One afternoon, as I was working, a co-worker asked me how it was going. She knew I had been home and was struggling with the transition. Everyone I worked with was great about understanding I was having a break down pretty much all the time. This particular day as she asked how I was doing I was feeling a little overwhelmed. And this woman had kids and had been working full time for years and didn’t seem to be about to fall apart all the time so I asked her, “how do you do it?” I told her how overwhelmed I felt and how my house was always a mess and there wasn’t time to do anything. She was really nice and encouraging but the only thing I remember her saying is, “honestly, my house is always a mess.” I don’t know why but it was so comforting. I didn’t get the impression from her that she lived in some episode of horders but simply that her house existed in the chaos of life.
You might not have been one of those homemakers with a perpetually clean house but whatever level of chaos you lived with before I bet it is worse now. And my co-worker’s comment made me realize, that is OK.
When I was home full time my house got cleaned, I was organized, laundry got done, groceries bought and dinner served. I am a list maker so I would make lists but honestly I didn’t need them. I had a routine, a schedule and I just did it the way I had been doing it for years. I didn’t have to think, “I need to do laundry”. I just did it. But now I wasn’t home to do laundry and it wasn’t on my radar and suddenly we had no clean clothes. And no clean dishes and there is a ring around my toilet. And I haven’t gotten around to cleaning up that spill from 3 days ago! How does this happen???
Remember when you were a fresh new stay-at-home mom? Remember that feeling of being overwhelmed as you juggled taking care of your children with taking care of your home? You read all those books on how to clean, get organized and manage your schedule with a calendar system. This is the place for you to re-learn all those tricks and get tips specific to your needs as a working mom.
Keep in mind that the same advice I give to new moms applies to new working moms, “Give yourself a year.” It takes a year to loose the weight, a year for the baby to get to an age where you are really sleeping through the night (or more…), a year to re-discover your routine and how to do life with a new person in your home. There may be many days before then when you think you are on top of your life but at the end of the day most parents agree, it takes a year. And as you transition back to work trying to figure out how to maintain your home, keep your pantry organized and get to all your kids soccer games on time, just know, it takes a year. Maybe more. But in time you will find your new groove, your laundry will get done, your toilet will get cleaned and you will feel at peace in your home once again.
But honestly, my house is always a mess. And I am OK with that.