Maybe it was because Christmas was over a week ago and still looked like it threw up all over my living room. Maybe it was because I literally was just trying to keep my head above water to make it through the holidays and probably let way too many things go. Maybe it was because we hit 2020 and I was ready to take on a new year and make changes.
Whatever it was, on New Year’s Day I decided that I had had enough of my house. It was like suddenly, I could see all the clutter, toys, clothes, cups and just crap lying around that had been there for over a week, and it was too much. It got to me.
It was not my proudest moment. Nor was it the way I had planned on starting the year off.
But, isn’t it funny how I can ask my kids to clean up, help out, throw their cups in the sink or just pick up after themselves 100 times but no one listens until I lose it? What is wrong with us that we just let it become this bad and just ignore it?
And no, this is not the norm for us. I mean, don’t get me wrong, our house is only clean and mess free two days a month when our cleaner (my sanity keeper) comes. But, it has never been THIS bad.
And yes, I know these last two weeks have been complete chaos jumping from one family Christmas party to the next, back to work in between, and then New Year’s Eve festivities with family. But still, I guess a mom can only take so much and then …
I lost it. And it wasn’t a little motivational speech to get everyone to start helping out. Oh no, in fact, it was enough to get Daddy off the couch to handle bedtime. Yeah, it was that bad.
There were whispers from the girls that they had tried to help earlier — remember that 3 minutes where they cleaned up between commercials? You’re right, there are two fewer toys in my walkway — but I still cannot make it to my kitchen without fear of breaking my neck.
Why is there still tissue paper from opening presents on the floor, why are yesterday’s pajamas still in the living room, why did we keep this gigantic box that your most prized gift came in? It is a box, emotional attachment or not, and I am sneaking it in a black trash bag. Actually, I need to sneak about 50 toys into that trash bag as well. It is not like we even needed more toys for Christmas.
My rant, the few external complaints and tons of internal questioning, lasted about 10 minutes — long enough for Daddy to get them ready for bed, read them a book and snuggle up with them.
Which is precisely about how long it took for the guilt to start in.
And that almost frustrates me even more. It’s like squeezing a balloon as hard as you can until it pops and then blaming the balloon for popping. But that is what us moms do. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be able to take it all in and then get mad at ourselves when we have no more room to hold it.
So I did what any mom would do, I went in and apologized. It’s not their fault — OK, it is partially their fault — but it is also mine. I mean, I let things slack this much. It is an off time of year where schedules and routines are nonexistent and get-togethers and just gliding through take over all while Mom still has to work and figure it all out.
Losing it to myself or even shouting my SOS to God in prayer is one thing, but getting to my breaking point in front of my most favorite people in the world makes my heart hurt. Of course, my sweet girls gave me hugs and kisses and told me it was OK which was just another guilt punch in the stomach.
I continued on loading up my dishes and wiping down my counters because having my kitchen clean in a house full of clutter just makes me feel like I have some sort of control. Then, I cleared a pathway through the house to at least make it through the rest of the work week, put the mess blinders back on and cuddled up on the couch with my husband.
I mean hey, if I can’t beat them, I may as well join them. Plus, it’s 2020 now and I have a year full of new days to figure out how to get this house in some sort of order.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.