is fun and local and the ambiance. I can’t say enough about it. It’s where we got married and we try to visit a few times every year. BUT, that’s not the reason for the post.

Five years of marriage and that’s following 12 years of courtship, shacking up, countless moves, laughs, tears, jobs, hairstyles and now baby #2. Seventeen years. Almost half my life.  I don’t really know how to put words to how I feel about this guy.

I think this post is just a shout out to all those amazing hard working husbands and dads and dads to be. I know I spend more time than I should expecting him to live up to some sort of mind reading ideal and then giving him a hard time when he CAN’T read my mind. In my saner moments, when I can focus on more than what’s going on with me, I am able to realize that he does more for me and our family in one day than I could ever expect to do myself or even with a small army of myselfs (we would all get tired at 6pm).

I don’t need to go into what all amazing things he does, he knows. But I hope he knows that I know. And I hope that in my quest to find that balance between motherhood and life, I can rediscover my ability to not only appreciate but acknowledge all the wonderful things he does for me, every day.

And ladies, in general, let’s remember to not take these men of ours for granted. They really do try so hard to do the right thing by us (most of the time) and let’s remember that they’re human, and would we want to have all of our annoying faults and inconsistencies pointed out to us on a daily basis. Wow, I can’t even imagine.

So today and through the weekend, I am going to practice patience and kindness and not saying mean or hurtful things. I hope you’ll join me. I do it with the kid all the time. He gets on my nerves hard and I’m not mean to him. So why should it be any different with the man I love. I hope to make it past 6pm today.

And if I don’t, well, I know he’ll understand and love me anyway. Warts and all.

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