Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How We're Doing Now (or How Mary is Doing Now) (Whatever.)

It occurred to me today that when things are hard in a way that would sound sort of complainy if I told people about it, I'd like to make note. This is both for our own benefit, as time causes memory to fade, and I'd like to have a good timeline for the next go 'round, and also for others who will walk this same road and wonder if they're normal. We are three and a half months into this gig, and two and a half months home, and I feel like we're just not there in a lot of ways yet. We haven't approached normal, or if we have, I'm in denial about it, because I do not want this to be how our lives look until our children are grown.

That a lot of things are easier is true, but that some basic things haven't fallen into place is also true. That this bothers me a lot of the time is definitely true. I could blame holidays or the very cold weather or any number of factors for these persistent problems, but I think it really is just where we're at right now. Interestingly enough, very few of these persistent problems have anything to do with Zinashi directly. She's marvelous. About her, I have no complaint. But as for me, and what I can get done, well, I really had higher hopes for the beginning of 2011. I find it hard to keep the house tidy, to keep on top of paperwork and filing things and organizing and in general just making our lives run smoothly. I feel like I could use three days each for tending to our main floor and basement, and that would only cover the tidying and organizing part. To clean it...oh, my. Let's not talk about that. And then there's cooking. Either it's there or it's not. One night I'm cooking a homemade dinner and baking bread, and another will find me suggesting a run to whatever restaurant we can afford that is within our family code of eating ethics (which is a whole 'nother topic for a whole 'nother time). The only thing meal-related that is routine is breakfast, and I still feel harried getting that on the table much of the time, mostly because we don't have a definite morning routine. (Which is hard to have when Jarod's work schedule is not the same every day, so I'm cutting both of us some slack there, but still wishing we had a system.) That I'm not a morning person also makes this a challenge. A big, big challenge.

So here we are. That's life. If you show up unannounced, you will see a very messy, dirty house, and I will feel embarrassed. Honestly, I fear this quite a lot, more than I should--that someone will walk into our house and insist that they don't see anything wrong, but be thinking in their heads what a trashpile they just stumbled into. And I know, I know, I know that I shouldn't do this, that I shouldn't assume that people will judge me, but I do it. I can't seem to turn it off. Maybe because I look at our house and see that--a disorganized mess and very dirty floors, not to mention furniture on which you could carve your name into the dust.

So a note for next time, and for those of you who are about to embark upon this: hire house cleaners for the first six months home if you can afford it. And buy a LOT of Groupons to restaurants. You will need the help, and it's okay to take it.

At least, that's what I'm telling myself, and in hindsight, I'm sure I'll find it to be true.


  1. Many things are harder for you as adoptive parents, but I think what you maybe don't realize not having any biological children, is how much is the same. The first 6 months when you have a new baby, your job is to keep that baby and yourself alive. Period. At the end of the day, did everybody eat something? And nobody is bleeding? Then great! You did it! Your situation is no different, no less hard because she was thrown into your life at 3 years old instead of 3 minutes old. It takes adjusting. Serious, hardcore, months-long adjusting. You adore your daughter, you dress her, you feed her well, you play with her and cuddle her and go above and beyond in so many ways. You went halfway across the world to bring her home. I can promise you, 5 years from now, she won't be able to tell you what color your floors were, let alone if they were clean or not.

    And then, slowly, things get easier. The newness becomes normal. Bills get paid on time, the house stays tidy, you have patience to deal with your pets again. And then you start to think Hey, we can handle this! We're good at this! And then you go and get pregnant or start browsing adoption sites again and get yourself back into the same beautiful mess.

    You're in the newborn stage, remember that. It won't be this way forever but while it is, you're doing GREAT.

  2. I totally and completely agree with what Amy said. Even though Zinashi is 3yrs. old and not a newborn, it doesn't change the fact that you're a brand new family and that takes adjusting to. The first YEAR of my sons life was SO completely disorganized! Dinner time came before I could even have a minute to think of what I was going to cook. My husband brought dinner home many a times! And even now, my son is 6yrs. and my daughter 3yrs., and I am STILL trying to figure out how to get a clean house!!! ;-)

  3. This post brings back memories of being 8 1/2 months pregnant with your brother. Grandpa told me that my workload would increase 100% when the baby arrived. I told him it couldn't because I was already very busy. Well, he was right! After Mark's birth, MANY things just didn't get done or happen! What you are experiencing, while it has aspects specific to adoption, sounds like a fairly "normal" adjustment to 24/7 parenting. I, too, feared surprise visitors. I remember not letting Uncle William and Aunt Elsie in the house when they dropped by from out of state. We had been sick, so told them the house was full of germs. Actually, I was mortified that they would see the state of the house because I was so tired and overwhelmed and had a sink full of dirty dishes along with laundry waiting to be folded. You and Jarod are doing a great job of parenting. Everything else will wait. I know, easy to say, but hard to do. You know how I struggle with that! I love you and am available most Wednesdays. :) Mom

  4. Playdates, sleepovers, etc.... anytime I can get the 4 kids out of the house I clean and clean and clean and clean. Within 5 minutes of them returning, everything is instantly undone!! You are doing great!!! I wasn't doing half as well as you when any of the children were 3 months old!! Keep up the good work!!

  5. Don't worry about the messy house. We have a weekly housekeeper and still our place is a disaster - and I'm over the adjustment period as our daughter is 17 months old. You'll have plenty of time for a clean house when your child(ren) is grown.
    We even have friends come over in the mess. I think that children, friends and laughter are more important than a clean house and I used to have an impeccably clean house! It's life.
    And let's not even discuss the cheerios that seep from everywhere imaginable.


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