letting go and issues of control. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 05-18-2012, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Any suggestions for coping with issues of control and learning how to let go of things after birth?

 

For example, I am a total neat freak- my husband can let dishes pile for days before washing them, same with the trash and laundry. He could live in a dump and I am not sure he would notice it.

 

I tend to be very on top of it all because it makes me nuts to see it in our very very small apartment (400sq ft) piling and not have anywhere to go to just ignore it.. but I realize once I give birth, if I try to maintain all my standards I'll go insane and yet, by letting my standards slip (at least right now) and watching everything go without being done makes me just about as crazy.

 

Does anyone else struggle with this? How have you made peace with the fact that everything you are used to being able to control, do, have clean etc won't be possible after the birth?

 

Its really hard for me to know I will have to depend on my DH for all of this, simply because his standards are so much lower then mine I feel like often times I am living in a dump (and asking him to clean doesn't work- he still takes just as long as if I didn't ask).

 

suggestions and stories as always appreciated.


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#2 of 12 Old 05-18-2012, 10:21 PM
 
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I have to constantly remind myself that this is a group process and I can't always be in control of it. I try very hard to pick my battles. But it's a struggle. When someone is helping out, it's awesome that they're helping, and it's okay that they're not doing it just as I would. And I let it go. But it's very hard some days, and some days I snap. It's a continuing process.

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#3 of 12 Old 05-19-2012, 05:56 AM
 
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It's hard.  And it will be hard for awhile.  My husband would say that he's neater than me, but as nearly all the housework falls on me, there are times when I can't keep up.  For the first couple months after the girls were born, the only housework that got done was whatever friends and family did when they dropped by.  I had zero energy or time for laundry or dishes, and even less for sweeping or bathrooms! 

 

Even now, our girls are 16 months old and I have to admit, our standards are not what they used to be.  I think somewhere along the line you really learn what your priorities are - what do you NEED to have done to live in your house comfortably.   Obviously, we do laundry and dishes on a regular basis and the other stuff gets done too, but am I really that concerned about the fingerprints all over the windows?  At some point I think you make a decision to live your life first and clean up after :)  I want my kids to remember me spending time with them, not picking up after them. 

 

Just my 2 cents :)


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#4 of 12 Old 05-19-2012, 11:35 AM
 
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Well, just because your husband wouldn't choose to do the dishes until they piled up, doesn't mean he won't actually do them. I'd guess that if you talked to him and he was willing to help (as he should be!), you'd be able to let him know what you need to have done to stay sane, and he'd do it. My husband would let things go forever if I didn't ask him to help, and through the years we've learned that it's best for me to just ask him, specifically, what he can do to help. He is usually happy to do it. 

 

I'm not good at giving advice on how to let go of control, because the undone things drive me nuts, even if I'm not the neatest person. However, I have been reading and thinking a lot about how what a short time of our lives our baby-raising years are, and so I'm trying to live more in the moment and appreciate this time more, and focusing more on my kids than my to-do list.

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#5 of 12 Old 05-19-2012, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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tipper I think what I found with my husband is a lot of times I will ask him to do something 2-3x and he won't or forgets or says he will then doesn't. For example, I might ask him to feed the dog, assume it happens, and then find out its been 2 days since the dog ate when I ask him again later in the week.. irked.gif even when I ask repeatedly and even if I ask multiple times in a row (for example, please take out the trash when you leave.. please remember the trash... the trash is by the door, please take it out- he will leave without it in hand.. its mind boggling.. )

 

In general with him, it is really 50/50 if it happens.. he is totally in his own head to such a degree I dont know how to get to him sometimes.
 


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#6 of 12 Old 05-19-2012, 09:11 PM
 
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I can really relate to this - seriously, so much. I also have a small home (a condo - though not as small as yours - I've lived in 400sq ft and it's way harder) and a husband who wouldn't otherwise notice mold/grossness/mess unless it evolved to sentient and addressed him. I don't think I have particularly high standards - I certainly don't iron or clean the windows very often, things like that. I'm all into messy play for my son, I think a house should be lived in and it's fine for it to look that way, and I agree wholeheartedly with those who said that it's a short time that we have babies and small kids and it's important to focus on that. Having said that, I find it difficult to stay sane when things aren't reasonably neat and clean. I am home all. the. time. after all. I've heard so much advice (not on here, just in general) to the effect of "the dishes can wait." Really? Because food-crusted ew-gross dishes can't wait that long. And it is so much work to wash them after they have been sitting for a while. And then there is a whole pile and it's a long process. I am definitely concerned about this aspect of post-babies. 

 

I don't really have any good advice because obviously I'm not there yet and I'm pretty much in the same boat. But I am trying to prepare by really working to make sure everyone in the house puts things back when they are done with them, RIGHT AWAY. DS is getting pretty good at putting one thing away before getting out another toy/project. I am labeling everything in sight..like my refrigerator. I need everyone to stick the leftovers in the same spot in the fridge, so I labeled it. One thing that finally ended up really working well for my differently-minded DH ;) is that he does the same thing at the same time. So he always empties the dishwasher and straighens up the kitchen in the morning before work, and always vacuums the rugs after lunch on Sundays. 

 

Keep me posted on how you do, okay?


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#7 of 12 Old 05-20-2012, 01:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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gozal- you sound like my soul mate ... I am trying to hire someone to walk the dog for example..

 

 

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Having said that, I find it difficult to stay sane when things aren't reasonably neat and clean. I am home all. the. time. after all. I've heard so much advice (not on here, just in general) to the effect of "the dishes can wait." Really? Because food-crusted ew-gross dishes can't wait that long. And it is so much work to wash them after they have been sitting for a while. And then there is a whole pile and it's a long process. I am definitely concerned about this aspect of post-babies. 

 

I agree. Its really hard when you essentially live in ONE ROOM with 2 adults, 1 toddler and 2 babies. Our kitchen is so small, if you leave dishes from one meal 'on the counter' you cannot literally cook/eat/prep anything else until they are gone. Its really what makes it hard- its not even about being clean, it starts to be able even being able to function... literally.
 


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#8 of 12 Old 05-20-2012, 10:44 AM
 
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I am lucky that my DH is a neat person and generally pitches in alot, even more so now that we have two toddlers and two babies on the way....but for the sake of these absent minded husbands - I had an ex who was very much like that and two things helped:  1 - writing stuff down.  It sounds silly to have to write down "walk the dog" on the calendar but writing down even the simple obvious stuff made it easier for him to remember.  Now he puts everything in his iphone (I secretly think he has reminders to shower and eat in there too...)  2 - Doing things right away!  While it seems that many members of the male species like to play first and work later, with two infants in the picture, later is sometimes never.  So do it now!  If you ask him to change the garbage - be specific - ask him to do it NOW.  Tell him that you hate having to remind him/nag him/beg him to do stuff more than once and if he just does it when you ask, it'll be done!  Really works wonders. 

 

Kudos to all you mamas for managing in such small spaces - I don't know how I would do it!  And I agree about the dishes...about 90% of the time.  We try to clean up as we go so as to avoid the "hurricane swept through our house" feeling at the end of these long days but some days that's just how it goes.


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#9 of 12 Old 05-20-2012, 12:02 PM
 
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i'm worried about this, too.

 

mainly in terms of eating right after the babies come- their papa's idea of a meal is a handful of baby carrots, some hummus, and MAYBE sometimes some ramen. he has no concept of remotely balanced or healthful meals. i know i won't have any time to cook the way i do now, and although i am planning on making as many freezer meals as i can over the summer, i still envision myself being tethered to breastfeeding the twins while he brings me a piece of toast or a banana, thinking it will fill me up. he also has no filter when it comes to using old leftovers and bits of food that i would toss out. he's going to poison us, i just know it.

 

he's pretty good about dishes, but he WILL let garbage and recycling pile up, and he hates grocery shopping. he's never come back with more than one bag of groceries at a time. i don't know how much i can do to change his mindset, but maybe if i give him lists and tell him he HAS to get everything that's on it? no substitutions? and  his mother lives sort of nearby, so i will be enlisting her help as much as possible.

 

AND he is a workoholic. he works 6-7 days a week and trying to get him to take any time off is like pulling teeth. my pregnancy has been kind of rough so far and he doesn't seem to understand that i just can do as much as i used to. he rarely asks what he can do to help, or if there is something i need, and i'm pretty sure that will continue after the birth. i know i have to be proactive and explicit with him- i'm still very nervous about how this is all going to go down.

 

good luck to us all!

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#10 of 12 Old 05-20-2012, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wendipaulen- is this for your first child? DS1 was SUPER hard on our marriage for me. It did not phase DH at all but I can remember how many times I seriously considered leaving him because I was so burned out by his lack of total support..

 

Your DH sounds a lot like mine it a lot of ways- he forgets to eat, he can go all day and not eat, then at 10pm suddenly realize he should eat--  and when he does eat he can live off of ramen and butter while I try to eat really healthy regular meals (lots of veggies/fruits/low fat etc)... My DH is allergic to the grocery store and when he does go he will come home with the most random things (which no one eats)- last time he went he came home with some fish is tomato sauce (jarred), wonder bread, a cucumber and some sort of yogurt drink.. Do you have a grocery delivery service in your town? They just started one here, its 5 dollars to have delivered but it saves my life. I can order the weeks groceries in one go and know that whatever I ask for will come and within a time frame I need it to show up :)

 

I did find with DH if I say- 'you need to go to the store in the next hour, here is my list- make sure you get everything exactly listed, no exceptions' then I remind him a few times within that hour to go, he has about a 80% success rate in getting things right. . but its really very rare that this happens (him going to the store).
 

As for the working 7 days a week thing... again, my DH. He can literally be working in the same room as DS and I, I can move furniture around him, vacuum, leave the apartment for a few hours, come back and unless I am naked- he will not even notice that I ever left, moved the sofa into the other room or cleaned. Literally, I have never meet anyone so zoned out and focused. He never ask me (or anyone for that matter) what he can do to help or if he can help. If I don't ask and then keep asking constantly and then boder line harass him it does not happen and sometimes even then its 50/50...  I am still trying to figure out how to get any request to click. 


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#11 of 12 Old 05-20-2012, 08:18 PM
 
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You may find that due to other pressing needs, that some (not all) of your standards will change and you will not bat an eye.  Though things may get to you when you have a day when everything going wrong and you are so pressed in by babies needs that you can't even figure out how to get to the bathroom to urinate. 

I have a 1200 sqft home and 9 people living in it and I totally know what you mean by not being able to function and even prepare a meal if they dishes are still dirty from the last meal.  I have no ideas for training your husband, sorry to say!  If you can train yourself to clean your dishes as you prepare a meal and kinda lead by example, maybe DH will follow suit.  When ever I use a dish and am done with it, I just  wash it right then, takes a couple seconds and then at least that little bit is done.  Sometimes all you can do is what *you* can do and even if it seems miniscule at least it is something rather than nothing.  There are other creative ways to cut down on dishes like sharing a plate (esp if you have a toddler and they don't eat half their food anyway, you just eat and then less waste), or sometimes I don't get to dish myself up until another family member is done, so I just use their plate.  Maybe sounds gross to some, but it is a way to cut down on washing dishes even a little bit.  One dish meals tend to lead to less dishes to wash as well.  If you can start thinking along the lines of how to be more effecient and time savers, that will help a lot.   

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#12 of 12 Old 05-21-2012, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When ever I use a dish and am done with it, I just  wash it right then, takes a couple seconds and then at least that little bit is done.

 

yeah I do this but DH doesn't ever.. when he cooks it looks like a bomb went off.. we also usually/often just eat out of whatever pan we cooked in so that we dont use any dishes, just forks/spoons..

 

I can see what you mean about the standards changing, at some point it might be I just dont care anymore smile.gif
 


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