Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Clean Day

My house is clean!!!

I had five wonderful ladies here all day making it so.

Last Wednesday afternoon, as I stopped at church to deliver the vanload of Wednesday School kids at church, one of the teachers who was also arriving just then stopped at the van to talk a minute.  She said that she and some of the other ladies had decided to offer to come a day and help me clean.  And she was wondering if that would be OK, or if it would be insulting, or pushy. 

I of course responded that I have no pride left and that I'd love to have help for a day.

I found out over the weekend that they hoped to come Tuesday or Wednesday. 

As the day approached I found I was a bit anxious about it all.  I realized I did have some pride left. after all. 

But also, I had to think of things, in amongst all this disorder that I could have them do.  I have so many stacks and piles and stuff all over, half finished sorting and organizing, etc, that I had to think a little bit to figure out either what to do with the stacks, or how the ladies could work around them.

But the other thing that made me a little anxious, and this is where the pride comes in, is that my house is really dirty.  Deep down dirty.  The kids clean the bathrooms and sweep and mop the kitchen.  But that's kid standards which does not always coincide with theMom standards.  And theMom standards have been lowered so many times throughout the years that even theMom standards are not up to par with most homemakers. 

But besides that, there are many things that never get done, and also many things that I let go, that I ought not.  My kids write on walls, for instance.  At some point, I got tired of dealing with it.  I'd rather scrub walls than spank.  After 19 years, I'm tired of spanking.  I'm tired of time outs.  I'm tired of the constant, "Who did this?" routine.  And let's face it, I'm just plain tired.  I try not to let the little ones get away with things too much, but I know there are many things I've stopped caring about that I used to address immediately. 

That was my primary anxiety.  Or maybe it's just embarrassment.  It's humiliating to admit to others how inept I am at the whole homemaking thing. 

But there were other stressors, too.  Just little worries.  Anxiety.

And those had to do with my mental health.  I often can't keep going all day long.  I often have to nap or sit or tune out for awhile.  I also have trouble thinking clearly much of the time.  I was unsure whether I'd be able to keep my brain sharp all day when others need to ask what to do next, or what to do with such-n-such an item or stack or heap.  And also knew I wouldn't feel right taking my "coffee breaks"  or "crochet breaks" or "facebook breaks" or even "nap breaks" when others are busy working in my mess. 

I knew I would be bushed by this evening.  And I was.  As soon as these friends were out the door, Joe offered to help with supper.  I put rice in the rice cooker, and went in the bedroom and took a 20 minute nap. 

Good old Joe.  He knew that I was worried about being done-in at the end of such a busy day.  He pulled out a jar of canned bear meat and simmered up a barbeque sauce in which to reheat it.   When it was time to eat, I remembered that Joe does not do vegetables, so I opened a jar of green beans and served them room temperature with everything else.  It was wonderful!

Several of the ladies know about my struggle with depression.  I've not made any secret about it.  But I also haven't made a big announcement about it.  I got a chance today to talk to one of the ladies about it, which was good for me to do.  It's hard to admit that something is wrong.  That I'm weak in this way.  We all want to be polished and able and good.  I don't like to admit that I am not strong enough to handle whatever life throws at me.  I'm supposed to be tough.  Just get yourself going, Mary.  Just pull yourself up by the bootstraps.  Right?  But this time it didn't work.  And I have to admit to others that I am struggling.  I have to admit that things are not easy.   It's embarrassing to admit that I can't think straight much of the time.  And that I lose patience with myself and my situation. 

So it is good to talk to others, to share, and to be consoled by Christian friends. 

And it's also wonderful to have a clean house.

It feels good to have the deep cleaning done.  The Chervestad and nee Chervestad ladies scrubbed walls and washed windows, wiped down woodwork and mopped floors.  They cleaned my little girls' room.  They picked up John's room.  They vacuumed the rugs and draperies, steps and basement floor.  Muriel cleaned the mudroom bathroom, including (which I didn't even know had to be done) cleaned the rust and mineral out of the tank on the back of the toilet.  She straightened and washed walls, doors, and storm door in the mudroom.  And Shirley, well, Shirley is perhaps the only one would could get away with this, Shirley marched straight down to Jeremy's cave and prodded him into helping her clean it.  I had assured him that his room was not on the list for the day.  But Shirley decided to brave it anyway.  Jeremy came upstairs at one point and asked if I could make her to stop. 

I just said, "Nope, sorry.  Just help her out respectfully and deal with it.  Even if you didn't want your room clean, it will be good to have it done." 

"NO IT WON'T!"  Jeremy insisted. 

I bet he's happy it's done now.  But I also know that he'd never, ever in a million years admit it if I asked. 

While the ladies  were doing all that, I caught mostly up with dishes, and then putzed with some of the organizing and re-ordering I've let pile up.  I sorted socks.  I answered questions and ran errands. 

And I stayed on top of things.  I kept my wits about me.  I didn't break down crying. 

Now, my house is clean.  Thank you ladies, so very much.  Thank you for not judging my incompetence, or at least not doing so in an obvious manner.  Thank you for your labors when I feel too weak to accomplish them by myself.  It's a humbling thing.  But I thank you for your support and kindness. 

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