OK, folks. We may have something resembling progress around here. I felt semi-human Mon. night (I’m trying not to worry about that) and did almost an adult’s quantity of work. Leigh was in a fabulous mood. We got dinner on the the table early (actually, into the sukkah), and all of the chores were polished off by 8:00pm. Gail got time for guilt-free high-holiday-work-catch-up since the house was in tip-top shape (well, as tip-top as it gets, including a clean-ish kitchen with no dishes) while I rested. We also made some good plans on how to survive, many inspired by you fine internet friends (LOVE the long and thoughtful comments on Gail’s post! ).
We are instituting the following practical life alterations. Some may be temporary. Some hopefully not:
1) We are ditching cloth diapers for now. Practically, this is only one prefold & doubler per night, and maybe one from nap on days we’re home, since Leigh uses the potty during the day, but that’s one less gross load of laundry every week and a half. We’ll take it.
2) We are switching to paper towels. Right now we wash rags. Again, one less load of laundry per week. Check.
3) Paper plates on Shabbat. We tend to avoid dishes on Shabbat (I can’t speak for how this works halachically, but I sure count dishes as work) and face a huge sinkful on Saturday night (with no dishwasher). Paper plates on Friday night and Saturday for now.
4) Weekly take-out and movie night (movie courtesy of the local library). This week this will happen on Thursday, in recognition of my birthday, but the usual day will be probably be Wednesday.
**5) Gail will only do what she can do, as opposed to doing everything and feeling put upon. This way, I know what is left to do when a fit of energy strikes (as it did on Mon), and she doesn’t turn resentful and b**chy. If stuff isn’t done, it will help us figure out what our new normal is and we’ll pare down. Same goes for emotional support. She will not prioritize physical work over emotional support (as inspired by Strawberry’s comment that dishes can wait if cuddling is called for).
6) I will try to accept support as it is offered, and try not to get weird and resentful about needing it. I’m not always so good at asking for and getting help. This will be easier if I know Gail isn’t pushing herself farther than is reasonable.
**7) I will take care of myself when I need to and not shuffle slowly, poorly and somewhat resentfully through chores because I feel guilty if what I need to do is lay down. In addition to being more efficient, this will save Gail the trouble of getting aggravated and having to fuss at me 50 times to rest if I need to rest.
8) We will both endeavor to identify the least physically draining jobs for me to be in charge of, even if they have traditionally been Gail’s turf (family photo maintenance comes to mind).
You’ll note that many of our alterations are bad for the environment. To alleviate this guilt, I appeal to the fact that we don’t own a car, which is probably a bigger deal than a few paper plates and disposable diapers. A bigger concern to us frugal types is that some of these alterations cost money. (Confession: our real motivation to do cloth diapers was to save money, same goes for not having a car, same goes for washing our own rags. We enjoy feeling environmentally smug, but really, we’re just cheapskates.) To alleviate this guilt, I appeal to the fact that we are no longer buying sperm and paying for IUIs. Really, thanks all for the inspiration and wisdom from the front lines.
** Numbers 5 & 7 can simply be restated “We will both endeavor to cut out the passive aggressive bullsh*t.”