Swamped, but in a happy way

I just spent three hours writing a blog post that I’m not sure I’ll ever publish - at least not in its current state of rambliness. I really wanted to write something to update my friends and family on life at Chez Wilson - or rather what’s going on in the brain of Karen.

I have a lot I want to write about, but not much time these days as I’m working full-time at my full-time job and trying to be a present parent and building a business as well. It’s challenging to keep up but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that it’s all worth the effort. 

Just don’t expect my house to be clean if I invite you over. Something had to give.

The case for a cleaning service


When we were about to move into our house three years ago, I mentioned to Matt that I wanted to see if we could afford a cleaning service. He immediately poo-pooed the idea saying that we could handle keeping the house clean on our own. I let it go – mostly because I knew that time would probably change his tune. After all, we were doubling our square footage and we were trying to have a baby.

I got pregnant the first month we lived in our house and our son was born 40 weeks to the day after our closing date - on his due date. (Seriously, is that some excellent timing or what?) It’s also a lot of change in a very short period of time. Because setting up and organizing our new house was such a time-consuming job, we really never got into a routine of chores prior to Brandon’s birth. We tended to do massive cleaning days to get the house ready for company and the in-between times were spent unpacking, organizing and preparing for Brandon’s arrival. Of course, since Brandon’s birth we’ve relaxed our standards for cleanliness a lot.

One of the things we did when we moved into our house was to start a list of all the little things that we have realized we would have liked to have in this house or things that don’t work as well as we thought in this house. We intend to use said list if and when we move to a new home in the future. It includes items like “paint with a color”, because we didn’t and we’re officially tired of staring at off-white walls for three years. Who cares if the paint is like primer? At least you have color on your walls. For anal types like Matt and I, we want to take our time to find the right color that we’re going to end up with. We also don’t want to try to squeeze painting in to a short time frame that doesn’t allow us to get it done right. So far, since we’ve got Brandon around keeping us busy, there is no time to paint – yet. If we’d had our builder use color – even at an inflated cost – at least we wouldn’t feel like chumps for not having color on the walls.

At one point, I made a suggestion to be added to the list; it was that we should go with a smaller tub and get a fiberglass shower stall in the next house – both would be easier to clean. Without even thinking about it, Matt said no. His reasoning is that what we have is so nice, my suggestion is a downgrade in his opinion. He keeps the list so my suggestion isn’t on there. But he did finally come around to my way of thinking about having a cleaning service. I didn’t even have to try to convince him. After Brandon was born, it quickly became clear that doing everything ourselves was not easy and it only got worse once we were both back at work full time.

This year, we both took a week off to do spring cleaning and work on various projects that we don’t have enough time to do on the weekends. Honestly, even though it sounds like a lame way to spend your vacation from work, I quite like it because we’re able to get such a huge amount done in a very short period. In fact, this is the second year we’ve done this. But it did get me thinking about that cleaning service again – particularly when I was toiling away in the master ensuite.


The ensuite is one of my favorite rooms in my house. It’s large, has a nice layout and I love everything we selected for it. We attempted to go with a bit of luxurious, but modern and minimalist style in the ensuite. Our big splurge is the tub (some would say it’s actually a small pool). Our original ensuite design included a corner tub but I don’t really care for them. They’re also a little on the small side if your husband is 6’4” and wants to be able to stretch his legs out when he’s relaxing in the tub. So, our builder searched high and low for the biggest tubs they could get and we selected the one we liked best. We also have a beautiful corner shower that has floor-to-ceiling tiles in it.

You probably know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

They are a pain to clean! I can’t even reach the back of the tub without practically falling in. So, I climb onto the deck and contort my legs to be able to get the leverage needed to scrub the tub and also keep from slipping or falling in. There’s a list of reasons the shower is challenging. The floor-to-ceiling tile is at the top of the list. And though the shower is rather large, the shower can’t be running while the door is open without spraying the floor. So, I usually take my cleaning supplies in when I go to have a shower, clean the shower and then me. Not fun times.

Truthfully, I don’t actually mind cleaning house. It’s cathartic and when I’m done, I always feel better to see things clean and neat. It’s no longer as high a priority as it used to be, but I haven’t stopped wanting a clean house. Therefore, I have to compromise. Either I lower my standards or I have to get help to meet my standards. I’ve decided I want to get help and maintain my standards. So, when I have a permanent job again, that’s what we’ll do. In the meantime, the house will just have to be less clean. Frankly, it’s more fun hanging out with Brandon than it is cleaning tubs and toilets anyway. It may seem like a waste when I can do the work myself, but if my time is better spent with my family, I won’t hesitate to get help with the cleaning bits to be able to arrange my priorities the way I want them.



Sleep is so overrated

This week has been one of those that I would have happily skipped in life. Too many unexpected things coming up at the same time as hard deadlines - neither of the two were related either. I try to be pretty flexible, in general, but when I’m down to the wire I start to go pretty rigid. So, needless to say I’m pretty stressed. It’s the perfect opportunity for some good ole comfort eatin’. Fortunately, there’s been no time.

My house is driving me crazy. I know that when you have children, it’s inevitable that the standard for cleanliness changes to a certain extent. I just never have seen it when I’ve visited my friends’ houses. So, when I look at how cluttered my house is - compared to its pre-baby state - I have nightmares about 18+ years of this. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a reach. I’m just looking forward to when Matt goes back to work so we can hire a cleaner to come and do some of the heavy cleaning tasks that we just don’t have time to do anymore.

We bought this house, which is only a little over 2,300 sq. ft., almost two years ago. I remember saying to Matt that we should look into getting a cleaning service to help us so that we didn’t end up working all week and then cleaning all weekend. He totally shot that down because we’ve always been able to clean our apartments within a few hours top to bottom. But this is more than twice the space AND has twice the number of bathrooms. And two of the bathrooms have huge tubs with two sinks. Wouldn’t you want a service, too? After Brandon came along, he decided he agreed with me.

Let’s talk about Brandon. We took him to the doctor for his 10-month check up yesterday and it was too funny. Every time his doctor shined a light in his eyes, or on his face, he’d get this huge smile on his face. He’s such a happy, happy baby! He’s also a big guy - in over the 97th percentile for height and weight. He’s over 31 inches long. That’s almost a foot longer than he was when he was born. And he weighs almost 2.5 times as much as he did at birth - 25.5lbs. I love my little guy so much. He’s so easygoing and laid-back that I feel bad when I have friends who struggle with their kids. I mean, I’ve hardly ever felt very sleep-deprived since his birth - he’s always been a good sleeper at night.

It’s too bad I’m not as good a sleeper as the baby - then I wouldn’t be up writing this right now…c’est la vie. Who needs sleep?