Sometimes I wonder how people manage being grown ups.
Like, when I go to train dogs in people’s houses and the houses are spotless show homes despite two smiling, well behaved children in the house and I wonder how they manage to work well paying jobs and raise two kids and still don’t have soap rings in their bathroom sink.
PH and I both heavily value a clean home. We both grew up in clean homes.
We do not live in a clean home.
At the best of times, we manage a cluttered and messy home.
When we’re doing well, the only dishes in the sink are from the past 24 hours. The toilet has been cleaned within the last two weeks and the fur has been swept off of the floor when guests come over.
Then there are times like now.
The first trimester exhaustion kicked in for me around the 7 week mark. Until that day, PH and I had fallen into a rhythm for managing our family dishes. I washed them at night before bed, and he took them out of the dry rack and put them away the next morning. Each of us kept up our end of the deal because the other person kept up theirs.
Suddenly, I didn’t have it in me to wash those dishes. I looked at them, and I walked away.
And now our kitchen looks like this:
And our front stoop looks like this:
And our coat closet looks like this:
And that’s just the PUBLIC part of our house, the part that neighbours can see walking by. I don’t even dare show you what our bathroom looks like, or our bedroom.
And I feel like there’s nothing I can do about it.
I’ve talked before about first trimester exhaustion, but it’s one of those things that either you understand or you don’t. I feel completely incapable. It’s as bad as it was back in May and June when I was sick.
When I’m at work, typing notes for the vet, I have to stop and sit down multiple times during the exam. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to cry when I look at the work that I absolutely need to do.
All of my energy goes into high priority tasks, and for me that is making sure that my kid is dressed, fed, and reasonably happy, and that I show up for work every day. After that is done, there’s nothing left.
Hell, BEFORE that is done, there’s nothing left, but I do it anyway because there is no choice in the matter. It’s life and death. I can’t NOT feed my kid. I can’t NOT show up to work. I can’t stand in front of my boss and say “yeah, I didn’t bother to do that.” So somehow I summon resources that I feel aren’t even there.
But I can’t make myself do anything else. Even recreation. The reason this blog has been so silent is because I’ve barely touched my computer in weeks. Too tired. And I LOVE writing. You give me a day to do whatever I want, and I guarantee you I’ll spend it writing. But I haven’t had the energy. I work, I get my kid to bed, and then I sleep. Then I wake up feeling like I haven’t slept in days.
Oh yeah, and then my rash came back so now I’m exhausted, and a little queasy, AND I feel like I’m being eaten alive by fire ants and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Once upon a time, PH would have picked up my slack. He was always better at tidying than I am, and when Owl was a baby PH cooked AND washed dishes AND did the laundry while I sat and held a screaming infant.
But unfortunately, PH’s recent depression likes to time its attacks to the least convenient of moments, and once again it has taken him down when I needed him most. He is no more able to do these things than I am. Less, in fact. I’m still pulling most of the parenting weight, no to mention working two jobs.
But who am I to complain? Am I supposed to order him to find the energy that I can’t? Tell him to suck it up when I can’t make my self do it either?
We both have parasites inside us. Mine will at least hopefully turn out to be cute one day. His is an evil, life sucking disease.
So I am still the most able adult in the house. Which means that our house is my fault. I live with a constant feeling of horror and shame at the state of our house. I feel like trash. I live in trash. I am surrounded by trash. Fruit flies are breeding IN MY SINK.
One day I vomited into our toilet, which hadn’t been cleaned in months and emanated a terribly odor due to the disturbing amounts of poo that visibly crusted around its bowl. And I told PH that if he did ONE thing while I was at work that day, could he please, please clean the toilet.
And he did.
So there’s that.
When I stare at my kitchen, and feel so hopelessly unable to do anything about the filth in which I live, I wonder how normal adults manage it.
I bet a lot of you have been pregnant with sick husbands and still managed to have kitchens that don’t smell like garbage bins.
I bet a lot of you would rather fall asleep on your feet than let the neighbours see a garbage bag sitting on your front stoop for days on end.
I bet the world is just full of people who manage to work more hours than me and still scrub their toilet occasionally, pregnant or not.
So why can’t I do it? It’s not that I don’t value it. I long for a clean house. I am deeply ashamed of the state of mine. Why can’t I do something about it?
The other day, I was taking Owl to school when I saw that his black pants, fresh out of the laundry, were so heavily covered in dog hair that it looked like our dog had been using it as his personal pillow for the last three years. Owl picked all that fur up off of our FLOOR in the HOUR that he had been awake and dressed at home before we left for his daycare.
I squatted on the sidewalk and spent five minutes trying to pull all of the hair off, so I wouldn’t look like the sort of mother who keeps her child’s clothes under the bed with the dust bunnies. So my child wouldn’t be so blatantly advertising that he lived in a house that was worthy of a Hoarders episode. So that it would be less glaring that my complete inability to manage basic adult responsibilities was now directly affecting my only child.
I gave up eventually. It was an impossible task. I sent him to daycare in his pants which were no longer black, but grey and fuzzy, and I drove to work late, with tears trickling down my cheeks.
What’s wrong with me, and how do I fix it?