...because we all have our motley moments!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I really should be packing. In fact, that's what my Facebook status says: "Liz Sebring should be packing." This weekend we are going to Alabama to visit my grandmother and it's going to be COLD. Today the high is 35, but it feels like 23. Since I live in Florida, I don't have a lot of warm clothes, and neither do my children. Riddle me this: How do kids know when you're busy and have a lot to get done? For instance, my youngest child refused to nap yesterday afternoon and was up for an hour and a half last night. He napped this morning but is currently in his bed, yelling and playing. He's almost 1 and onto more solid foods and rarely spits up; however, today he got choked on a fry at Beef O'Brady's and vomited on his (warm, long-sleeved) shirt. Then I gave him a bottle and changed his shirt (a warm, long-sleeved one) and he spit up all over that, as well as all over his (warm) pants. I had to go in his room, where my older son is napping, to get him another (warm) outfit, which he spit up on. And no, he's not sick. Some days he's just a little spitty. I left him in that outfit for his nap, which he better take today, or Mommy's going to have a psychotic episode. Anyway, I had all the laundry done but I guess I'll have to do more or Micah will be wearing a diaper and socks in 30-degree weather. Did I mention he also spit up on my jeans and I only have 2 pairs of jeans? 
I think I had a point here somewhere...
Oh, yeah.
I'm having an identity crisis. In fact, I've been having one for nearly 3 years. I used to be a teacher and I was good. I had a great rapport with my kids and got them to be (a little) excited about Romeo and Juliet. I did tae kwon do all the time and I was a little cocky about that and my husband and I went out often and went away for the weekend and my house was just-so mainly because we paid someone to clean it. But I didn't mind paying her because I'm not really a "housework and diapers" kind of girl.
And then we had kids.
And we (mainly I) decided to stay home with said kids and quit teaching.
I'm not complaining. We are blessed that I can be a stay-at-home mom. However (that's just a fancy "but," isn't it?), my identity is different. Teaching can definitely be a thankless pursuit, but there's an end to it. Pile of essays on my desk? Graded, done. Grades to be turned in? Done. With kids, though...it's not like you change their diaper and you're done. Or you feed them and you're done. Even when you put them to bed at night you're not done. You're never done! It often feels like an exercise in futility, like I'm Sisyphus rolling that stone up the hill every day. 
We stopped paying the lady to clean our house when I decided to stay home, but we have recently found ourselves in a situation of having extra money each month so my husband called her and she's coming back. I have mixed feelings. Of course I'm glad I don't have to clean my house so often anymore. But I finally figured out the best way to clean our shower. I know how to get the floors looking good. These are things that give me a sense of accomplishment that I don't feel when I'm taking care of my kids. These are things that I can get done. Truthfully, though, I don't have time to clean unless I don't take care of myself. I need quiet time during my children's naps. I need to work out. Every day. Not just because I'm testing for my third degree black belt in March, but because I have learned the hard way that regular exercise is the key to not getting depressed. Today my MIL was here and I told her that we're hiring the cleaning lady back again and she said, "Liz, that will be so good for you." She explained that she didn't hire anyone to clean their house until her kids were grown and that life would have been much easier for her if she had. I know not everyone can hire someone to clean their house. In fact, that's part of the reason why I hesitated about hiring her back - because I feel guilty. I feel lazy. I feel like I should be cleaning my own house. But I've been in therapy long enough to know that "shoulds" don't matter. Last week at MOPS we wrote down what we thought our priorities from God are. Mine did not include cleaning my own house. And who says I should clean my own house? Not God. Not my husband. Not me. 
My identity crisis is not over. I think I will be figuring out my identity for the rest of my life. I think I will have several "identities" over the years. But I'm happy. And I'm not going to give in to the "shoulds" in my head. The cleaning lady will not be doing my laundry or packing, though, so I guess I "should" go do that myself.
Note: After reading over this, I realize that I might sound a little whiny and you might want to say to me, quoting "Friends", "Oh, poor me! My fifties won't fit in my wallet and my diamond shoes are too tight!" Feel free to do so. But I'm posting this as is because I believe in brutal honesty and because, well, I'm motley for sure.


Pam said...

Hey Liz - you are right. It is really hard to fight the shoulds. I thought we were done with peer pressure in high school, but it just finds different ways to tempt us. If you can be a better mom by paying someone to clean your house, I say - You go girl!

Bryssy said...

Would you mind paying her to come and clean my house, too??

Jason and Fawnda said...

I tell you what- I am jealous! I wish we had cleaning lady- oh wait- that would be me! If I had extra cash that would be the first thing that I would spend it on! If it gives you more time to be a better mom and a better you- YOU GO GIRL!

Karly said...

I love having a cleaning lady--no guilt here!

Now, cleaning up the house so the cleaning lady can actually clean- that's the hard part! :)

Liz said...

For real - I do that, too. The poor lady - my son follows her around, stealing the broom from her and trying to "help." Fortunately, she adores my children.

Maria said...

Hope you have a great trip!

Donna said...

I would totally hire a cleaning helper...it's something I "should" do, since I haven't figured out the best way to get it all done. Maybe that's what your next post "should" be about. ;-D

However (yes, that's a BIG but), the job falls to me to keep some semblance of order and cleanliness around here, which mostly means it's clean in at least one room a day...the rest of the house...not so much!

Donna said...

Oh, and maybe it's just me, but cleaning the bathroom is my favorite job...it doesn't get cluttered like the rest of the house. Scrub the bowl, scrub the sink and tub, mop the floor, and I'm done. And it sparkles like no other room in the house. There's just something about clean porcelain.