Current State of My Union

My husband is deeply depressed. Deeply. Depressed.
I, myself, have fought depression almost all of my life and feel like I am dancing on the edge of it every day.
Thank God my medicine works for me! What a couple, right?
He’s my soul mate. But sometimes that can cause some problems.
Our poor kids. They’ve got a pretty crappy gene pool really…Mental Illness, Cancer, Diabetes, Crohn’s Disease….
And although (thank GOD and knock on wood!) they haven’t displayed any terrible signs of trouble – aside from ADHD and a little Anxiety…I’m noticing how our depression is affecting them. And it needs to stop. It’s needed to stop for some time now; they miss out on so much because of us.

Anyway. This post isn’t about all that. Not directly anyway.

It is New Year’s Eve and I’m trying to get my head around a bunch of stuff because I really need to pull myself together. Things are getting to me big time.  Again. And I’m really tired of this waltz.

I’ve decided that I’m going to do what everyone else does on New Year’s Eve and try to make a new start on a new year. Not that it’s ever worked for me in the past, but whatever. Hope springs eternal. Even when you are slightly depressed.

So, I am permitting myself to indulge in some junk food (Cool Ranch Doritos) and some Prosecco (Hey! Don’t judge the combo…) this evening as I wait for the old year to roll on out (good riddance!) and my new year of (hopefully) better habits to roll in (which will, obviously,  not include junk food or alcohol).  Oh, and better luck! PLEASE PLEASE let some better luck come on in!!!

I’m just going to proceed to spew some thoughts I’ve been having lately; some musings that have replayed and jangled around my head about a particular subject. And I’m probably not going to exhaust them all just now.

I’m trying to find my way. I’m needing to readjust my perspective, and to do that, I’ve got to figure out what my perspective is to begin with.

So.
I’ve been obsessed with Housework for some time now. And not because I love it.

For the record: I never wanted to be a Housewife in the strictest terms. I do not enjoy housework. I do not enjoy cooking.

I do enjoy kids, however. I find them pretty adorable. I do enjoy living in a clean environment as well.

Hence, a dilemma: I don’t like to clean or cook BUT I do like being a mom and I like a clean environment.

(Unfortunately, we do not have the income to afford maids and cooks. Never have; probably never will…)

I think this subject has been at the forefront of my mind ever since I became a stay-at-home mom, around 2001.
(Geez. I wish there were a less awkward term, or another term that isn’t so archaic as “housewife” or “homemaker”…. And, weird, how those two terms should make me bristle. I think I blame it on being a product of the feministic 60’s and 70’s. And, yes, for the record, I consider myself a “feminist”. I am a woman and I like having legal rights. But, I digress…..)
I envisioned a clean, comfortable, tidy, pleasant, home for my children. Toys being scattered about was a given.
Stickiness and dirt and pet-hair and dust and food debris and sour laundry didn’t factor into my vision so much.
Or who would be responsible for IT ALL getting taken care of.
I was just going to be there for my kiddos and play with them and feed them and read to them and and love them and keep THEM clean, at least.
So, I did my best doing those things I felt were essential to my children. Making sure they had my attention and trying to revel in that particular time of special baby-smell and coos and grins and socializing.
I tried not to let the state of my house bother me.
I was, in fact, told not to let the state of my house bother me, by more experienced mothers. Told I should enjoy the various stages of their early development. “Quit worrying about the house!”, I was admonished by many.
Not to mention, I was also very, very, tired. Breastfeeding, diaper-changing, laundry, etc. etc.
My hubs worked.
He was exhausted when he came home. He had a god-awful one to one and a half hour commute every day.  So he usually was DONE by the time he got home. Done for the day.
Still, I felt terrible about the state of the house.
To the point that I didn’t want to invite anyone over.
Because, everyone else’s house always looked nice. At least, presentable.
And they had little ones too.
Maybe not as many pets as us (at least 3 to 4 dogs and 3 to 4 cats at any given time). Yeah. That’s a lot of work too.  Litter boxes. Poop scooping. Vacuuming. Feeding. Playing. Exercising. Not that I was great about getting to all of that either….after all, I also had the kids. Lots of love to go around. Just not a lot of energy. (Needless to mention, our dogs are not the most well behaved….but I digress again)
I was 35 when I had my daughter. 38 when I had my son.

Oh, and I never had that “nesting” impulse while I was pregnant. 9/11 occurred in the weeks leading up to my first child’s birth and I was a bit distracted and distraught over what kind of world we were bringing a child into. And I think I mentioned that I’ve struggled with depression too, did I not?

Anyway. Housekeeping has always been a huge chore to me.
A. CHORE. An all day, all-encompassing, hold-your-nose and do-it CHORE.
I was an only child of working parents. A latch-key kid. And, truth-be-told, despite my problems, a pretty good kid….for the most part.
So, while mom and dad were working, who was responsible for helping out with the housework?
When I was in junior high, beginning in 6th grade, I would come home to an empty house, usually pretty upset about something or other, my depression was setting in, and get a call from my mom, checking in on me and then giving me a list of things I needed to do, like vacuum or dust or pick up or clean the bathrooms or whatever she needed help with. Set the table for dinner. Doing my homework was also a given. The grown-up me understands. The youthful me just felt like Cinderella. It continued throughout High School. I was not allowed to leave the house until all my chores were done. Until all the drudgery had been taken care of. Including the weekends. And I still can recall having some of it being criticized when I rushed through it. Streaks on the bathroom mirrors?! Heaven forbid!

Did I always do my chores? Always do what I was told, on time, on a regular basis? Hell NO! Because I was a kid!! I resented the HELL out of missing out on meeting up with friends  because I had to clean the house! and I absolutely hated the guilt trips and the arguments (as I’m absolutely certain my mom did too) when I didn’t do it and shirked it off.

Housework and Resentment soon became close and intimate associates.  And they have remained so until this day.  This is what I need to examine. This is the partnership I think I need to destroy somehow.

 

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One comment

  1. I share your dilemma. Except it was never clear day to day what I was expected to do. Just make things perfect in order to avoid being resented for being a child. For getting home an hour or two before the adult was allowed to. And the best anything ever was….was “well it’s starting to look a little better.” F*** it. My dysfunction isn’t caused by a messy house, it causes the mess. I gave up so long ago I can’t simply choose to do housework. I know exactly where you are at mentally right now…I’ve been stuck there for my decades here. Frozen in helplessness; beating ourselves up for being unmotivated to participate in another daily struggle of pointless, reoccurring misery that others seem to accomplish with much less strife…”it has to be done falalalala.” Alas, it will be dirty again tomorrow. Go dump out some f’ing legos on the floor and build a damn perfect house haha xoxo

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