Friday, June 17, 2011

Do It All

I have things to do (as this post will show you), but I read a fellow FireWife's blog this morning, and my heart went out to her.  I have to get my say out before I forget and move along with my life.

There is a myth floating around that women can "Have it all" or even "Do it all".  I would suggest saying those phrases in an ethereal and floating voice.  "Have it all...all...all..."  You know the one.  
Anyhow, this picture people have (and don't even get me going on the whole "striving to be the Proverbs 31 woman" fiasco.  More on that at some point in the future) of a woman who can work outside the home, raise her children suitably, take care of the house and its inhabitants, and keep her husband in love with her, and have time for personal reflection; its not just misleading, its damaging.  Sort of like looking at pictures of models in teen magazines and wanting to be like them.  Its not a real picture of a person.  Its airbrushed and those are someone else's legs, actually, and she didn't have to dress herself at all, or have be awake before 11:30 AM.   

Striving to have it all or to do it all is similar.  There's a fake picture of what the modern working woman looks like and does.  And at the risk of being picked up off the street & thrown into a windowless van for exposing the truth, let me say, SHE DOESN"T EXIST.  (let me also say that the apostrophe-turned-quotation-mark is one of my pet peeves of writing in all caps. you can't just flow with it.)  The woman you imagine, well, she's totally fake; not an ounce of truth on her toned stomach, or a smidgen of truth to be found from her perfectly colored hair (no, sorry, its natural) to her lovely manicured toenails (french tips are all the rage).  And like the magazine models, striving to be someone who isn't real is exhausting.

And then, there's the woman in real life who appear to have it all.  Lets focus on that last emphasized word, appear.  The image you imagine them to be putting forth, or the one they try so desperately to portray, neither one is real.  That woman who lives down the block and all of her kids file nicely in line, wearing clean clothes, to happily hop into the minivan at 7 in the morning?  Who knows, maybe they didn't get breakfast; maybe they're acting so contrite because they poured paint on all of the mattresses in the house last night; maybe she's got them all drinking nyquil.  You don't know what it is, but honestly, no one ever has everything together.  
There's always something that's got to give; nutrition is an easy one - takeout and frozen dinners, done.  Husbands often get the brunt of it too - no time for niceness, no attention left, they're often shoved to the bottom of the priority stack.

Finally, this leads me to the subject I wanted to broach; the image.  I'm tired of it.  As you can tell if you've spent any amount of time on here the last 3 weeks, I'm tired in general.  And thats one that women often hide - most of us trying to wear multiple hats or juggle too many things, we're tired.  But make-up and a small caffeine addiction can hide that one.  In order to help end the "have it all" myth, I'm going to bare all.  No, not like that, sicko.  I'm talking my house.  This is where my "something that's got to give" has gave.  Something had to slide, because there's not enough hours in my life to take care of all that needs care taking, and let me tell you, I made a vow nearly 3 years ago that the "something" would not be Handsome.  That's what you promised, married folks, years ago; He would be first, the dusting be darned.  

I want to make a disclaimer that I do not currently have children, and as a result my list of things to do & be is shorter than a mother's.  And perhaps I should be embarrassed that I'm unable to keep up when its just Handsome, Duke & I.  But if anyone who is trying, so determinedly, to do it all and sees that I can't even hold my 3 plates spinning can see this and take heart, then I'm pleased.  Even though we avoid it, and don't talk about it in polite company, being an adult is HARD.  
Yes, there are perks, which is why we've all chosen to grow up, but it is difficult.  

So, without further ado, my "something".  Welcome to my house.

Dishes: Need to be done.

Ironing: needs to be caught up on, to say the least.

The Dog: Not quite as exercised as he should be.
Don't worry, I'll chase him around the couch 3 times tonight, thats a workout.

Carpet: Sooo not vacuumed.
Its an every-other-day need, that probably gets a twice-a-week effort, if its lucky.

The Toys: Not picked up.
Careful to to step on his jaggedy bone, I'm not sure where I last saw... *ouch!* 
The Laundry: the pile keeps growing.
I would take a better picture, but then I'd have to be concerned with unmentionables.
 I didn't even take pictures of the things that need to be dusted or scrubbed or of the weird spots on my shower curtain, or the guest room that is crammed full of junk.  In case you're a clean freak (I use the term nicely), I'm sorry that I've given you nightmares.  I'm going to clean today, after my meeting with my advisor but before Duke's appointment, and perhaps after the appointment, but before I go help a friend move.  I'll try to get this taken care of before our visitors come down (Oh yes, little padwan, my house looks like this AND I have company coming today).  I've been more concerned, lately, with making sure that H. has healthy meals prepared for him, his uniforms for work cleaned, and that I've taken good-enough care of myself that I can interact with him without being a... difficult person.  And that's about all I have time for during the week.

Oh, and the garage is a mess, too.

This is my focus:  Handsome first, my own well-being second, the house third.  There are other things in there, I think I'd probably put friends above the house (obviously enough, I guess) and sometimes above my own well-being, but I try to keep them below Handsome.  There's some volunteer opportunities coming up at the church, but even with those you have to be careful, they can overwhelm.  

I don't know if I've accomplished what I set out to do.  I just wanted to be real, so as to encourage others who feel like they're the only ones who are failing while trying to do everything.  Sometimes you've just got to pick one or two, and let the rest go for a while.  
Today, I've got some time, so I'll try to catch up on what I've let slide.  Even with the priorities, there's still not a lot of room for lazy.

Frightening Health Inspectors everywhere,


  1. Not all mother's would say this after viewing your photos, but I'm proud of you. Your husband will never feel less than top priority with you and I dare say, your future children will think you are way more fun if you're not fussing with the ironing when you could be outside squirting them with the hose! Love you.

  2. Housecleaning is never on my list to do and I doubt it will make it onto my priority list in a few years after the kids graduate lol So many more fun things to do instead of clean. I just need to make more money and get a maid!


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