I confess: I am honestly a mess. I am very carefree and relaxed in my everyday life, which can sometimes be a great thing because you never know how a day is going to go, especially with 3 young children. However, this also leads to being quite unorganized and completely overwhelmed most of the time. I usually blame this all on my children (and most anything can actually be traced back to something about one or more of my kids) but the root of the problem is probably me.
I see blogs and websites with all these beautifully maintained homes, perfectly coiffed, modern women, and wonderfully fantastic projects that the organized (and anal) mothers seem to do on a daily basis (and have time to blog about it in great detail) and I just feel incompetent. HOW DO THEY DO IT?! And, shouldn’t I be able to do all that too? Are they Stepford Wives or am I just totally inferior? Most mornings, I’m lucky to remember to change out of my horrific pajama pants into the jeans that I still have from my college days, and yet these ladies look like they just stepped out of a fashion magazine.
I try to remind myself that I am not Superwoman and that I shouldn’t compare myself to other people, and ordinarily, I’m pretty good at listening to my own advice. I have never really been a competitive person, I just try to enjoy life as it comes at me. Do I envy things about others? Sure, who doesn’t? But, do I try to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ in a pretentious way? NEVER! So why does it bother me to not be as good at domestic life as others?
Part of it probably stems from the fact that I never really planned on being a domestic diva (ew, hate that term). I have an advanced degree (along with two other general degrees); I held a steady job (and sometimes 2) from age 14 until the month before I delivered our first child, while going to school full-time; and, contrary to the natural ditzy fog I live in due to lack of sleep, I’d like to think that I am a fairly intelligent, hardworking woman. I have always known I wanted to be a mom because I really do adore kids and I’m generally pretty good with them, but I never knew about what really goes into being a stay-at-home-mom until I became one.
It’s hard being around only children 95% of the time and sometimes I feel the pressure and expectations toward mothers who don’t have an outside job (notice that I didn’t say mothers who don’t have a job – if you are a mother, no one can tell you that you don’t have a job, especially if there is more than one child involved!) are a little higher than the working mom because people think you have nothing else to do but cook and clean and other “domestic” things. There are no excuses.
But, believe it or not, moms who stay at home usually aren’t really home because they are busy running errands and driving carpool. And, when they are home, they’re usually not on the couch eating bonbons and watching their stories (I confess that I will do this if my baby is in an especially cuddly mood and then of course I drop what I am doing and we sit and cuddle while I watch reruns of Project Runway and Top Chef – hey, I’m human and I’m too tired to watch it when it actually comes on at the ‘late’ hours of 9 and 10pm; plus, babies are only babies for a little while and I have to take advantage of the cuddling). When we’re home, we’re probably cleaning something, amid tantrums and children fighting, and trying to throw something in the microwave for dinner (unless you’re the diva who actually cooks full, healthy, 3 course meals each night), not to mention working on school projects, changing diapers, baths, etc. You don’t ever really get a break from LIFE.
While sometimes I just pray for 10 seconds to myself so that I could actually get some housework done or even just take a shower without interruption or have a conversation with an adult, any adult, even a Gator fan at this point, I realize that because I “stay home,” I have more time to take advantage of the cuddly part of childhood and the milestones of my children prior to the blessed day when I can finally ship them off to school for a few hours (just got to do that with my oldest, and it’s pretty nice).
I am trying to remember the fantastic times I have with my kids and just typing this out has helped me remember why I am at home right now. I’m still struggling with maintaining domestic bliss and I’m still going to feel inferior from time to time (and I’ll probably always be a mess)! But, I’m working it out, a little piece at a time. Who knows? Perhaps I will have the whole house spotless by the time they graduate high school and I may even have their scrapbooks caught up through 2011 at that time, too.
Sometimes I wonder if some of the moms that make me feel inferior try to make life look so incredibly fantastic to cover up for the harder times that we all inevitably face? If that’s the case, I would like to let them know that it’s OK to be imperfect. Embrace it!….and then let me know how you keep everything looking wonderful anyway!
**PS. After writing this, I was able to practice walking with my baby, make blueberry muffins with my preschooler when she got home from preschool, and then eat the muffins and have a mug of hot chocolate with my kindergartener after I picked him up from school. See, some days I really do have it down….just not every day! 🙂