Thursday, October 7, 2010

A post that can only be titled "arrgh!"

Ready for a bit of complaining?

I am super stressed out right now. Not only has the pace at work picked up, with TONS of activities going on and record high attendance numbers (81 participants in religious education last Sunday!), but the family arrangements this year with two kids in two different schools is also really hectic.

I'm like a duck - I'm trying to look all serene on the top while I'm paddling like hell under the surface.

Not sure how serene I'm managing to look, anyway. :)

It's amazing to me how my home is becoming less a "how do I want to live and how do I want it to look in here" issue and more of a "is there clean laundry and food to eat?" issue. Any time I have at home that I'm not sleeping, I am working hard to keep up with dirty dishes, laundry, and food preparation. The toilet is still getting scrubbed once a week, and the floor vacuumed about as often, but I just don't have time to really clean. And yardwork has to be squeezed in as well, so I'm out there mowing and weeding and repairing fences in the little windows of time I can find.

I just got a book from the library about bathroom remodeling and "fix-ups" written for women. I should be excited to become empowered to go ahead and fix my bathrooms myself, but it also raises a feeling of bitterness in me. Yes, I'm going to wear the pants in this family, as the saying goes, but darn it - I still have to wash those pants! And iron them if they need it, and mend them and shop for them in the first place.

I can do it all. But to be honest, I don't want to. I would welcome old-fashioned divisions of labor if that actually took some of the stuff off my To Do List.

This is only half about my particular partner in life and his particular ability and eagerness to do housework. So many people, like my husband, have jobs that don't allow for them to be any help at home at all. Maybe in the past that situation would mean that we would hire Help. I can't hire Help, but man, do I NEED some Help.


  1. Sara,

    First, congratulations on the awesome attendance at church! That is fantastic.

    Second, in response to this: "So many people, like my husband, have jobs that don't allow for them to be any help at home at all."

    Our OWN job as DREs can definitely get that way. And that's where I think the rubber meets the road in this case...because it is one thing if at least one person's life allows them to makeup for the other person's inability and lack of energy to do stuff around the home, but the situation becomes really unbearable when both partner's jobs call on both their inner resources and their schedule so fully on such a regular basis.

    I couldn't do half of what I do now at work if my wife wasn't currently a SAHM except for babysitting for some other folks three days a week, and wasn't so available to make up for the nights I can't come home, the meetings that come up sometimes even last minute, the things that arise that totally depelete my emotional energy.

    And I *still* feel like I am often paddling like crazy under the water...not to mention that my wife often feels the same way, or feels resentful about the weight I am not holding at home.

    I don't know if it makes me feel better or worse, but I often think about how the work week associated with modern times is so "off" from almost all of human history, even until very, very recently. (Actually, my dad wrote an interesting reflection about this recently: I know I read somewhere that even peasants from long, long ago, who lived lives of burden and labor, worked today's equivilant of a few months per year.

    We have many modern convienences to make life easier, but they are a double-edged sword, both systemically creating greater levels of isolation of individuals and families and opening up our time to be filled with something...and because of economics, what it has been filled with is more work.

    On some level, I am hoping the economic crisis continues just enough to push us into a new Renaissance period in which it is actually possible for people to spend lives studying and innovating not just working to keep things going as they always have. The way we live now, it is nearly impossible for there to be "Renaissance men" (or women). Surely we didn't all want this for ourselves.

    I suppose that is all a bit of a tangent, but maybe there is at least some satisfaction in not being alone in the struggle.

    All that said, do you think it would be possible to get just a little help? Maybe hire a (non-professional..."teen labor" or otherwise) person who was willing to come over and clean up after pets and do the dishes a few times a week or something? Clean the bathroom? Just *something*?

  2. Okay, I've never read your hands but that sounds suspiciously like a post from someone in the "school of service".

    I think that even though it feels impossible to take any time for self care when life feels really hectic, it is the most effective way to change the situation and you end up being much more productive when you do work. Are you getting any time for yourself these days at all?

    I've totally been there and felt incredibly resentful, at the same time, I had to notice my uncanny tendency to never ask for help, or have a really hard time receiving help if someone did offer.

    Hang in there!


  3. Three things: Way to go on a great start up at church! Woot!

    Two: this is a season in life, and you will get through!

    Three: It is a huge gift to invite RE Committees (ours is an RE Council) into shared leadership.....they'll rise to the occasion...let some of the burden rest on their shoulders.

    Hey, I should listen to my own advice!!! Start up is almost over, we're bound to have a few more moments in a few more weeks!


  4. Oh yes, and second to Kari's suggestion of getting help at church too, not just at home. When attendance is up, *everybody* in a shared ministry takes that on including sometimes the newcomers who are eager to be asked.