So how low can you go?


It is 8 am. I am exhausted. I have already watched 3 pigs and a baby – twice. Not by choice. I am sweating profusely, which makes the shower I’ve just had an utterly useless exercise as well as a waste of a few minutes which I didn’t really have to begin with.

I have already had a tiff with the toddler over a tipped toy box and threats of time-out were issued. Thank goodness he was agreeable and no follow-through was needed on the threat; we simply didn’t have the time today!

Everybody seems to be crying or screaming at me. I just cannot keep up! And then there’s the mess, never-ending untidiness and dirt. Dirty dishes, dirty laundry (the actual kind, that needs to go in the washing machine – I don’t know where people actually find the time to behave scandalously!) dirty kids, dirty floors, dirty dogs, dirty beds on the self-perpetuating dirt cycle.

When you are reading about having babies and pregnancy and things, one of the odd things that comes up a lot under advice is: “You should be prepared to lower your standards”. To my disgust, I have managed this rather well.

The idea is terrifying. Especially for someone who finds the calm in the chaos by cleaning. How can I be expected to let dirty dishes stand around, let floors go unswept for days? But I have conquered it. I have done it. My standards are pretty low right about now! My floors crunch when I walk. There are actual dust monsters behind and underneath my furniture. There is so much clutter around the house, some days I struggle to breathe. My standards have reached epic lows and I don’t think I can ever regain them. It scares me.

I used to clean whenever I got frustrated; now I just get frustrated because I have to clean! And clean. And then clean some more! It just never ends. And yet everything stays dirty and untidy. There is always more washing, more dishes, and more dirt creeping up from somewhere. I cannot keep up and it does my head in!

So, it might mean that I have beaten OCD. I just wish I felt like more of a conqueror and less like someone who has a dirty house all the time. Someone whose garden looks like nature is trying to reclaim what was once hers; and winning. Someone whose house looks like a hurricane has hit it and then came back for a second look-see.

Muddy little-boy footprints

Muddy little-boy footprints

I wish I really had beaten OCD and that I didn’t just get beaten into submission by dirt. There is just so much messiness! I have only just cleaned the bathroom floors and replaced the bathmats. I walk in to find a pretty trail of little-boy footprints leading from the dogs’ bowl to the bathroom. And in there, mayhem! (When do they actually learn to aim those things?) Now I will have to spend another hour trying to find all the urine-filled crevices to stop my bathroom from smelling like a night club urinal!

I spend most of my time on my knees searching underneath couches; finding bits of missing puzzle and toys so that everything can be kept as it was bought and so that it actually works the way it had been designed. There is still half a purple cow and a pink bow which I must assume ended in the dog’s stomach, despite no evidence of this on the lawn, which haunts me late at night. I try to loosen up a little; walk in the dirt and revel in the dust. I wait until the kids are in bed before sorting the toy boxes and making sure “Old McDonald” is surrounded by all his animals.

The point is: my standards are pretty darn low right about now and I’m still spending most of my time in a frenzied panic, attempting to create some semblance of order in this house. How low exactly are you meant to go?

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