Monthly Archives: October 2011

The stuff will not win…I will win

I am a horrible housekeeper. I mean seriously bad. I mean, I get nervous and embarrassed when friends, even very close friends, drop by and I apologize about the state of things as they attempt to find somewhere to sit.

It has nothing to do with not caring about my house. It has nothing to do with lack of skill. I am terrible at staying on task. I start to clean one room, and I go to put something away in another room. I start to clean the other room before remembering “Oh yeah! I was cleaning something else!” This lack of focus makes it very difficult to complete anything in a reasonable amount of time, so I often don’t even start.

I really think I just missed out on the clean gene. My parents are both, in general, quite organized. My mom’s house is always tidy with pockets of clutter. The clutter generally exists in areas where she hangs out a lot (as it does for most people), but otherwise, her house is neat. My dad’s office is fairly neat, though his desk at home can get buried under piles of things, but he is not generally untidy. Because they both have tendencies toward clutter, I think I got both of their recessive traits. I don’t admit to being below average at many things, but I am definitely below average when it comes to maintaining a semi-tidy home.

Right now, my living room looks like my house imploded. There are 3 baskets of clean laundry that have been sitting here for days. There are toys everywhere (such is the life of a home with 2 preschool aged children in it). The couch is half-covered with one of the laundry baskets and the remnants of a craft project from earlier tonight. Honestly, now that I write it, that doesn’t sound that bad as an occasional problem, but that is the average state of my living room. I always hesitate to post pictures of my children to Facebook or anywhere else when they are taken with a cluttered background because everyone else’s FB pictures always seem to have a clutter-free background.

Sadly, the clutter in our house often becomes a part of the decor. We start to walk around it because we get used to it being there. Case in point: We had a garage sale about a month ago. The leftovers are still sitting in the dining room waiting to be donated. I keep walking around the tub they are in rather than doing anything with it. Sometimes I look at it and think, “Ugh! I have to take that tomorrow.” But I generally just walk around it.

There are several reasons why my house is always cluttered (not that I’m making excuses or anything). Here are the top 5:

1. I am a pack-rat, and my husband is also a pack-rat (though he would argue with that). I tend to save things that I think will have a use later: Partially used notebooks, bits of ribbon or fabric or anything craft-related, boxes, bottles of lotion, soap, cleansers, etc. that have even a little bit left in them. I also save sentimental items. “Oh, grandma gave you that stuffed animal.” “That was sister’s first drawing of a person.” “We can’t throw away Little Bit’s first coloring sheet of the letter L!” Hubby has lots of hats, sunglasses, and golf paraphernalia. Big stuff that takes up space.

2. I value my screen time too much. I love to watch TV, and I love to be on the computer. I don’t really know why…but it’s part of my down time. I have a very difficult time walking away from my screens to go do productive things. I am definitely a child of my generation in that respect.

3. I genuinely dislike doing housework. Some of my friends say they don’t LIKE it, but they don’t really mind it, and some tasks I don’t really mind either. Some are just time-consuming or inconvenient (laundry, tidying rooms, etc.), but other tasks I genuinely have to drag myself to do: dishes, cleaning floors, yeah, pretty much just those.

4. I have two small children who make doing anything productive while they are awake almost impossible. Sometimes, when I am in a mellow mood, and they are being helpful, I let them help, but there is only so much they can do. I feel very confident that if my house was a little more organized I might feel differently about them helping, but as it is, I usually feel like they are in the way, so I don’t bother. Then after they are asleep, I worry about waking them up by being loud while cleaning…so I blog.

5. It’s just going to get messed up again. Hubby feels this way too, so he often doesn’t do things that might make the house tidier overall because it feels so futile.

Well, tomorrow begins the first day of my new commitment to gaining control of my house. I am taking the morning to clean and setting up a plan to keep things under control. I will kick this problem in the proverbial ass. I am so tired of looking around and thinking, “Uggggghhhhh…” I would like to be able to have people over without having to take a day off work to get the house in a presentable state. A little kid clutter is one thing. It is expected when one has small children, but ours goes beyond that. I will win this fight. The clutter will not beat me. I am strong. I am invincible. I am…wait…that’s a whole other thing. But I AM woman…and I will defeat the stuff. That is all.

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Stop with the Booby Traps…Just let women nurse in peace

Love this post! This woman has hit the nail on the head. I am by no means an expert on anything. I have had a lot more training than most in the subject of human development (I have 2 post-graduate degrees in it), but I have only been a parent for just over 4 years. I breastfed for approximately 22 months, and I have been the mother of 2 for almost 16 months. I am not an expert…but I don’t claim to be. I try really hard not to be an outspoken activist about too many things because I tend to go for a more subversive role (think liberal feminism here). I tend to go for the angle that makes me less intimidating: “She looks like me, therefore she probably thinks like me. I can listen to her” then I drop the bomb. The bomb might even be candy-filled, but it can still flatten you. Wait…what was I talking about? Oh right…

The “Babble” blog the author above refers to is just down-right ridiculous. The author had been breastfeeding for a grand total of one month. Odds are that she hadn’t even fed in public that often up to the point she wrote the blog. This is apparently the edited version and now includes this disclaimer: “editors Note: Because we feel this post might be shaming or hurtful to breastfeeding mothers, it has been modified from its original version. Like each of the opinions expressed by Babble’s many bloggers, no single one represents the brand as a whole.” That is horrifying to me. I introduced the idea of “booby traps” to my Developmental Psychology class today. I told them the pun is intended (which it is), but this is unacceptable! A person cannot be claiming to help breastfeeding mommies and then say to them:

“And here’s what I wonder: You must not be covering up if you’re getting a rise out of people for feeding your kid in public, right?”

Um…wrong! I always covered up in public…always. That was, I understood at the time, more for others’ comfort than my own, but it was somewhat for my comfort too. I am even uncomfortable in very low-cut tops, so the idea of someone actually seeing my nipple in public (even if there was a baby latched to it) was very embarrassing to me! The fact that my husband accidentally texted a photo of me to his brother while I was in the hospital after the birth of my first daughter still makes me blush a little. I have nursed at ballgames, restaurants, zoos, museums, my brother’s senior awards assembly, church, the mall…it’s not really that big a deal…except that it is. Babies don’t really like having blankets on their faces…especially after they have learned to play peek-a-boo! Cut to wrestling a 12 month old who is under a fleece blanket in a hot auditorium, and I really wished I had just foregone the blanket. Women like the Babble writer try to come across as cute and ironic, but they come across as ignorant, judgmental, and mean. In a few months, when her baby is a little less docile and a lot more mobile, she can write again and apologize. If she was simply writing a blog of her own experience, I don’t think it would have gotten as much publicity. She wasn’t simply telling us, “Here’s what has happened to me this month,” she was saying: “Here’s what has happened to me, so why do all you OTHER women who keep griping about getting stared out and kicked out of places keep flashing your boobs at everyone?!”

Most women who do nurse in public do so discretely. Even if they don’t throw a blanket over the baby, they likely throw something over their boob! I became quite an expert at using a cloth diaper or my t-shirt as a shield.

Am I nursing here? Perhaps. Hard to tell? That's kinda the point.

I have honestly never had anyone say anything mean to me while breastfeeding in public. More often than not, no one knew what I was doing. I did, however, get odd looks sometimes. The comments I did get were actually positive. One I remember in particular was with my second daughter. I was in a small downtown shop in a neighboring town. She came up and told me how nice it was to see me feeding my daughter there. She had been kicked out of a restaurant once, so she always made a point to comment when she saw someone feeding so they would know they were appreciated. I will always remember that. I usually try to smile if I make eye-contact with a women feeding her child to put her at ease and let her know that she is not being judged…at least not by me.

Feed your kids in public. No one ever tells a woman who is giving a bottle to a baby that she would be more comfortable in the bathroom (and yes, for those of you thinking, “But that’s not the same thing!”…it is the same thing). Until we see more women nursing in public, we as a culture won’t be comfortable with it.

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