My Dirty Little Secrets

by Samantha on March 24, 2012

I have a secret: I put dishes away wet.

That’s right – I wash the dishes and I’m often too tired or too lazy to dry them. So I put them in the cupboard without the required drying.

I also have been known to leave clothes in the washing machine much too long to not-surprisingly find that they smell anything but “summer fresh,” leading me to have to rewash them again. And again, sometimes.

Since this is clearly becoming a revelatory post, I’ll continue on and go three for three.

My kids watch way more TV and YouTube than they should.

Horrors.

The realization that I, like many moms, am harbouring a cache of dirty little secrets that is growing daily, is one that is both bemusing and disturbing. Why? Because such behaviour puts me further and further away from the ever-sought title of “Mother of the Year.”

Image courtesy of http://ahotmama.com

It’s an unrealistic and downright ridiculous goal in all seriousness, but let’s face it – don’t we all want to feel like we fall into that category where nothing that we do can be perceived as anything but stellar with respect to our parenting, housekeeping and otherwise? We know in our heart of hearts that this desire is sheer idiocy, and yet we continue plodding along trying to reach this unattainable goal. Like a hamster on a wheel, we run and run and run with our eyes on the proverbial prize, all the while knowing that we really aren’t getting anywhere. The result? Dirty little secrets.

They occur because the expectations that we have set for ourselves are completely unrealistic, either because we’re overloaded or over-tired.

I didn’t dry the dishes after washing them this evening because I had spent two hours cleaning the kitchen after a long day and really could not squeeze one more ounce (or another 15 minutes) out of myself to stand any longer and dry. 

The increasingly molding clothes in the washing machine? Well, that occurs when life is just too busy, there are too many things going on between kids, extra-curricular lessons, homework, grocery shopping and more.

My children and their love of television, computers and YouTube? Chalk it up to exhaustion and the need for just a little bit of time to breathe…even if that means that I’m not doing what the proscribed parenting texts and experts say I should – which is spending quality time with the kids, instead of letting the chill out on mindless entertainment (The Wiggles, anyone?).

Hence, the dirty little secrets.

I have more, so many more as I’m sure you do as well. 

My point is that we strive to live up to expectations that are far from realistic, then beat ourselves up when we don’t make the grade. And as much as we can intellectually rationalize that our behaviour is silly, we continue to deride ourselves anyway for not being that perfect parent.

It’s got to stop.

Of course I have to take my own advice and stop calling my shortcuts around parenting and life as “dirty little secrets,” but that will only happen when the expectation regarding motherhood from both myself and others ceases to exist. 

We’re not there yet so I’ll continue to keep my parenting workarounds under wraps and “drip-dry” the coffee mugs and plates.

Do you have “dirty little secrets” when it comes to parenting? If so, what are they? If not, how do you manage to get it all done? Please answer in the comments below


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Style and Error March 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I’ve been known to leave a load of laundry in the washer a bit too long as well.

For the dishes, why not line the cupboards with paper towel to absorb some of the moisture?

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Samantha March 26, 2012 at 7:33 pm

That just seems so obviously smart, Mel! I need you in my house to get me sorted out :) Thanks for commenting and for the quick tip!

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Alison April 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I’ve been known to get home early from work and take a quick nap instead of picking up my preschooler from daycare early…. he doesn’t seem to mind and I get a couple of minutes of rest! (Although I do set an alarm so that I don’t fall fully asleep and miss the pickup!)

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Samantha April 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Alison, we all do that! Carpe Diem, I say as time is of the essence (and sleep is at a minimum) when you have little ones! Catching a few zzzzs when the getting’s good makes good sense :) Thanks for commenting.

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