Wednesday, July 20, 2005

On Becoming a Lady of Leisure

It took DOB quite a while to convince me. It was too expensive, I argued. I shouldn't need it. I should be able to do everything myself now.

But he finally won. The downside of marrying a guy because he's smart enough to beat you at a debate is that he continues to do so.

Maybe it's because I argue against myself. I wouldn't feel like a failed housewife if my husband had the time and strength to help with the housework. Nor would I feel guilty for impressing my children into service. What made me feel guilty that, lacking those, I couldn't keep up with everything? And, like it or not, I was still struggling to catch up on things that had gotten behind during the first trimester and was making no headway whatsoever on preparing for the new baby--much less on tackling the moving-in projects that never got finished before D1 arrived. I had managed to suppress my guilt enough to accept DOB's sister's (free) help through the first trimester, but she had gone to Taiwan.

So we have now hired a young girl to come in twice a week and help me with the housework. It does cost a bit, but I could easily spend as much on disposable diapers and wipes plus a few convenience foods, which most people in my situation would use to lessen their workload. We could easily spend more if we instead hired her to babysit while we went out for an evening, which is commonly suggested as a beneficial if not essential activity for young mothers.

But right now, it means a lot more to both of us for me to be in good spirits and not too tired at the end of the day, with a new area of the house a little more organized than it was before, and the floors and bathrooms finally cleaned.

Never mind about that lady of leisure bit, either. Actually I work twice as hard with someone else around. I like working with people. That's why I've had little trouble keeping up with dishes and laundry since D1 got big enough to "help" with those. Her help with the floors and bathrooms is not such a good idea, however, and her help with organizing projects is definitely counter-productive.

I have to think of three solid hours of tasks to do. With two people handy, those tasks can include ones that may create large messes, because there's an extra person to keep D1 distracted. And I'm not as scared to tackle something big for fear of running out of energy when there's someone else around as backup.

So, there it is. I have help. I refuse to feel guilty about it. In fact, I really, really like it.

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