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Do you find yourself sighing more lately? I have always been a passive aggressive sigher. There are varying degrees of sighs. There's sad sigh, as in "we ran out of wine." There's exasperated sigh, which is a tad louder and forces more air out through the nostrils. These sighs are reserved for things like, "I can't believe they can't bring their dishes to the sink," or "Really? Another pair of socks IN THE MIDDLE OF THE KITCHEN?" But the sigh you really want to watch out for is the one in which all the air is forced out through the mouth. It's the loudest of sighs and often occur in multiples. If my kids hear three of these sighs within a five minute window, they begin to scatter. (Drink)

James generally doesn't utilize the sigh as a signal of distress. But the walls are closing in, and I've noticed (drink) some low-grade sigh-like breathing. They don't hold a light to my version of angry exhales, but give this lifestyle a few more weeks, and he might be right up there with me.

One thing that triggers (drink) the mother of all sighs is cleaning. Actually, I should clarify (drink) that I don't mind cleaning. It's cleaning redundantly that I find intensely aggravating. This is the reason I reserve any attempts to tidy the house for when the kids are at school. Since this is no longer an option, I have tried very hard to come to terms with the fact that I will inevitably step on multiple Legos on a daily basis, works of "art" will litter my kitchen table indefinitely, and the toys that were once contained in the basement, will remain strewn about the house until normalcy returns.

This is particularly vexing because of the bins. Several years ago after Christmas, I went on a little Amazon shopping spree and bought a boatload of bins which were meant to sort all the tiny accessories and parts for toys in the same category. Have you seen the amount of accessories that accompany LOL dolls? Bin. Or how about the Shopkin collection? Bin. My Little Pony's have a bin, matchbox cars, play jewelry, Enchantamles, Littlest Pet Shop...and so forth. I know...totally OCD, but they work, and keep me grounded. But NOW the contents of the bins are everywhere. Polly Pockets are mixed with Hatchamals. Paw Patrol figurines (drink) have found their way into the spy bin. And the toy ice cream bin is now contaminated with toy vegetables. I can't cope.

I know that trying to reorganize the bins is a waste of time. But while I can't tidy, I can at least clean. I meant to just clean a bathroom. A room a day seemed manageable. More than that, and all my other parental obligations would pile up. But my mission snowballed. I figured as long as I have the Swiffer out, might as well get full use of the wet wipe insert and clean the other bathroom floor. Which meant I should probably clean the entire other bathroom. (Drink) But it's a bigger bathroom which I honestly hadn't cleaned in a LONG time. I didn't realize what I was getting into. Lucky for me, Eleanor offered to help. Getting kids involved in cleaning is EXTREMELY efficient. She was a trooper and hopped (drink) right in the tub with her dirty little feet and got to work. So helpful.

By the time I had finished that, I was committed. I dusted and vacuumed the entire upstairs, ignoring the kids' pleas for snacks, and when I was done, I breathed another kind of sigh - one of satisfaction.

Unfortunately, when you clean just one part of the house, the rest of it looks like crap in comparison. So when I returned downstairs, my regular sighs returned. (Drink) And probably the next time I head upstairs, it won't look like I did a thing.

This where credit comes in. Just in case my efforts are completely obliterated, I always find a way to work every detail of my accomplishment into conversation with James. After years of subtly fishing for compliments, we have come to an understanding. There is no more beating around the bush. Instead, I just say something like, "I dusted and vacuumed the entire upstairs and scrubbed the bathrooms including the mold on the ceiling," to which he will respond, "Credit." And follow with, "I cut down the dead tree, cleared thirty bags of brush, cleaned the bird feeders, took a walk with the kids, and painted the shutters." So I flip him the bird and give him the win for the day. And breath a sigh of defeat.

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