Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm okay with that

"The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages." - Virginia Woolf

House cleaners came yesterday. Only because we rent and the owners are coming today.  And my housekeeping skills lack a bit.

I'm a stay at home mom. I home school.  But Molly Homemaker I am not.  And I was so grateful that we were able to hire these women for this one day but as soon as they arrived, the tapes started playing.  Those tapes saying that I'm not good enough. That there's no reason I should hire help when I'm a stay at home mom. That the house cleaners were judging me because the kid's rooms were so messy.  And on and on and on. And I had the yuckiest feeling. Until I got mad.  And told the voices to shut up.  But it bothered me enough to prompt me to come here today and write it out.  My indignation.

Indignation at the pressure that I've felt to be superwoman.  

The myth of superwoman has hung on long after the media stopped airing fantasy-based commercials about working women's lives: Here she comes, home from the office after 12 hours of high-powered negotiations in the executive suite. Her designer suit is still fresh and unwrinkled, her face radiant and unlined as she opens her arms to greet her two adorable children—and sends a seductive glance toward her handsome husband, beaming proudly in the background. Watch her as, with one smooth motion, she slips off her jacket and into a dainty apron as she glides toward the spotless kitchen to create a three-course meal for her beloved family. After dinner she will check the children's French homework and read them a chapter of Jane Eyre before tucking the little cherubs into bed. While her husband watches the late-night news, she will disappear into the den to make an overseas call that will clinch a multinational deal for her company.
-Deborah J. Swiss

Yes, I'm a stay at home mom.  Yes, I home school. No, I do not love to cook and clean. (Gasp).  Now, I do those things. Because I feel that it creates a healthy and loving environment for my family. I believe that as a stay-at-home mom, my job is to keep the house up.  But....

First, I am a child of God.  Then, I am a wife and mother.  Then, I am a daughter, a writer, a student, an artist, any number of things.  And I got to thinking in that discomfort yesterday.  If I simply woke up every day, taught the children and then cleaned until bedtime....wouldn't that constitute as a waste of my talents?  

If we confine ourselves to one life role, no matter how pleasant it seems at first, we starve emotionally and psychologically. We need a change and balance in our daily lives. We need sometimes to dress up and sometimes to lie around in torn jeans. . . . Even a grimy factory can afford some relief from a grimy kitchen and vice versa.” – Faye J. Crosby

I think it would.  So, I gave myself a break.  And I'm going to continue to do so.  Because we don't live in a pig sty.  It's just that when I clean, things don't look quite so shiny.  I don't fold the toilet paper into a little triangle. There are streaks on my windows after I clean them. And yeah, it had been a while since I'd cleaned the ceiling fans.  I came to the conclusion that housecleaning is an art.  No, I don't want to learn it.  But I appreciate it as such, and so every once in a while, I'm willing to pay for it.  And, this is not a sin.  It doesn't make me a bad mother, or a bad wife or a hypocrite.  It just makes me a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, with an averagely cleaned house most of the time.  I'm okay with that.  

And just as an end note.  The kids promptly did their best to destroy the place, moments after the house cleaners left.  I think the super clean made them nervous. 

submitting at A Pause on the Path


  1. I love your honesty. Superwoman is indeed a myth and your words speak perfectly about the imperfection that exists in all of us. Great post!

  2. I think we must belong to the same club. Our house would not pass the white glove test, although it is not filthy it is not tidy. I quit beating myself up and we like things just the way they are.