Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Back on the Merry-go-Round

Did you miss me? 
It was a public holiday yesterday.  We spent three days doing nothing. 
OK, not nothing.  We slept a lot.  We ate like teenagers (and suffered like 30-somethings).  We did some light shopping.  We read.  Had really bad ‘Mexican’ food and then made ice cream sandwiches to console ourselves.  Pete went for a run.  We went to the movies and laughed pretty hard at really painfully embarrassing scenes while eating a large popcorn and sipping a large soda.  I was buzzing the rest of the night from the sugar (I haven’t had a soft drink in years). 
Like I said, nothing.  It was awesome. 

But now it’s time to get back to work.   Time to get back into the routine of work. 
Except I am still working on my routine.  I find that having a routine is a touchstone for me.  When the days start to blur together in a swirl of laundry, food prep, cleaning and personal projects, it is helpful to have a routine to click things back into perspective.  I know compartmentalizing can be dangerous, but it can also be helpful.  It can give you the freedom to get things done without feeling guilty that something else is moved to a different to-do list. 
I try not to be too rigid with my routine.  I want to be able to jump at opportunities, even if they are just getting coffee with another young housewife.  However, I need my routine and when it gets disrupted too frequently I feel a bit disconnected and lost and nothing gets done.  Like the routine is somehow still going without me and I can’t quite grasp it to get back on.  Like if I could just grab a hold of a particular moment, I could get it back.  I could get that control back. 
Because that is what my routine is to me right now.  It’s my way of feeling in control of my life when it feels very uncertain.  I swing between being Type-A and going with the flow.  Marriage has helped.  Being a housewife has helped.  When I was a student and in charge of house-stuff by default, I would cling to particular chores.  My research was always in a state of ordered chaos so being in charge of making the bed or particular meals gave me a bit of control.  This was mine.  Now that I am a full-time housewife I have let go of some of those chores.  Odd, I know.   And it is only recently that I have let go and let Pete help me. 
At first, when I was coming to terms with being a housewife, I had to do it all and do it well.  I had all the time in the world so I had no excuse to not me the best young housewife.  It gave me a purpose.  But then I would feel trapped by my own expectations.  I would irrationally be angry with Pete when he offered to wash dishes.  (It’s always the dishes, isn’t it.  I remember our ‘Marriage Prep’ course talking a lot about dishes.  There is something about doing the dishes that triggers exhaustion and frustration. Maybe it has to do with scrubbing stubborn foodstuffs and making huge leaps to links with one’s own metaphorical stubborn foodstuffs.) He was offering to do this chore I hate and I would be angry with him.  I had obviously gone a bit crazy.  But then, the stringy hair, slightly soiled robe and week old pajamas I was wondering around in probably signalled my mental state as did my irrationally crouching over dirty dishes muttering about 'my precccioussss' and snapping at Pete when he tried to share the workload. (Ok, I'll let the Tolkien references rest now).
But something about building our little team has let me let go of some of my housewife expectations and let me concentrate some of that energy on ‘personal projects.’  I am still hashing out those personal projects, but I can see some semblance of a general routine appearing.  Letting go of some of those expectations is helping our little team as well.  Being a bit selfish about my time and wellbeing has made our house a bit happier. 
It is a gentle balance, obviously.  Staying in bed all day reading is great for my personal wellbeing.  Very enjoyable.  But not so great for our joint wellbeing when there is no food for dinner or clean dishes on which to serve said invisible dinner.
Right now, that is my work.  Today, for me, getting back to work is getting back to crafting a routine.  First up, showering before or after breakfast?  Hmmm. 

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