We have reached a breaking point. Our lives are filled to the brim, thankfully with projects we’re passionate about, people we absolutely adore and jobs we love, but nonetheless, busy to the point of insanity. When we purchased our first home, we downsized to half the size, minus a double car garage and crawl space. 1,000 square feet can be a perfectly suitable size for a three person family, if you don’t accumulate a large amount of crap, that is. We have not followed suit. Three years and another kid later, we have gotten to the point where not only are our lives jam-packed, but our house is busting at the seams.
We’re both away at work for many hours during the week, and because of this, playing with our kids and enjoying each others’ company trumps the daily (and necessary) maintenance of keeping house. Honestly, who would chose cleaning up over cuddling on the couch with books, working on a new blog entry or having a tea party on the living room floor? But it is becoming increasingly apparent that our “ignore it and maybe it will go away” mentality is just not cutting it anymore. The constant state of chaos that has taken over every inch of our house is seeping into our souls and causing bigger problems.
Instead of being able to come home to a lovely sanctuary from the rest of the crazy world, we end up fighting about the house. The dirty dishes in the sink multiply when left alone for a couple hours, the living room hasn’t been vacuumed for longer than either of us can remember – heck, it would be impossible to even attempt vacuuming with the sea of clothes/toys/ laundry/stuffed animals/remainders of art projects everywhere. How can we relax in an environment where there isn’t room on the table to put a dinner plate or where we have to shovel off the couch to merely sit down? Don’t even get me started on the daily search for the TV remote, cell phones and keys. We don’t invite people over because it is embarrassing; somehow other work-outside-the-home-two-income-earner families manage to keep it together. It is stressful existing in this perpetual mess and our marriage is suffering.
When I was younger, my parents gave us a deadline of 5:00 on Sunday night to have our room picked up. Whatever was left on the floor at 5:01 got swept up into a huge black garbage bag to live in the attic. During the course of the following week, whatever items we could remember were returned – otherwise, adios. Perhaps it is time to implement the garbage bag technique for our grown-up selves.
It doesn’t seem realistic for Jake to come home and spend his mere moments of free time cleaning after a 60+ hour work week (with a schedule that changes week to week), but it also isn’t fair to leave all of the cleaning to me – since when I’m not working, I’m with our daughters, not gallivanting around town shopping and getting pedicures. But the dirty (literally) truth is that just because we both work outside the home doesn’t diminish the fact that things still need to be picked up and put away. Finding any kind of reasonable balance while juggling everything we have going on is quite irrational.
We have come to the realization that what we really need is someone to fill the old-fashioned role of housewife. Someone to be the command central of our house. Someone to be in charge of all those odd jobs we just cannot get a handle on. Someone to help us scrub the tub and mop the floors, rake the leaves and mow the lawn, run to goodwill and the recycling center, file papers, grocery shop…maybe even watch the kids while we get the house back to some kind of working order.
Is this our sanity saving answer? Too early to tell, as we have an overwhelming amount of work to do initially. But it is time, and we owe it to our family to buck up, stop whining and clean up our crap. Hopefully sooner, rather than later, we’ll be able to hire someone…any takers?