Posts Tagged ‘June Cleaver’

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Mom Guilt … Will it work?

November 17, 2012

I am not the perfect June Cleaver housewife. Never claimed to be. I’m not a hoarder either but I could see that I walk a fine line between becoming OCD or a hoarder … so please do not mock my mess or you could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. That being said, my mess has order (to me any way). It rarely contains actual trash though when I purge I usually can catharticly have bags full to donate or dump.

When the children were little I used to make the excuse that I cannot get to my stuff, my rooms, because I was always cleaning up after them. Always is actually the incorrect word to use because time spent cleaning was relatively low on the scale of how I spent my day. But when I did devote time to cleaning it was to clean their rooms, their bathroom, and the public rooms (kitchen and living room). This meant when guests were over they at least had a clean bathroom and the door to my bedroom remained closed.

I have tried rewards. I have tried punitive rewards. I have tried bribes. I have tried allowances. I have threatened to throw things away. I have pleaded with them that if their room was not up to the Chief’s standards HE was going to force me to 1. throw their things away and 2. make me give up my retail therapy!

My children are not stupid. They have figured out that if they can only outlast my angered shouts and screaming “You live in a pigsty” that I will eventually accomplish in the space of 30 minutes what I had been screaming at them to do ALL afternoon.

I cannot fault them for exhibiting the same tendencies as me. They come by it naturally. But there are things that I just cannot grasp. The amount of honest trash that my oldest leaves in her room like a trail of destruction is staggering. Wrappers of all sorts and crumpled, useless papers. TRASH. Broken toys. I challenge anyone to go through my piles and ask me what something is for I and I will be able to tell exactly what project/scrapbook I am saving it for. But you will not find trash.

I am almost to the point where I will have to make sure that anything in our house does not come in a wrapper–food, toy, clothes, you name it. Gum wrappers are the worst. And the culprit who buys her the most gum is my mother!

I have recently taken to saying, “No, no, don’t bother. Your maid is here. I will do it.” Because apparently screaming “I am NOT your maid!” had very little effect.

Tuesday before the Chief and I left for the awards dinner, he left a very prominent note for T1 that her bathroom (T2 has hers as well) was not in an acceptable state and that she needed to remedy the situation. Wednesday it looked pretty much the same when we got home. At least the babysitter had T2’s bathroom or mine to use. And honestly, I did not expect the babysitter to be the heavy–what was she going to do? Enforce “You can’t go to scouts if that bathroom is not clean”? That’s not fair to the sitter.

Thursday it looked the same. She had huge chunks of time both Wednesday and Thursday to bang out cleaning this bathroom. I would also like to point out that there has been a tube of toothpaste and a stick of deodorant on the floor for the entire week and I want to know which child is not brushing and starting to get a body odor funk. Thursday night while the Chief and I were meeting with two of T1’s teachers she and her sister were at the book fair planning their purchases. I bought several books for T1.

Friday I had company coming over. I could have cleaned a little more on Thursday to spare myself the frenzied cleaning I knew I’d have. But I didn’t. The Chief and I are a good team. He cleans the kitchen while I work on other rooms. He vacuumed up the greyhound hairballs. I spent almost 40 minutes scrubbing down T1’s bathroom. My guests were to arrive 15 minutes later and I still hadn’t gotten to the dining room or the living room. As I said, I spend so much time cleaning their stuff that I never get to mine.

Thankfully my guests ALL ended up 45 minutes late. I ate lunch with them in my gym clothes.

And my hands hurt. You see I was on antibiotics for a sinus infection and that means no Enbrel. I’m going on 18 days without a shot. Some may ask, you’re complaining about your hands hurting but you post that you can bench 130 lbs? There is a difference between grasping a bar and pushing with all your might for a few seconds to keep that bar from crushing you and the contortions scrubbing for 45 minutes can do to your hands. A HUGE difference.

About a year ago as I was finally starting treatment for the PsA the Chief had a conversation with the girls about their obligations to the family and that it would mean helping more as I may have physical limitations. It seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Afterall, I’ve been their maid for 11 years at this point.

When T1 got home from school, I said, “I used to make it an excuse to say I was always cleaning your rooms and your bathrooms and couldn’t get to my rooms. It was an easy excuse. Today, it was reality. I spent 45 minutes cleaning the bathroom you were told three days ago to clean. 45 minutes I was supposed to be using cleaning up the living room and dining room for my guests. And you know what? It hurt. My hands are killing me because I haven’t had a shot in over two weeks. You had time Wednesday and Thursday. And I bought you books. You owe me now. I cleaned your mess. You owe me.”

The Chief says, “Let me know what that Mom Guilt gets you… Good luck with that.”

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To Tell or Not to Tell

March 28, 2012

 

Barbara Billingsley

Barbara Billingsley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a roller coaster of a day. Sometimes I feel like when it rains it pours but then I look around me and I know it could be so much worse. Sometimes I just need DH.

I thought about this to distract myself from the panic attack I was having while driving to a doctor appointment. I thought about how I just wanted to even be able to talk to DH even if he could not be there with me. But what would I tell him?

What do you share with your husbands? Should it be any different if they work in an office or if they are on travel?

This isn’t June Cleaver’s world. I’m not sure it is Mrs. Huxtable’s, Mrs. Keaton’s, or Mrs. Seaver’s either.

A few year’s back, our Ladies’ Bible Class was studying : ?? I really cannot remember the book or the author and rather than give incorrect credit where credit isn’t due, I’ll just have to leave this blank. If I come across the book I’ll edit this post.

A couple of things happened in that class. First, while trying to be supportive and inclusive, there was still a great generational divide. Second, it was the presentation of the book that soured me more than the actual writing by the author. I didn’t give the author a chance really.

We talked about the needs of wives and husbands, what we need to do for each other at the end of a busy day, how we express needs and love. Much of this was done under the pretext the majority of the world still existed in June Cleaver’s perfect little scenario. Keep in mind the author may actually have been touching upon how a two-income family still had the same issues because we are fundamentally male and female, and whether the wife spent the day with rugrats or in a board room with equally annoying colleagues she was still going to approach her husband the same way to have her needs met.

However, in this class we focused a lot on how to make sure the husband was all happy and well taken care of when he got home from his hard day at work. Don’t get me wrong. I am a SAHM after all, but I think I’d still balk at this idea even if DH sat at a desk all day. I think it has to be a little more give and take on both sides then this. I remember proudly telling the other women that I have indeed called DH and told him “talk to his child” or that I had a lousy day. I’ve also had to tell him of the passing of seven family members, 6 being his.

One woman was aghast that I would do this while DH was on “deployment.” The class did come to the “conclusion” that in an ideal situation after the husband has had his June Cleaver moment, he will in fact while wearing his slippers and smoking jacket, full from a home cooked meal, ask us how our day went and that is the time we can share the trivial frustrations of little Timmy and pesky neighborhood gossip. But as I said, this woman, who has a full-fledged military son, clearly announced that she has reminded her daughter-in-law not to distract her son with these things.

First of all, I can gauge now when a person can tell the difference between the merchant marine and the military. Most often I just give up and use the more familiar terms such as deployment and tour. It is not worth the hassle.

I was a bit taken aback by this. I mulled over it for the next week as I prepared to teach the next chapter. Wouldn’t you know it but my topic was “Submission.” I’m sure many expected a younger generation equality rant but in all honesty I believe a marriage has to be founded on this because everyone, male and female have to submit, as Christ did.

I began the class with a disclaimer but not a retraction. I explained that cellphones do make it easier to stay in touch–I remember our dating days and first year of marriage of waiting for the “windows” when DH could get to the dock and the pay phone. But there is value in sharing even the most trivial, most mundane, the most frustrating aspects of our lives–for both parties. I gave this other woman respect and clearly stated that DH was not military and our situation did not compare to that of her son. I might think differently if DH’s trade routes changed, but at the time of the class and even now he is relatively secure. I would think about what might be a distraction. I also don’t think I’d call in the middle of the day if he worked in an office to tell how little Junior colored on the walls.

And yet at the same time, DH has told me such distractions help him with the day-to-day. They help him take his mind off a problem or to even know what day of the week it is. If I tell him about a problem, being able to support me and help me is such a change of pace and a way to stay connected. It helps him to feel needed and a vital part of the family. And this will preserve our family when he is home–he will feel less of an outsider.

I also quietly shared that I had the support of my in-laws whose military experience in the days when you only had 100 word Telexes and strict rules about what and when you could share news gave them an insight this other woman didn’t have. My MIL carried the burden of the passing of her own mother for three months before she could share with her husband. I cannot imagine that. Neither she nor my FIL have ever discouraged me from sharing with DH and have often told me what a blessing cellphones must be. My in-laws also understand that I do not have other wives to share this with.

Only recently have I hesitated sharing. The game changed when he took on the rank of Chief. I’m not sure either us knew what to expect. The pressure and responsibility is the greatest it has ever been. I think there are days when he doesn’t realize it has changed him, changed us. I am learning that sometimes I do have to be a little more judicious about when I share the trivial. We’re still working it out and having to work on vocal cues can be hard but I am trying to learn when the moment just isn’t right.

But today with the stress of the unexpected appointment, not knowing what would happen–would it be good or bad–I needed to share. Its harder though because we are back to “magic calling windows” again. He managed to find one and give me a call just before I went in. I’ll take what I can get. I think the return to not having almost immediate access to him is an added frustration. Sure, he was in range when we needed to discuss T1’s academic indiscretion or even to celebrate her selection to an exciting opportunity… but when I want to talk to him… have to wait. And it is hard.

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