Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Confessions of a Slob

Isn't it funny how something so seemingly insignificant can trigger a memory so profound?

Here's some background. Never in my wildest imagination would I have ever thought that I would be a stay-at-home mother. I had so many preconceived notions of stay-at-home mothers. They were dowdy. They were boring. All they thought about were children and housekeeping. This wasn't for me, no way. I was going to have a life. I was going to be interesting. I wasn't good at housekeeping and I didn't want to be - I was better than that.

Fast forward to our first year of marriage, I commuted and worked and baked a baby. And once our sweet son arrived and it came time to make the decision to return to work or not - I reluctantly decided to stay at home with this little stranger - but I had no plan, no goals, and no vision. Exhaustion had clouded my view so profoundly that it guided all of my decisions. Basically, I was too tired to return to work, so I didn't.

And I became that person I feared most - uninspired, boring, and exhausted. I learned to embrace motherhood, but I did not embrace the care of the household. The mess was a source of comfort. It meant that I didn't have to housekeep. It meant that I still had a hold on my precious individuality.

Luckily, my identity crisis didn't last long. The Catholic Church crept quietly into my life and started to permeate all of the cracks that had appeared in my life. Soon, I was transfixed, transported and uplifted by all of the new ideas that were offered by our catechism classes. The fog started to roll back and I found myself awake for the first time in months. And I will never forget the day that a friend explained to me the idea that motherhood and married life are a vocation unto themelves. That they should be pursued with the same vigor as any education or career path.

I had some major work to do.

So with the help of prayer and faith and good friends and family, I have made our marriage, these children, and the care of this house my personal mission. And ironically, I feel liberated. I feel like I am home. And I think I have done a fairly good job. There are lots of things I think I do quite well, including keeping the house neat and pretty and (mostly) clean.

This brings me back to Grant. A few days ago, he stumbled upon a small corner of our bedroom that goes hidden for the most part. It is a small parcel of our home where I throw my crap: damp towels, worn pajamas, not-quite-dirty clothes. I go through it periodically, but there is always a pile there. And Grant says to me, "When are you going to clean up this pile here?" And I said, "You leave my pile alone. It is mine. I need my pile."

He looked at me with true confusion, "Why do you still need that pile?"

Why indeed? I can clean it up - I just don't want to. Is it some remnant of my life as a slob? Does it represent some sort of silent rebellion that I haven't acknowledged?

I don't know. But I keep hearing the words, "Why do you still need that pile?" And now, I too, am wondering why.


Betty Duffy said...

Was there a full moon last night? Joe wanted to get rid of my pile too. ONly mine is a stack of papers on the microwave that I keep there, planning to go through, until I have waited so long, I've missed all the important dates they contain. It's my avoidance pile--how to avoid committing to boyscouts or basketball? Hold onto the flier with "the best intentions" of putting it on the calendar--but shucks, we missed it.

Joe held a match to my pile last night, and I panicked. WAIT! I need to address the important information contained in that pile! So I did it--put everything on the calendar--and now I'm stressed out. I want my pile back.

Anonymous said...


Sharon Kieffer Steele said...

Betty, Seriously. I know what you mean about being stressed. It seems like getting rid of the offending pile should make one feel better - but for me at least - it does the opposite. Truly, I feel so attached to my pile of crap that the thought of permanently ridding of it makes me, well, stressed.

Anonymous, You are freaking hilarious.

Emily J. said...

Wait a minute - what about MY piles? Last night I went through a pile with the intention of getting rid of it before Dan gets home, so I sorted it into three piles, recyled about 3 sheets, and then stuffed it into my "desk organizer," which is really only a pile on its ends, with room for little doodads. I thought we accumulated a lot of paper when we were homeschooling, but now the kids are in school, I get about 10x as much paper. We get 4 reminders of scouts, 4 reminders of Halloween fundraiser, 4 pages to collect box tops. . . And what to do with all that art work?

Anonymous said...

sharonksteele.blogspot.com; You saved my day again.

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