My messy home kept me isolated. Any time someone came to the house, I would push back the overflowing debris and stick my face out a crack in the door. We were active in our local church, but obviously we could not invite any other young couples over to dinner. I was very lonely. My refunding newsletter listed an Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer 800 number which featured a recording of a new recipe daily. Home alone with a only a nursing baby for company, I secretly called it three or four times a day, just to hear an adult voice on the other end of the line. A woman from church kept bugging me to go to Wednesday morning ladies’ Bible study with her, but I felt trapped by my own failure. If I could not keep the house clean with the time I had available to me, how could I spare two hours away from home every week? I told her that I could not go because I had too much housework to do. She promised that she would come help me, if I went with her. There was no way that I was going to let her even see my house, let alone clean it! I agreed to go with her, just so she would leave me alone.
The ladies at Bible study seemed to have it all together, especially Glynis, the assistant pastor’s wife. She lived in the parsonage next door to the church with a tie-wearing husband and one very tidy child. Everything in her house was white, and she organized her spices in alphabetical order. I once asked her casually how she kept her house so neat even with a small child at home. She told me that, unless her daughter was in eminent danger, Glynis made her wait until she was completely done with her housework before she allowed the little girl to interrupt. Another lady, Debi, had three children, the youngest of whom was the same age as my baby girl. Her house was immaculate. She was also exceptionally stylish and good looking, but Debi said that she did not breastfeed because she could not bear to sit still and to hold the baby that long. Another lady, who sat beside me every week, lived her life out of a day planner. I had never even heard of a day planner before, but this gal could flip a few pages and tell you where she was going to be in six months and how much she spent on gifts last Christmas. Even though we shared the same faith, I felt like I had almost nothing in common with these people. Nonetheless, they were better than the Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer recording.