Friday, 14 October 2016

Oh so lazy

There are many feelings I associate with motherhood. Some are obvious (exhaustion), others more subtle (ambivalence) and some need a whole new word to describe them (guilentment anyone?). I think it would be fair to say that the whole experience is something of an emotional roller-coaster.

There is one feeling that seems to pop up regularly however, good days and bad, and that's the feeling of laziness. It's somewhat ironic that I feel so consistently lazy when I'm in a period of my life when I am at my flat-out busiest. I will spare you the itemised list of all the stuff I do in a week, but let's agree that like any working Mum it's quite a lot and office time, childcare and housework all feature prominently. I am also pregnant, just to add to the fun.

Yet I have a cleaner who vacuums and does the bathrooms, and a husband who tidies and does the washing. I even get to go for a run or out with friends and colleagues in the evenings sometimes. On the face of it, I would appear to have ample support and escape, so why is the house always in a permanent state, why is my To Do list always mile long, and why do I still fail to squeeze in enough 'me' time to feel human? My frequent conclusion? I must just be lazy.

I know, rationally, I am not lazy. I am just time poor and expect too much of myself. I can't keep the house as tidy as I once did because I have a small person constantly (CONSTANTLY) messing it up, and sucking up the time I'd usually devote to tidying and filing and organising. Plus I am tired. So lacking in energy sometimes, that I find Drake's preferred 'proactive parenting' approach (monitoring your child's activities and behaviour so you can step in to prevent issues before they start) a laughable impossibility. And when I do have an hour in the evening to NOT be overseeing a toddler, an hour I should rightly devote to snack cupboard alphabetisation, sewing on buttons or window cleaning, I physically and mentally can't bring myself to do anything but sit on the sofa watching TV and writing blog posts like this.

Drake just sighs when I have my 'I'm so lazy' moments, and tells me to stop beating myself up (because I'm not lazy and an ultra tidy house is really NOT important), go to bed earlier (ha!) or organise things better so I have the time if I'm really so stressed about them. He is right, but the fact his pet name for me is 'sloth' (due to my former love of lie ins) does not help. Nor do his "Right, we really need to sort out XYZ in the house" monologues, which he likes to deliver randomly when something in the household inconveniences him, usually with a sense of authority and despair that implies he would have this all sorted and under control if it weren't for his scatty wife and her poor mastery of her Tasmanian devil of a son. This could of course just be the way I interpret it, as I am ultra-sensitive to accusations of slovenly behaviour, being constantly convinced I am slovenly. But still.

I should no doubt ask Drake to help more, but I feel lazy mainly because I so rarely seem to get anything done. Actually completing something makes me feel better. If I don't do it myself, the issue may as well have not existed at all. I didn't solve it; I don't get to take credit and convince myself that I'm not REALLY so lazy after all. Or feel justified for being so goddamn tired.

I'm sure all of this makes me a self-flagellating control freaky perfectionist martyr. However, it also demonstrates just how hopelessly brainwashed I am by society's placement of mothers in the housewife role, despite my best efforts not to be. Do I consciously think my worth is only gauged on how well I clean the kitchen or how many times a week I manage to roast a whole chicken for dinner? I consider myself a feminist for Christ's sake so I should hope not! And yet the feeling is there; the little voice in my head saying "this isn't good enough, you could do more".

Contrast this to Drake. He is a pretty modern guy. He "helps out" (I have written about my dislike of that term before). But the fact he gets annoyed at the mess, not at his own failure to tidy it says a lot. If we lose a bill, I get frustrated at myself because I haven't magicked up the time or conviction to properly file it. I feel lazy and a failure. Drake gets frustrated because he can't do his job and pay the bill. It's the bill's fault, or mine for having "moved it", but never his for having failed to put it in the box labelled "bills". I am never quite sure if this is a sign of very robust self-esteem (aka blindness to his own faults), an assumption of male superiority (household organisation is not HIS job! Others must be blamed for this situation!) or whether he does actually feel annoyed at himself and just buries it deep to save face. Whatever the case, it is quite the opposite to my own, usually pretty open and deeply annoying self-admonishment. I am as much a female cliché as he is a walking example of a 'typical bloke'.

So things continue, some days more productive than others, with the lazy scale fluctuating accordingly. Maybe I need to rename the feeling to "disappointed at lack of energy" or "frustrated by lack of time". Perhaps this way I can start to accept that the problem is not simply an inherent character flaw, but a disconnect between my own admirable ambitions and the reality of the situation I am in. Maybe setting myself just one or two goals a day ("get to the shops" or " play Duplo with Duckling" or "file my nails") is the answer. Consistently ticking mental to do boxes has to be better than constantly ticking myself off, no?

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