I will just come right out and say it: I am a control and neat freak.
Having a clean house is something very important to me and instills a sense of peace and order in my world. After the birth of my son, I was just trying to survive with a new baby and figure this whole parenting thing out…cleaning was the last thing on my mind! People would say, “Oh you had so much time off for maternity leave, you must have been able to get so many things done.” For me that was not exactly the case. The first two months I literally nursed my son for what seemed like 24/7, slept, and ate. I didn’t have the strength or desire to do much of anything else! All of my energy was focused on healing and trying to maintain my sanity with a newborn.
When it was time to go back to work, I really had a hard time keeping up with everything. A lot of my time was dedicated to washing bottles, pump parts, and laundry. To create some type of order in my world, I made a point to straighten up daily and deep clean my house every other week.
For some reason I had the thought ingrained in my brain that as the mom it was my JOB to do all the housework. My husband would offer to help me and I would turn him down every time. The way he cleaned the bathroom bothered me because it wasn’t how I cleaned it. I thought the way I did something was the only way it could get done.
When my son started eating table food, for months I wouldn’t let my husband pack his items for daycare. I was convinced that he wouldn’t pour exactly 2 tablespoons of oatmeal in the container or put the correct ounces of breast milk in the bottle. I was literally running myself into the ground and spending all this extra time preparing for the next day. I was losing sleep and time with my family, and I was constantly feeling stressed because I kept telling myself I’m the mom…I can do it all.
This went on for months (and I mean months) before I finally ended up breaking down and realizing something has to change. This experience taught me that it’s okay to ask for help, whether it’s from my husband, a family member, or a close friend. I had a hard time accepting help with simple things such as picking up dinner or hanging out with my son while I showered and had a chance to eat. I’ve become a lot better at carving out time for myself and doing things I enjoy. I learned that practicing regular, good self-care is important and really does make me a better mother and wife. As a new mom, I’ve slowly started to cut myself some slack. Prioritizing things that need to get done on a daily basis has allowed me to relax more and I actually let my husband help me. I’ve come to realize that spending all my extra time with my family is more important than folding the two day old laundry or cleaning my house. All of that will still be there waiting for me tomorrow.