Life around this house has been a non-stop whirlwind of activity for the past few months. There is rarely an evening in which John and I are not both working and the days are equally full. Weekends have become a “cram in what you can” time for me, as John’s around to wrangle Katherine. When two people are working long hours, doing the bare necessities like getting groceries and bathing, taking care of a child and three dogs and snatching any residual time for their own relationship (and this is a pretty high priority with us), anything else is bound to get left by the wayside. In our house, this has been the cleaning.
Sure, I wipe down the counters and run a sponge over the sink and tub. Yeah, I thrown laundry into the machine on a regular basis. I’ve even picked at other jobs like vacuuming and wiping down windows, but not with any overwhelming consistency.
There are a finite number of hours in the day and when you add anything to your life (like me working an extra thirty hours a week), something else gets eliminated. For a while, we gave up on sleep, but that wasn’t working so well. Then we tried not spending as much time together and that was alarmingly easy. So alarmingly easy that I understood how such a life could cause couples to fall apart. So we nixed that one right off. There are reasons to lose a marriage, but having to take the time to scrub the floors isn’t one of them.
Yesterday, I caved and paid someone $45 to clean our house. For almost four hours, she scrubbed and polished and vacuumed. It sparkles now. The floors are done, the toilet shines and the place fairly glows. And our stress levels? Plummeted. Bottomed out. We spent an evening together (albeit working, but in the same room) without the weight of the clandestine guilt that has been sitting on our shoulders.
Boy did it feel good.