Wednesday, August 25, 2010

So long for now

I went outside tonight to clear my muddled thoughts; the wind and I had a good talk. I couldn’t think inside, where all my guilt lay – it was smothering me like a thick blanket, musty and stuffy, but the wind blew my thoughts clear and let them reorganize and settle so I could see them laid out before me. I think I should go sit in the wind more often. The trouble with thoughts laid bare is that they are not always pleasant. The truth, or truth as it may seem at midnight, is often NOT pleasant. My thoughts tonight were not pleasant. Not of a disturbing sort, but of a depressing and self-evaluating sort. I suppose I should speak to the wind more often for these night-time evaluations, for I have a fear of a lonely funeral, with an obituary that has not much to say because the list of good qualities and deeds was so short. Nobody lists the depressing things in an obituary. But that’s for much later in my life – in fact, the end of my life, whenever that may be. Tonight my thoughts were on myself, which is another unfortunate place to lay your thoughts – it seems wasteful and selfish to take time to consider yourself, inside and out, when you know that nobody else in the world is really considering you, for they are too busy considering themselves. But since I was the only one awake, I had to do it alone. I came to a few meandering conclusions, which I cannot neatly sum up because they are hardly concrete an only barely put into discernable form. But I’ll try, simply to be cathartic.

The generally summary is that I am not, nor will I ever be, enough. I am not a very good mother; I do love my children, but I am not a very good mother, and those are two very different things. I’m not saying they would be better with anyone else because I think that is untrue. They both love me so unfailingly, in spite of my countless faults; a sweet, naïve love that does not count the number of fish stick lunches and short-tempered flare-ups. It's good for us to be together, but it would be better if I were better. I am also a very poor housekeeper, to put it plainly. I love having a home, and I like to see it clean, but I dislike putting forth the effort it requires to keep our house looking the way I really love it to look. I don’t mind doing one cleaning project at a time, but the overwhelming number of projects and the never-ending cycle makes me put it aside for a few more minutes, during which another project gets added to the list. I don’t wash the frying pan after breakfast and before I know it, it’s time for lunch and now I have TWO frying pans to wash, which makes me even less inclined to roll up my sleeves. Perhaps it is laziness, perhaps it is merely complacency (not that complacency is not a sin, I am intimately acquainted with my sins), but it certainly is an unappealing character trait and even I am disgusted at myself that I can turn my back on a sink full of muddy dishes that is beginning to smell. That is bad when you are disgusted at yourself. The wind understood me, though, and did not complain. My dear, sweet, loving husband also listened before he went to bed, though it was admittedly his complaints that brought me to my knees. On-edge and grumpy from the moment I got home from work, where I thought I was doing my best to support our family without deserting our family, he claimed repeatedly that he was fine… until the moment he discovered an accidentally broken DVD, when he was admittedly no longer just fine. “We” are careless with our things, and blame must be placed, a millstone of guilt hung shamefully around your neck, and the neck must always be mine because I am the only one who is always home. Even on nights when I am at work, I was home the rest of the day so the evening’s difficulties are my own fault.

I try to be a good wife. I explained again to him tonight my theory of my ring – he gave me a stunning 1-carat solitaire when he proposed marriage and I vowed then, to myself, that I would not let down my end of the bargain – I would be a 1-carat wife. I would serve him hot homemade meals in a clean dining room on clean dishes, and he would be seated surrounded by happy children, clean and well-clothed, and next to a happy wife who had done her hair that day. He works so hard at his job to provide me the opportunity to be this person, he puts stock in me because he believes I will put it back in him. But what am I? What do I do? I have just admitted my failings of home and motherhood, which means I must rightfully admit my failings as a wife, though there is nothing in the world I strive so hard to be as a good wife. I do not clean my home because I enjoy cleaning or because it brings me any great personal satisfaction; I clean my home “so that daddy can be happy when he gets home,” I tell our sons. When daddy is unhappy at home it is because, in her heart, mommy knows she is a failure and has not lived up to her personal vow. Daddy says it’s not true, but the implied and accusing “you” instead of “we” when discussing that carelessness speaks for itself. I told him how embarrassed I am, how terribly guilty I feel when he does housework. I blush when he picks up the broom to sweep the kitchen; I feel a knot grow in my ever-expanding belly when he picks up a fallen chair. He says this should not be true because he is not unhappy to help, but then I know this is untrue because he does not help unless he is unhappy. He does not sweep unless the sandy floor is driving him nuts. He does not pick up the chair unless it has lain lonely and neglected for over a week with no justifiable cause. “We (you) are so careless with things,” yet just last week I threw away a new bucket that was full of hardened mortar that he had not rinsed out, ruining the bucket. I tossed out a wooden airplane, a gift for a 12-year old that was purchased for a toddler, yet he was upset when the toddler broke its wing. Even the crusted bucket of mortar bears my seal of guilt, though, for I should have been able to work on the bathroom while he at his never-ending job, or perhaps I should have rinsed it out for him as the least that I could do after he did such an amazing job laying tile during those long evenings after work. But I didn’t, and the mortar hardened, and I am continually careless and wasteful. The jesting phrase “this is why we don’t have nice things!” felt heavy and burdensome tonight, and my laugh was only one of mild hysteria as I sat crying in the night, repeating “I don’t know! I don’t know! I don’t know! I don’t know!” And really, that’s it – I don’t know. Don’t know why I am still crying, don’t know why I began crying in the first place – Joe was so good to bring down his walls and talk to me, where I know 3 years ago we would have gone to bed in silence and the gloom would have lasted for days. His reward, of course, is a snotty nose and red-rimmed eyes from a woman who should pull herself together and just clean the house and cook the meals and do her hair and dress the kids, but I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know… I don’t know what else to do.

So tonight what I need to do is let go. What can I let go of that doesn’t hurt any of the things that are already suffering at my careless hand? I cannot be more lax on the house or Joe will surely go insane, I can’t be less interested in our children because they are already ones who need my attention MORE, and I can’t backpedal and become a worse wife because that defeats everything. One big thing that I can give up is blogging. I’ve spent so much time typing this out tonight, which was cathartic for me even as it cast a dreary light on me and my marriage, which is actually NOT dreary (but who would believe me after this?), but blogging takes time it is pretty addictive. A seemingly easy way to pass 5 minutes, but 5 minutes turns into 50 and suddenly we’re back to having waffles again for dinner because I didn’t drag myself away from the computer to cook something healthy, and Joe is coming home to a messy house where toys get stepped on and broken. So I am taking a personal-growth hiatus until at least October. If I can grow into the responsible adult I should be, though, where the “to do” list gets shorter rather than longer by the end of the day, I might let myself come back for some quick updates on the boys. No long ravings about myself, I promise. In the meantime, feel free to stop by our house, I will have a much cleaner home to visit and things will be taken care of for once; perhaps I’ll even have to drop the self-deprecating housewife humor if I find I am decent at cleaning. So good night and goodbye.


momowinnie said...

It only gets harder the more kids you have. The messes are bigger and you will never have enough time with each of them. Quitting blogger won't necessiarily help because its next to impossible to get everything on our lists done.

I only know a few people who have it all together and they are strict and have rules and their kids respect them. You have to start early if you want to run a household like htat.

They are happy though and their husbands do come home to a clean house and clean kids and dinner on the table. If you know someone like that ask them for help. I am sure they have some good ideas.

As for me, I left my husband so I could live a care free messy life and have kids who just love me.

Elsha said...

There are days where I have felt every single word of this about myself. Sometimes I look around our room here and think, "I can't even keep a ROOM clean. How am I going to manage a house?"

Growing up I always thought I'd manage just like mom. HA HA. I still don't know how she does it. Brian has even joked that we'll have to live here forever because it's the only way his shirts will get ironed.

Good luck with the blogging break. I hope it does what you need it to. Call if you want to talk.

Kari and Jonathan said...

1st of all, to the person at the top, it is obvious to me that you don't have any friends, for if they were lying on the ground in pain you would kick them. There is no need here to "tell it like it really is."

Kirsta, even though you are neither one to me, i know you are a great mom and a great wife. Your boys love you in spite of your faults. We all have bad days and I hope this is in part to pregnancy hormones. I know it's easier to write down your thoughts sometimes but I was awake last night at 12 and you can always call! Hopefully we'll talk soon.

Love you.

momowinnie said...

There is no need for name calling...why sugar coat things?

It is hard to get things done.

It is a reality that sometimes we need to drop fun things in our life so we can get the things that need to get done first.

It is true that you need to make a list and decide what is the most important thing to you. Keeping your house in order and your family happy or doing things for you and sometimes getting the other stuff done.

Why should I whine and complain that I feel the same way like you all do? That is not productive or helpful at all.

If she sees someone who models what she wants, ask that person for help on how they do it. What is the problem in that?

I don't have a clean house, my kids love me. I get to do what I want when I want to do it, and I never worry about the toilets.

the only reasons why our mom's can do it is because they have done it for a LONG time.They no longer have babies at home and have more time in the day where someone isn't destroying what they just did behind them. It is unrealistic to think you can be just like your mom, when you are just starting out. Its just like idiots who think they deserve a house because they can almost afford it. If you dont have the money, then dont buy a house.

I think you should tell your husband the facts. I have this many kids, I have this much time because I work too, suck it up and help out around the house. The problem is his...and yours.

CBergmann said...

Hey Kirsta,
I have to comment :)

While I don't have kids, I do have a very demanding job, pets, family obligations, among other responsibilities, and I have felt this same way.

My only piece of advice is that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. It is hard to be balanced, but it is possible.

Part of being married is accepting each other for our greatness as well as our faults. Everyone should do the best that they can and praise the good things that each other does. Both people in a relationship work hard, even if it is different ways. It's important to acknowledge those good things because then, those things that we dread become easier to do.

You are a wife, mom and housekeeper. These are wonderful things that are full of happiness, and you should be proud of these things. Do the best you can (which of course means doing things you don't want), but don't put yourself down for not being perfect... no one is perfect. Everyone's house gets dirty :)

While you are a wife, mom and housekeeper, you are also a woman and an individual. You work hard and therefore deserve some time to do what you love, whether it's blogging, hiking, reading, shopping or sitting in the wind :) Give yourself credit for the great things you do! If you make yourself a prisoner of housekeeping, you will dread it even more.

Make yourself a deal.... do the dishes and clean the floor first, and once that's done, do what you like to do. Or clean the house on MWF and give yourself T and TH

Good luck with everything, and remember that you are valued.

hibiscusgirl said...

Kirsta you are so hard on yourself! You have 2 young children & another on the way. No one expects a perfect mom or clean house. It's next to impossible to keep it clean. When the kids get older, it will be easier to keep it clean & have the help of your kids. Try not to dwell on it so much, pick the essentials to keep clean - kitchen daily cuz that's where you eat. once a week the bathrooms & vacuuming & spot clean everythign else.

if people expect perfection & a spick n span house then they really don't have a clue.

you're job now is to raise your children & enjoy their precious years because before long they'll be gone & you'll have ALL the time in the world to clean their house!

hang in there. let it go. focus on what's important.

Brady said...

Oh Kersta. my hear softens and cries a little bit with you as I read your post. You're not alone in your feelings of "never good enough." I have really had similar emotions, especially lately. Maybe it a third pregnancy thing. But I've really tried to explore and draw on support spiritually. I was listening to a talk one morning that hit me hard and I had to stop what I was doing and cry a little, but a good cry. I don't even remember who was talking but he discussed how important our role of motherhood is and how the lord blesses us with the ability to do it. We hold a sacred charge over our children and our home and we also hold and a sacred capacity to take care of it. In a way I felt a little spiritual kick in the pants but also a renew commitment to do my best at the blessed and honored responsibility. And I also understood more that the more I try the more the Lord will bless me to get through, not perfectly, but through. It so hard sometimes!! I wish I could talk to you in person but I have faith in you if it counts for anything. We're all struggling together. Thank you for sharing some of yourself, I found it brave and personally comforting. I'm sending my love and prayers Kersta. ~erika~

The Miz said...

When I first read your blog post the first thing I thought was, "Wow, I'm not alone. I'm not the only one that feels this way."
Now I would like you to know, dear Kirsta,
You are not alone. And we all support you and love you.

Jeff and Andrea Ashmore Family said...

The fact that there is a dirty frying pan after breakfast tells me that you are a pretty good mom. That means that you made breakfast instead of just giving them cereal. It also tells me that you probably sat down and ate with them instead of washing the pan!
Don't be so hard on yourself! You are an amazing person and I know you are an amazing wife and mother.
We all have 500 things to do but I know that when we are in tune we will be prompted to do the most important things first.
I always comfort myself with the words to a song..."momma said there'd be days like these there'd be days like these my momma said."
There are hard days and you will have many more but that's why we have so much joy in this life.
love you girl, hang in there!

Eric and Amy said...

It is very tough to balance everything on the "To Do" list and still feel sane. It's okay to let your husband help with housework, yardwork and kidwork whenever he isn't at work-work!

We love you and think you're a great sister, sis-in-law, mom to your kids, wife to your hubby, etc. Hang in there and know that it's okay to take time for you when you need it whether it's a blog, a walk in the wind, an ugly cry, whatever!