I am involved in a serious struggle to be good. I am a physician and work long, hard hours and you would think this should not be an issue, but it is. I am responsible about work; I don’t miss work or call in sick when I’m not. I am compulsive about keeping track of results and the patients they are attached to. I am having trouble being good at home. Since I work a good 60 hours a week at least, I am of the opinion that my time off had ought to be TIME OFF. I have a husband at home though, and a seven year-old daughter, and at least one of these two think I am a major slacker. My husband thinks I am a major slacker. My lackadaisical attitude about gardening (survival of the fittest), laundry (when completely necessary) and housekeeping (when company is coming) is just not cutting it. Even though we have a housekeeper who comes every two weeks, the house is in a constant state of disaster. I recognize this, and I think the blame rests a good deal on my daughter. Her mess is EVERYWHERE. Her rotten, cheap plastic toys are EVERYWHERE. Her coloring pages and pages of scribbles are EVERYWHERE. They are in the kitchen. They are in the dining room. They are in the sitting room. They are in my husband’s office. They are in the upstairs sitting room. They are in our room. They are in her room. They are in her bathroom. They are in the attic. She can acquire them and mess them all over the house so much faster than I could ever hope to keep up. Our house looks like a bright plastic landfill. Every once in a while I get SICK of the mess and I fill a garbage bag with crap she never plays with and papers we are just not going to keep. I do this when she is gone, because she pulls such a whiny drama fest when we attempt to get rid of anything while she is watching that it is just a waste of time. “But GRANDMAMA gave that to me, ” she will wail. Never mind that the cherished item in question is a yarn stitch-by-number for ages 2 – 4 and she has never touched it once, despite our attempts to encourage her. Never mind that the piece of paper has one triangle drawn in the corner – it is a precious work of art and we MUST NOT THROW IT AWAY. Hence the stealth raids on her things. Getting rid of her clothes is also impossible. She clings desperately to clothes that used to be her favorite and tries to put them on, to persuade me that they still fit. They can squeeze so tight at her waist that she can’t bend, and can gap so much in the middle that you can see her whole belly, and still she will convince herself that they fit just fine. She clings desperately to them as you try to put them in the Goodwill pile. It is just hopeless. My husband tells me I am hopeless. “YOU are the mother in this scenario, although you refuse to believe that. You let her run things.” This of course makes me feel competent, and great. He never tries to get rid of anything, so how would he know? The other main mess is his. He has an office downstairs, right in the middle of some of the main traffic flow in the house. I opposed his taking this room as an office because I knew it would immediately become a hideous, unsightly tangle of computer wires, motherboards, old terminals and expired technology, and it would be RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HOUSE. Of course, I was completely right, and the room is a hideous, unsightly tangle of computer wires, motherboards, old terminals and expired technology. There are some plastic toys mixed in. Some of them are his. I am sick of the mess, but I can’t clean his office. He has PILES in there that are in an order that may only make sense to him. I will note that the only room in the house that is exclusively mine, the walk in closet, is carefully organized and I know where everything is. There are no plastic toys in there either. So my husband feels that I don’t do enough around the house. The problem is, he never tells me what he thinks it is I should be DOING. We are working on changing that however. Apparently I don’t water the plants. I didn’t clean my Goodwill clothes out of the mudroom, because I was hoping to take them to the consignment store. After DH firmly requested that I do something with the room, I cleaned them out. That seemed to be a good thing. I grant you, there are many, many things I could do around the house. Our bathroom needs organized and cleaned. The sun room needs putting back together after we had work done on the fireplace. The kitchen needs to be stripped of kid toys and kid art. The guest room needs cleaning out. Most of what needs to be done though is KID STUFF. And I just can’t keep up with the tide of junk. The child brings home junk every day, from school, from day care, from camp. My husband brings her trashy plastic junk back from every trip. Then she staunchly refuses to get rid of any of it because Daddy gave it to her. We’re talking t-shirts with tech names on them, cups that light up, large smelly tote bags, rubber ducks, plastic tech mascots, stuffed tech mascots, wiggly rubber creatures that light up when they hit the floor and so on and so on. All of these are trashing my house and making me highly miserable. At the moment I am feeling the distinct urge to grab up another garbage bag and make another pass at the mess. But I am sure the consequenses will not be good.