I hired a cleaning lady yesterday. I can’t believe I paid someone to clean my house. But only because it adds to the judgments I feel on mothers … on me.
I should be able to do this myself.
During my post partum depression, I did not know how to clean. I didn’t have the energy or mental ability to think about emptying the dishwasher. It was too daunting. I couldn’t fathom what it would take to pick up the dirty laundry and put it in the wash…it was all utterly overwhelming and the tasks consumed me every day; taunting me. Mocking me.
I didn’t even know how to put my son down and have a shower. I can’t tell you how many times I wound up sobbing on the bathroom floor, naked and wet, holding my son while the hot shower filled the room with a heavy blanket of steam and depression.
My house was not just messy, it was dirty, and I was completely ashamed. I hated when people visited.
I was overwrought with the thought, “I should be able to do this.”
My mom, my amazing mom, would come over and clean my entire house from top to bottom. She would scrub walls, toilets and bathtubs…and I would sit and talk. Incapable of knowing how to even begin helping. Feeling guilty as ashamed to not be helping … and she just cleaned. Never asking for anything in return, she just wanted to help. Words will never be enough to thank her for her help. She knew. She just knew. She gave me a space to feel relaxed in. A few days peace before it was all headed for ruin again. And she didn’t ask. She just did. I pray I will be that same kind of mother, of person, for my kids, that she is to us.
But since joining a challenge group, becoming an online personal health and fitness coach, taking my fitness and ultimately my life back, I’ve been able to tidy. I’ve been able to start building habits that lead to a cleaner, healthier home environment.
But I can’t catch up.
I didn’t ask my mom for as much help as I should have, because truth be told I was ashamed in front of her as well. She raised me. And I failed at an area she excelled in. She kept a clean home. Raised two kids. And I couldn’t. So I didn’t ask for help from someone who would always give it without judgment.
Because of this, there’s still layers of grime around my home that need attention. A home deserves to be taken care of. Not perfect, but it’s my home. And I now can take pride in caring for the place we raise our kids. Not in perfection, but not in filth.
So I hired help. And it was weird.
I still passed judgment on myself … should this be where I spend this money? Is it worth sacrificing other things? Am I that person now?
And just who is that person that I had such a hard time becoming? The mom who’s home so much and still doesn’t get her house clean. What does she do all day anyways? The mom who can go get her nails done but can’t seem to get the walls and windows washed? Must be nice to afford such a luxury.
And then I realize, who am I to judge others, but most importantly, who am I to judge myself? I think mommy wars are waged inside…not just out.
I think they start with us.
I think they start with a lack of honesty.
Well, here’s me being honest.
I can’t do it all. I haven’t figured it out yet. I was depressed, and I needed help. I asked for help.
I prefer to cook all our meals, and buy very little pre-made food. I’ve even begun experimenting with granola bars. Hello, my name is Michelle and I am a crunchy mom.
I prefer to workout before I scrub the toilets. I put eating well and fitness above other things. Hello, my name is Michelle and I am a fit mom.
I like to spend time outside with my son, I like to have coffee and read books while he naps instead of folding laundry, I like to catch up with friends and arrange play dates and set up fitness groups for pregnant moms because my passion is to help.
Hello. My name is Michelle, and I am a real person. I am a real mom.
And sometimes, I need help.