As you know, things have been a little crazy around here the last few months. Animal care adds some responsibility, cooking from scratch takes up a good bit of time, and all the other issues have combined to create a life that officially became too busy. This past canning season really set me back a bit when it came to my normal responsibilities. Then, A’s issues came up, increasing the number of doctor appointments, which added some pressure to my already hectic day. Another big factor was the simple fact that my wonderful husband likes coming home to a clean home. Since I am not naturally efficient at house-keeping (as in it takes me twice as long to complete the same job as S), and the added factor of 5 young ‘uns who are home all day messing up whatever I cleaned up, made this ‘clean home’ concept nearly impossible.
At the same time, it began getting dark sooner, meaning we didn’t have time to squeeze in N and A’s desperately-needed therapeutic donkey rides after S got home from work. A began regressing, beginning his toe-walking again and falling down again. The hectic activities of the day conspired to cause me to lose focus on controlling my blood sugars, or even eating properly, which left me even more pressured and worn-out. The projects needing to be done were weighing on me like a heavy, never-ending burden, and I began slipping into a day-to-day survival mode which I knew was not a good, healthy, or beneficial thing in any way. Add that to the fact that S was getting tired of coming home to an exhausted wife and a still-untidy home, and I was really missing just being “mommy”, and things were just waiting for a big blow-up of some sort. Thankfully, my soldier-in-a-snow-covered-minivan saw that I was at a point I needed some help. We sat down, discussed our needs/wants, came up with a budget we could manage, and he agreed to let me hire some help.
I had hoped to hire a young, homeschool lady from our church, but despite the mothers who were very interested, the daughters really weren’t very interested, or were not independent enough to manage the job we decided we needed. So, after a great deal of talking, several months of looking, and a lot of research, I finally went online to a site called www.care.com. It is a website designed to help match domestic employers and employees based on geography and qualifications. It was risky, but I was desperate, and needed to find someone as soon as possible. So, I typed up an ad explaining what we were looking for.
I was surprisingly overwhelmed with responses from interested folks. I guess in this downer economy, folks are desperate for work. Through the anonymous e-mail feature the site offers, I was able to weed out a number of people based on their seeming level of maturity or their level of desperation (judgemental, I know, but I had to weed through somehow). Of those I was interested in, I started researching their names and info. Thanks to this internet age, I was able to track down almost every person. And thanks to not-so-smart applicants who left their facebook and myspace pages wide open to public view, I was able to further weed out folks. (Like the lady who answered my ad, talking all “Christian” like, and claiming she didn’t smoke, drink, etc., yet her public myspace photos showed her with different colored hair in each photo, sometimes holding a cigarette, and other times dressed or acting very provocatively–none of which do I want around my children ). Through these steps, we narrowed it down to 5 applicants, 1 of which was a no-show, and another who called and canceled at the last moment. Of the remaining 3, we had to pray about it, as they all had a lot to offer. We finally chose one, and she started work this week.
Now, 2 days a week, for 3 hours a day, I have a wonderful lady who comes and helps with whatever project I need. My goal is to give her 1 bigger house project that I never have time for (like organizing/cleaning cabinets or closets, painting, etc.), and then use whatever time is left to do general cleaning. In addition, she will be helping me with the boys’ therapeutic riding as much as possible, by just being the side-walker they require. When I don’t have a big list, she may sit and listen to the children read a book, or do some corrections with their worksheets. She has already babysat several of the children once while I had a doctor’s appointment for A and N, during which time, she still cleaned up a bit, allowing us to have guests over that night. She is literally the extra eyes and arms that every mom seems to need at times.
As I sit here now, typing up this little post, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for a hubby that agreed to this. I also cannot tell you grateful I am, or how I relieved I am, at the help she has already been. She has proven to take intiative, do what she sees needs doing, and works quite indendently so I can focus on other areas. The other day, while she cleaned and organized a couple of rooms I just never seem to get to , I was able to spend 2 solid hours working with JR, going over a back-log of school work, getting things caught up with him, and having an opportunity to ENJOY doing it, with no pressure to go do cleaning projects. We then got both the boys on the donkey for the first time in a month, which was a wonderful feeling. Then, because of all she had accomplished in her 2 days of focused work, I was able to let M ride, then later, I was able to bridle up the donkey and allow JR to ride alone (with me just walking nearby) for the first time–a request he has had for quite some time now. Yesterday, she saw I had piles of laundry, figured out our washer and dryer, and did a couple loads while I had the boys at an appointment. I think my hubby will be happy to come home to an at least partially clean house, and I am not totally worn out. To the contrary, I have found just the idea of a little help to be very refreshing and motivating for me, as I no longer feel like I am handling everything that needs to be done on my list completely alone. By freeing up my time a bit, I will hopefully be better able to serve my husband by helping him with his list of projects. I have also already started re-gaining control of my diabetes.
We have told her we are planning to try this for 6 months, and then decide from there. There is still much to find out about little A and his issues, so that will be a big factor in us deciding how to proceed after that. In the mean time, we are hoping that 6 months will get us through most of the school year, and get most of our house projects completed, personal projects caught up with, and everything else just settled into somewhat of a ‘groove.’ In the mean time, I am loving being mommy, re-directing my focus where it should be, and still being able to enjoy life in general.