Sunday Night Freak Out

“Come sit down and relax. We’ll put the dishes away / pack tomorrow’s lunch / clean the kitchen / fill-in-the-blank-task later”, yells my husband (who is sitting down and relaxing) from the livingroom. “Oh, WE will?” I think, in my snarkiest tone. “It’s Sunday night! We’re back to work tomorrow!”

How on Earth is he relaxed when the IMMEDIATE NEED to get all of this stuff done is causing me to practically implode? And how on Earth am I still allowing him to breathe after making a statement like that? And why the hell can’t I just RELAX and not be wiping down counters and scrubbing sauce out of the microwave? (I always cover my food when reheating, so guess who is responsible for the sauce-bomb? Arrrgggghh.) What is it about this endless list of chores that causes me such anxiety? Lord love a duck. Why do I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders? Is that pile of junk mail tucked away on the counter really going to be what pushes me to commit hara-kiri in the middle of my kitchen?

I'm not buying it.
I’m not buying it.

I have a strong memory from my childhood of lemon-scented ammonia on Saturday mornings. I would wake up to the sound of the vacuum, my mother washing down walls and baseboard and scrubbing floors by hand. I still believe in washing my floors by hand. I can’t put my daughter to bed at night without making sure that all of her toys are sorted and organized – pieces and parts in their proper homes. (Don’t be fooled! I’m making it sound as though my house is spotless; it is not.) My point is that a clean house is very important to me, sometimes so much though, that it causes me to be frenzied, anxious, unable to relax. Like, I must clean NOW. Sometimes it causes me worry and angst. Like, my womanhood is on the line – or a clean house is some measure of myself.

Don’t get me wrong. I rarely judge others on cleanliness. I will laugh if you point out the dust on your shelf or hairball in the corner. But in my own house? I laser in from across the livingroom on that spot of tracked-in mud and feel compelled to make it disappear. NOW. And I’m sure I’m imparting my insanity on my dear husband. Yet he has adopted my friend’s husband’s tenet: he just has a higher tolerance for messes than I do. Adorable. However, this line of thinking means that I carry this exhausting burden of dedicating my precious weekends and evenings after work to cleaning.

Part of me would just love to not be worried about the way the house looks, or whether or not all of the “chores” are done — to just relax and soak up the rest of Sunday before being in overdrive all week. But there’s this terrible comfort in the anxiety of getting bags packed, laundry folded, sheets changed, dog hair vacuumed, and crumbs wiped before I can actually ENJOY sitting and relaxing like my darling husband can. And I don’t think this is a knock on him. Well, not completely, anyway.

13 thoughts on “Sunday Night Freak Out

  1. I love this because I know I’m not alone! I’m so completely unorganized in so many ways in my life, but insist on taking the time to put the matchbox cars in one bin and the cars from Cars in another. My husband is a great partner in so many ways but he just doesn’t care if the dog hair is blowing up from the heat vents. How can anyone not care about that?!

  2. I’m the same as Jenn…my house could be (a lot) cleaner, but I do prefer it to be tidied up by the end of the night, BEFORE I relax, because I can’t truly relax when I see evidence of the day around. It’s like a reset button, and I need to reclaim the adult space before I can sit still. My husband is not this way. My husband is on nighttime duty half the year when I have cheer practice or a football/basketball game. When I come home my daughter is successfully in bed, and maybe the leftovers are in the fridge, but he is able sit there and relax with a show with toys still everywhere. Me, my coat is barely off before I’m putting things away. I have to admit, the tidy thing is helped a bit as Nora gets older and we’ve been enforcing putting her toys away before heading up for a bath. When we started it and she was younger, the expectation was to put only one toy away. Now she prefers to put them all away before going upstairs. Guess she gets that from me…

    1. Yes! I love my husband dearly, but I just can’t seem to grasp how his mind works when he looks at me as I cross the threshold on my late nights – dinner dishes left out, kitchen a mess, dog not fed – and I am suddenly “on duty”. And he’s so proud that he got our daughter fed that he needs to celebrate with some TV time!

  3. I could have written this exactly, except for me it’s not cleanliness, it’s tidiness. I like things in their place, but I can’t remember the last time I washed the floors even though I have a crawling child. Also, I don’t judge others on this – I just do it to my house because I think it’s something I CAN CONTROL when there’s so much I cannot. My husband is the same way – relax first and then work, except it never really comes to the work. I try to say I’d be more relaxed if we could work together on the work and then relax together, but as he points out if he likes to relax first that should be ok too. Tough stuff.

    1. Yes, Jenn! It’s all about control for me as well. I was going to mention that, but that may end up being “Sunday Night Freak Out Part 2”. And yes, on those rare days when my husband and I can work as a cleaning or tasking team, I couldn’t be happier!

  4. i cannot agree more with every sentiment here, T! I am obsessively straightening out toys, crayons, and setting up bags for school the night before. I just can’t relax if it’s all out there in front of me. The worst is that once the kids are in bed, i can’t even sit down in front of the TV without removing toys from my line of vision- for two hours of TV/husband time, i like it to be just that!!!

  5. Hahaha, I swear I could have written this EXACT thing (and FYI, I wash my floors by hand, too, because with a mop, I feel like you’re just pushing around dirty water)! I am constantly moving, tidying things as I go along, grabbing misplaced toys on my way to the bathroom to the point that I sometimes forget to go to the bathroom! My basement is a MESS because my husband is a packrat, and sometimes when I’m running on the treadmill (my only “ME” time), I look around at the mess, get anxiety about it, hop off the treadmill before I intend to be done, and spend my “ME” time tidying up the crap instead of using it to run. My husband has more flexible hours than I do, and a higher tolerance for MESS and DIRT because he never had to lift a finger as a kid… I just cannot keep up with it!

    Honestly, though, it’s the crumbs and dog hair that I think is going to push me over the edge someday.

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