This is my reality today, because life.
Not long ago the sight of this would have sent me into an anxious spiral – I wouldn’t have even wanted my husband to see it, much less post it on social media. Letting dirty dishes pile up in the sink, clean dishes sit in the drying rack – you know, every day reality for most people, especially with a baby – would set off a chain of internal shaming. I judged myself the way I was sure the rest of the world would judge me, because it meant I was lazy. Ungrateful.
I had an “easy baby” after all, so it shouldn’t be tough to keep up with basic housework. Especially if I wasn’t physically going to an office every day. I was home, I had it easy, and I had no reason not to do the dishes. If the kitchen was dirty, or the floors, or the doorknobs, or his baby gear wasn’t spotless it obviously meant that I was a useless person, a horrible mother, my baby was going to get sick and I could have prevented it.
To his credit, my husband tried to help. Many, many times. In my mind that made me even more of a failure and I absolutely refused. I remember staying up between late night feedings to clean the floor, my mind racing too fast to ever really “sleep when the baby sleeps.” I truly believed I didn’t deserve to have my son if I couldn’t do something as simple as keeping the house clean – while simultaneously hating that the need to be busy, to prove my worth in such ridiculous ways, dominated my thoughts and often prevented me from being present for what really mattered.
While the intensity of those thoughts have lessened some over the months, it takes a conscious effort to reframe the shame. I’m finding it a little easier to accept the effort that I put in during the day, accept that I’m doing the best I can, and acknowledge that no one is judging me as harshly as I judge myself. (Especially my son.) It’s true – my kitchen is a mess. It’s true – sometimes I am a hot mess myself. It’s still okay to let people in.