I am not sure where I got this from, but I have lived for a very long time with the idea that I must do everything, and do it well. Anything short of perfect is failure. For years I have been successful at balancing my life between work, school, family, and everything else. Which made it very difficult to admit that I am overwhelmed. Almost as if every semester brings on a new level of stress (yes, I live my life in semesters), adding a little bit more every time, unnoticeable at first, until I look back to a year ago and realize my workload and responsibilities, even outside of school, have tripled.
So I stopped sleeping, stopped functioning properly, and I think even my body is reacting to and rebelling against it. My hair either started falling out, or I am pulling it out, not sure. Thankfully I have plenty of it. But even more difficult is admitting to myself that I need to ask for help. I cannot in fact do it all, and somehow that is going to have to be okay.
What can I offload somewhere? Well, work is work, school is school, my kids are a priority, and the list continues with things that I can’t give up, and can’t really get help with.
I looked around and realized what I need help with is where I live. It is a mess. I mean, it is not dirty, since I am never home to get anything dirty. I guess that is a perk of being at work seventy hours per week. There are still stacks of things on the floor, things that need to be put away, an infinite amount of clothes, shoes, books, and general stuff, and I have a very finite amount of storage space. As in, none.
Tomorrow I am seeing Mary, and picked a place down the street to have dinner. We were all excited and she was going to come over for the first time. I panicked. Where do I shove everything? Well, she will want to see the rooms, so piling the kids’ room ceiling high won’t work. This is a project I was going to undertake during winter break, but now, now it needs to get done. There was a time in my life when people would randomly show up at my house, and I would open the door with snacks and coffee and drinks. Now I stand by the door, blocking entry to everyone but Tanya, afraid to let anyone see how the person they all believed to be so put together has privately fallen apart.
Mary wanted to change venues, and we are actually going to meet in the valley. Crisis averted. But it made me realize where I can actually get help. So, after I (finally!) get everything in order, and put things where they belong to where I won’t barricade my door in terror at the idea of someone seeing what I have done (or haven’t been doing), I am going to get a cleaning lady once a month.
Yes, I am a woman, and I have lived my life believing that as a woman I have to keep house. That is my domain, and even if I can’t do anything else, I need to be domestic. Which is why it was so hard to come to terms with the fact that that is exactly what I haven’t been doing, and even harder to accept that I need help with it. How can I need help with something I was born to do? Ultimate failure. And I have to deal with this, move on, and hire a cleaning lady.
Again, I am never home, so as long as I lightly maintain the cleaning she will do once a month, everything should be fine, and I can open my doors to friends and family (my mother has not set foot in my house, partly because she doesn’t drive freeways, and partly because she is highly judgmental and I will never hear the end of it).
In February I will get hired help. In the meantime I will figure out where to put everything. I don’t want her to clean around my piles. Buying some furniture to put things on and into would probably help.
And with the idea of asking for help, if anyone speaks Swedish, Finish, Dutch, Danish, or Norwegian, I have some bookcases that will need assembly…