Day in the Life

e1d57-atoz2019tenthannI talk a lot about my management strategies – how I keep my life in order, how I clean, how I manage and organize my life, my time, my home.  And those strategies work, when I can keep up with them.

But sometime parenthood, work, and ADHD create a perfect storm and I spend days overwhelmed and exhausted.  On those days, it doesn’t take much to catalyze a full-blown backwards slide — it just takes a lapse in my hyper-vigilance.  It takes one day of not paying attention to start everything falling back into chaos again.

I feel like bloggers, especially parent bloggers (and vloggers) don’t like to showcase that.  And I guess, in some ways, that makes sense – why would we?  Why would we want people looking at our own imperfect lives when we’ve been conditioned that media for consumption (especially media revolving around family) has to be cultivated and curated to show only the Best Of?  Why would we, as media consumers, want to look at other people’s messes, when our own lives can be so chaotic?

But, I mean… we should.  I’m sorry, we should.  Because as much as I will continue to strive to be better at keeping up with my responsibilities, I refuse to believe that my chaos is that much worse than other people’s — and if it is, then you deserve to see what it is I’m grappling with.

I feel like so much of the pressure on me — the pressure I put on myself — is because I feel like everyone else is in such a better place than me.  And don’t get me wrong, if I found out all my friends had chaotic houses, it wouldn’t make me less ambitious to keep my house in order (I objectively function better in a more organized environment), but maybe I’d feel like less of a failure.  Like, less of an abject failure as an adult, a partner, a parent.

This is, in no way, the worst of the worst.  But this is my house.  This is what I woke up to this morning.

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To reiterate — this is mild.  This is, “my husband’s day off is Wednesday, so he spent time doing some picking-up while I was at work and my son was at child care but my son spent the night at home with the stomach bug and I managed to get nothing else done.”  You should see the house after “hell week at work” or “Jessica had the flu,” or “overzealous attempt at an especially ambitious art project.”  Those’ll strike fear into your hearts.

For so many of us — parents, neurodivergent folk, people with health issues, etc. — especially those of us who feel like we are part of blogger/vlogger lifestyle culture, representations of actual, unstaged chaotic homes are legitimately important.

We are not failures.  We just get overwhelmed sometimes.

We are not bad parents.  Housecleaning just takes a back seat to other parenting duties sometimes.

We are not slobs.  We just have executive dysfunction issues.

I’m not proud of my chaos, but I’m tired of being ashamed of it.

Saturday morning, I start over, and hope I have a better, longer run this time.

Author: Jessica Cross

Writer, maker, geek, feminist, mom. Not necessarily in that order.

One thought on “Day in the Life”

  1. I once worked for a woman who hired me because all my references (and she called ALL of them, who does that?) said I was organized and methodical. And I am. It is my nature. I can’t work or live in anything less. Once hired, she (my new boss) said she was very disorganized and wanted me to get things cleaned up and organized for her. We shared a large office. So I started at my of the room and created order and organization. As I approached her half of the room I told her I was ready to “invade her space” so to speak. She said fine. She would be out of town for a week. I had free range. At the end of the week she returned and everything was neat, tidy and easy to find (for me.). I gave her a tour of the space and she was thrilled. About 2 weeks later, her half of the room looked like I never touched it. Stuff everywhere. She was frustrated. She asked why she couldn’t keep things neat. I asked her to retrieve a specific file from her stacks of mess. She easily and quickly produced the file. She knew where everything was. She didn’t need my methods. Her methods looked messy but were totally fine for her and her productivity – which I told her. Different strokes for difference folks! Never a more true statement. Don’t beat yourself up. Do what you can and let the rest go!

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