November 1, 2010

How we keep it all together when I'm sick...

The support team: Zach, 8; Scott, 14; Daniel, 8; husband Joe; Audra, 6

In answer to the title: we don't.  First, allow me to lay out the scene for you.  Days on end of a mother who has been hit with the cold of the century.  OK, maybe just with the first cold of the season.  I need a clear voice in order to teach school lessons, so we nix the homeschooling for a few days.  I’m achy and tired, so all I can really do is read, watch TV, surf the web, visit my Facebook friends, and blog away.  And what happens to the well-oiled machine that is my household management routine?  Observe:

And these are just a few examples.  The whole house looks like this right now.  Let me be clear that this is not a criticism of the five other people in my family, whom I love with all my heart, and who would do anything for me and proved it this past week.  When my husband wasn’t at work, he took care of me, getting me drinks and medicine and tissues and such.  Each and every one of the kids did their normal household jobs, and my teenage son Scott even stayed on top of schoolwork he could do without me, even though I told him he could have a few days off.  They have all repeatedly offered me help over the past several days, and when they’ve offered, I’ve given them a task or two that would make things easier.  A couple times I’ve issued orders to my kids for clean-up without the offer coming in first, and they all readily and willingly pitched in.  But the bottom line is that it is my job to run the household, and I had to take sick days.
Now before you call TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive” about me, rest assured that I have woken up this morning feeling somewhat better and ready for action, and will tackle the mess that has accumulated over the past week.  My husband, who has the same cold but is tougher than I am, will go do his job, coughing his way through his day at work.  The kids will get back to their schoolwork and keep up their jobs around the house, while lending me a hand with mine.  And I will get through the day too, croaking out my kids’ lessons, doing the dishes, getting the Wilbur Laundromat process in full swing, and making that coffee table look a bit more serene than it does right now.   Not to mention those bathrooms
I shared these things with you today because too often we present to the rest of the world a façade of having-it-all-togetherness.  Out of pride, vanity, or shame, we like everyone to think we’re strong and invincible, even when we’re sick.  We don’t ask for outside help for fear of someone finding out our weaknesses or secret slobbiness.  But everyone, at least to some degree, lives the same way behind closed doors, don’t they?  So let that be an encouragement to you, or at the very least some small consolation, during the times when your house looks like those pictures.  Because no matter what you tell people, we all know that sometimes it does.  Whether it’s from sickness, or just having one of those days where nothing goes quite right, sometimes your counters will be covered in dirty dishes, and the laundry will be piled up, and you’ll be overwhelmed.  But it will get better - as soon as you do!
That all being said, don’t be surprised if at some point you see these same scenes in their clean state on this blog.  As much as I’m trying to be transparent with you all, my pride may get the better of me, and I may feel compelled to prove that I’m not a slob.  I’m only human!

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