Thursday, October 18, 2012

finding the balance

One of the things we've really struggled with is finding the balance between all of our priorities and other less urgent things around the house. I've always been type A personality who requires a clean/uncluttered space to really be able to relax. If I know there are things around the house that need done I can't just sit around and put it off til later because it will bug me. Jon is quite opposite. He thrives in chaos. There were several instances when we lived in Chicago that he would call me in a panic early in the morning because "my parents are going to be here in a few hours and there's no way I can get this place cleaned up by then... can you come help me please?" He is the type that literally left rotten food and spoiled milk in his fridge because they were 'contained' and he didn't see the need in pitching them. I am the type who flies around our house like an OCD cleaning tornado, sucking up all wayward socks, candy wrappers and cobwebs... most of which were left lying around by my better albeit messier half. We found our stride for a while because I fully understand Jon doesn't mind (or typically even notice) a mess. I had no issue being the primary house cleaner since it bugged me infinitely more than Jon, and Jon would pitch in when I was in a cleaning frenzy. It worked really well... until we had a baby and it didn't anymore.

Here's my dilemma. A typical weekday (just for me) looks like this:
-wake up between 5 and 6 to nurse Elden (this occurs when he wakes up)
-get ready for work when I'm done nursing him
-go back in to nurse him for a little bit right before I leave for work to hold him over until 9 am
-leave for work / be at work / drive home from work about 7:30 - 4:45
-take Elden off Jon's hands if he needs to do homework (he usually does) and try to eat dinner until 6
-nurse Elden / have "activity time" from about 6-7:15; put him down for a nap and pray he naps
-prepare Elden's bottles and make mine and Jon's lunches for the next day from 7:15-7:45 (or later if Elden keeps waking)
-miscellaneous urgent housework (typically laundry thanks to our spit-uppy little guy) 7:45-8
-try and relax for half an hour; usually interrupted by a little mister who wants to be where the action is
-Elden's bath and bedtime routine (which includes nursing) 8:30-9:30
-shower and get ready for bed 9:30-9:45
-talk to Jon and sleep
watching daddy shave
Jon is AMAZING with Elden. His weekdays are filled up with school, stay-at-home dad 2 full days a week (with school one of those nights as well), homework, and then working crazy hours on weekends. That being said I realize it sounds like he does nothing at all... this is quite untrue. He helps with Elden during weeknights if he's not sleeping so I can get the main stuff like making Elden's bottles done. He also does offer to help quite frequently. However, I know Jon gets stressed out with multiple commitments much easier than I tend to. This is not a negative thing by any means--I totally get it. It's my Type A that allowed me to work AND do classes full-time all through my undergrad and postgrad education. Where I struggle is I try not to ask him for any help on house stuff because I know he's already so overwhelmed by what he's got going on but then resentment sometimes creeps in where it feels like I do everything. The simple solution would be to hire a cleaning company once or twice a month so I wouldn't have to stress about as much such as cleaning the dang hardwood floors that are perpetually dirty. However, we recently redid our budget now that deferment is ending on my student loans we will barely be making ends meet.

On the whole I haven't had any major meltdowns over those darn dusty baseboards, but mostly because I don't have a choice. When forced to choose between dust-free baseboards and sleep I will choose sleep every. time. So where should the balance be? Should I give up all together on the stuff I'd like to have done around the house? The problem lies in my inability to relax when I have any items on my mental checklist, which is always. I don't know how to shut that part of my brain off, but I also don't want to miss out on Elden's childhood because I'm always off cleaning something. Any tips on how to handle this?
evening walk on an indian summer type of night


  1. Funny how priorities change, no?

  2. I broke up my chores over the days and just do one each day (example: Monday bathrooms, Tuesday dusting, Wednesday sweeper, etc.). I don't know where you would fit that in, but doing just one made it more manageable than being faced with all of them at once. And each one really only takes 15 or so minutes.

  3. I also divided them up... I have an index card for each day of the week and a detailed list for each day. My days are divided by areas of the house (bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, main living area, etc). The items on each card are prioritized and the cards are too, so I can do the top priority items when I don't have a lot of time. This may also help Jon to help you out with a couple items without feeling overwhelmed, even if he doesn't see the need on his own. I often get distracted so I try to focus on what's on the card and let the rest go unless I have a lot of extra time/motivation.