Friday, September 14, 2007

It Is So Hard To Find Good Help These Days


(Sing to the tune of Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?)

Where is my babysitter?

Where is my full time nanny?

Where is my in home cook?

Where have all the good maids goooone?


My sister and I often console one another over the impossibility of "getting it all done". We are both stay at home mothers, we both have four children, we both homeschool, and are both involved in the managing of very tight budgets. We are constantly asking, "How is it that we spin our wheels like crazy and still feel like we are standing still?" As I type I am rubbing the bottom of my foot across the cuff of my jeans to wipe off crumbs, AND I JUST SWEPT 15 MINUTES AGO!!! By the end of the day it is obvious that something always has to give. If I am a good homeschooler I usually miss the laundry and dinner. If I am a good neighbor I never seem to manage homeschooling or sweeping. When I am a fun mom I usually haven't done any of the things on my perpetual "To Do" list on the fridge. And if I manage to get everything done in one day I am hardly a good wife by the time hubby gets home. I have heard it said many times that stay at home moms work the equivalent of 5 full time jobs. That sounds great, but I'm sure that I'd have been fired from at least 2 of those jobs by the end of every day (and, honestly, some days I've even fantasized about getting those pink slips). And even though I am the first to tell other women that they shouldn't feel guilt just because they aren't Superwoman, I am all too ready to add "self beater" to my professional resume. Well, Ladies, I am here to proclaim that I officially
NO LONGER FEEL THE GUILT!

I know, you either don't believe me or you are insanely jealous (or you just think I'm crazy and have skipped to someone else's blog by now). No, I am serious. A lot of my guilt came from this stupid pride I've always had that "If the pioneer women can do it, so can I." But I am learning that the pioneer women either had awful lives that I don't want to have, or they didn't do it all because they lived with family, had slaves, hired hands, servants, or young ladies to help them. Heck, they even hired women to breast feed their babies for them!!! I was recently reading Little Men by Louisa May Alcott because it is about Jo and her husband running a school for boys (basically an over grown homeschool) and they had little money and I thought it might make me feel better. While it is a great book I couldn't help wincing at yet another "nanny" and "cook". The straw that finally broke my back was when my sister called me with the disgusted proclamation that I wouldn't believe what she had just found out. Apparently even my grandma had a young girl from down the road come in to help her with the cooking and cleaning while her children were young. My very poor grandma, I might add. So, were is my "young girl from down the road?" She is at the mall. She doesn't need my very piddly $8/hour for watching my kids or scrubbing my floor because her parents gave her an ipod and $20 last night for nothing. Well, I may not be able to afford a french tutor for my children, a maid for my floors, or a cook for my kitchen, but I will be darned if I ever feel guilty for not making the 10 Greatest Homemakers of America list anytime soon. And with that, I am making frozen corndogs for dinner!

14 comments:

Montserrat said...

We're having pigs in a blanket --- for the third time this week! I so understand what you are saying. Good for you for not feeling guilty. I decided not to long ago that even appearing to be perfect was too stressful so people have to take me as I am.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Forget frozen corndogs, it has been leftovers on our menu a lot lately!

We need not feel guilty for not getting it all done. I have felt so frenzied with life lately and I detest feeling like this.

We should start our own club/support group - homemakers who do it on their own! I wish I had help, but alas, I don't.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Just another thought, isn't life about enduring to the end ... and enduring well? It definitely doesn't imply we have to get everything done to perfection :) !!

Balance I say. Maybe one day a week I will be the wife, another day I will be the maid, and another day I will be the mom :) !!

amber said...

I just spent my one day off, my precious one day on the floor scrubbing, doing loads of laundry and cleaning up after everyone - I feel your pain!!

Mountain Dweller said...

Great post - so well described and so true. I gave up on the list on the fridge a long time ago :)
Bon courage!

Daydream Believer said...

Give yourself some slack--no one can do it all! Loved your story about sugar and Monster Man--since I have tactile issues, I cannot even IMAGINE what that was like. Ewww!!! I wear slippers all the time...
Keep on rockin'!
-alex

mom huebert said...

I know exactly what you mean. I know I have commiserated with a friend about that same thing: that if we're doing a good job homeschooling, the meals are lousy; if the meals are good, the laundry doesn't get done; if we keep the laundry caught up, the house is a wreck, and if we have a clean house, everything else has gone to pot.

I appreciate your point about women in "olden days" having helpers. My husband tells me I do have helpers, four of them (the kids), as well as a washing machine and dishwasher, but that hasn't been much comfort or help...

Jen said...

I feel ya! With my husband working out of town a lot, there are plenty of times I feel like a married single parent.

Repeat to yourself the Flylady's mantra of "Even housework done incorrectly still blesses my family...even housework done incorrectly still blesses my family..."

In reference to the crumbs on the floor-The other day my brother was telling me that he doesn't believe Entropy is a real thing. I told him to borrow my 2 year old for half an hour and see if he changes his mind. So instead of "*$%# Happens," say "Entropy happens. The second law of thermodynamics is real and active in my life."

Dinners are very basic at my house, particularly if Daddy isn't home, but the kids can appreciate grilled cheese or even PB&J in ways I didn't know were possible. My friend & I created a food blog just for days when I want to eat out b/c I don't want to cook, and its been helpful too, even though even that is petering off b/c its one more thing to keep up with finding, trying, & posting new recipes.

http://mommywhatsfordinner.blogspot.com

Jen said...

PS-in olden days, kids only had to be bathed once a week or less, and laundry consisted of one or two outfits per person per week.

Tirzah said...

I'm glad you're giving up the guilt! I did the same thing, though I don't always stick to it! I still rush around like a crazy person so other people can't see my mess!

There is just no way to do it all, especially remaining sane at the same time!

Left-Handed said...

I always say that if I could hire myself a helping hand to free up my time and my family's time, I TOTALLY would.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Jen, I actually visit your recipe blog quite often. I love all the extra tips you give, especially about how to include the kids in the cooking process.

Kim said...

Ok... this made me laugh. Why? Because it's true that's why! I would love to have a "girl down the street" to help out. As it is, the girl in the bedroom down the hall needs a poke with a cattle prod to clean her own room. Of course as a working mom I am still trying to figure out who our house gets so messy when nobody is home all day!?!?!?!

Kim @ TheBitterBall

Kim said...

ummm... that would be HOW it gets messy not WHO. Sometimes I don't know what my fingers are thinking as they hit the keyboard.