Friday, January 25, 2013

The Big Fat Truth about Cleaning and Being Single

I try to keep my blog fun and upbeat, but the truth is there are a lot of sucky parts of being a single parent. Of great sucktitude is having to be the one to do everything. 

I may have bitched once or twice about my ex not doing "enough" but he did contribute; he worked, I stayed home. I cleaned the house, he mowed and shoveled. We once lived for 10 months in an apartment building where I managed to never learn where the dumpster was, so therefore never had to take out the trash. 

Here is today's sample: pick up kids, make dinner for kids, stop making dinner to plunge toilet, continue making dinner after sanitizing hands thoroughly, wash dishes, play with kids, shovel snow, do homework, bath kids, play with kids, make kid do homework, put kids to bed. Cleaning doesn't happen very often, yet I feel guilty about the state of my house. If I get a free hour I nap, I don't clean.

I decided not to do any more laundry until all of the existing laundry is folded and put away.  We are now nearly naked. 

Oh, and I backed into a telephone pole this week, with the youngest in the car. Thankfully he was not hurt, and not traumatized, either.  I was slightly traumatized I have to admit.  I swear, that pole came out of nowhere. The fact that I had no idea it was there disturbed me greatly, so I did the only sensible thing; I blamed the car.  It really does have crappy visibility, but in general, inanimate objects are not at fault. Well, that's what they tell me.

I tend to get really pissed off about the state of my workload, but I also know I am far better off than most single mothers.  I don't work three jobs to make ends meet.  I get to actually spend time with the kids when I have them.  I also don't have an asshole boyfriend that lives with us and makes my kids' life a living hell. I also don't have a nice, sweet live-in boyfriend they have to compete with and therefore act out and induce feelings of maternal guilt. There is much to be thankful for, really.

But self-pity is so much more fun than gratitude!!!!!!!

Here's my poor-me list:
I have to do all the shopping/cleaning/cooking/home repair/mowing/shoveling/laundry/oh I can't go on, it's too much to list. I can't bear it.

But here's some truth:

Husbands, in my experience, seem to have different cleaning schedules than I do.  For example, they want me to clean the most on days I have absolutely no interest in cleaning.  If I don't want to clean, I don't, and there's no one to criticize. I can let the dishes sit for a week, ignore mountains of laundry and take the kids to McDonald's playland instead of dealing with it, and no one can stop me.

Husbands also tend to have a different view on where the dirty laundry goes.  I vote laundry basket, not floor.  I used to have four laundry baskets in the bedroom in strategically located places to make laundry throwing easier, but it still didn't work.  My ex looked at me one day and explained that it wasn't his fault; his laundry feared the baskets and he didn't want to traumatize it.

I don't have the resentment of expecting someone else to do something, nor can I angrily blame someone else when I can't find something. I may get frustrated with the chaos, but I know it is my fault/responsibility. This actually makes me happier in the day to day moments.

There's also no yelling at kids because they will make someone unhappy with their mess. No frantic cleaning before Daddy comes home. No turning down the television and tiptoeing around a boyfriend.

If we choose to have a blow up boat in the living room for a week, no one complains. (look to the left) Or a potty chair in the living room e.g. "Mama, I made a poo-poo, and Dog disappeared it."

It is MY mess! I shall revel in it! And if I choose to go eat cookies in bed and leave it there till morning, I can and I will.  And what do hear when I do so? Pretty birds singing in my head. No yelling. No evil looks. 

Pretty soon the boys will start cleaning up.  They love to shovel, and soon they will be big enough to mow.  I will get to to do all the gleeful yelling at the children to clean up, something I have been looking forward to for years.  I will get to skip gleefully around the living room barking out instructions. I may even make myself a drill sergeant hat and buy a whistle.  And I won't have to share my whistle.

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