Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What I DON'T Do

My friend Jordan over at Wonderwheel is writing these days about NOT being a Supermom/Superwoman--in other words, about the things she DOESN'T take the time to do as she juggles home, work, kids, and marriage, and about how she feels fine with letting these particular things go. She asks us women to talk more about--to admit, really--the things we let slide, so we can perhaps formulate more reasonable self-expectations by realizing that no one else is doing it all, either, so we shouldn't feel guilty if we can't.

I like this idea so much I decided to write about it too. First, I have to say that reading this post was a bit of a revelation to me (thanks, Jordan!), because a big part (not the largest part, but a big part) of why I prefer to be a (mostly) non-working, stay-at-home mom right now is that I cannot imagine trying to do all the things I do right now to run the household on top of going out and working elsewhere too.

I always think, Oh my Lord, if I had an outside job too, how could I possibly cook dinner every night and keep the toilets scrubbed and the floors mopped and the carpet vacuumed and the beds made (with clean sheets!) and work out five times a week and return the library books and make the playdates and sweep the patio and dust the furniture and get the groceries and plan the birthday parties and do the laundry and bake the muffins and..... And right about then is when I have to lie down and close my eyes from the imagined exhaustion. On top of the current, very real exhaustion that comes from raising a preschooler and a baby full-time while also, well, managing the household.

So, when I read Jordan's post, I thought, "Ohhhhhhh! I get it! All those working moms out there AREN'T DOING ALL THAT!" (Please: no offense to any working moms out there who actually ARE doing all that on top of your paid work. If you are, you are truly Superwomen.)

Suddenly I realized that it's not that I have some sort of internal personality deficit that causes me to feel extreme aversion to attempting regular outside work (as opposed to the very part-time freelance consulting I'm currently working on) while continuing to stay on top everything I'm already doing. NO ONE can do all that. People who work for pay and have small children sometimes--if they can afford it--get help with the housecleaning and buy convenience foods for meals. It's all becoming clear to me now.

However, that's not my situation right now, so let me make my own list. Here are some things I DON'T do, and that don't bother me:

1. I don't follow the news, either. (However, unlike Jordan, I DO follow celebrity gossip, because for some inexplicable, base reason, I love love luuuuurve it. Nicole Ritchie pregnant? Paris Hilton in jail? Katie Holmes with her hair chopped into a hip new shag, out with that gorgeous baby Suri? Tell me more!) And, as Jordan says, it's okay.

2. I don't go on dates with my husband. Truth be told, this one is more about money than time. We simply cannot afford to pay for babysitters ($10/hour, minimum, in our town) on our one-salary income. I know some people would say, disapprovingly, that it's a matter of priority, and I would say, Yes, it is. And it's my priority to actually pay the electric bill each month. But beyond that issue, I feel the need to add that it really doesn't bother me (or my spouse). I know it's controversial, but really: it's okay.

3. I don't do any volunteer work. All I have to say about that is, eh. My whole existence right now is volunteer work, people, and if that makes me sound entitled and callous, well...so be it. It's okay.

4. Although it would be a good idea, given our current financial situation, to do so, I don't take the time to comparison shop. For anything. If I have both girls with me and I have to get groceries or do a major Target run, I don't even necessarily compare brands of each item. I just grab whatever I see first, because THERE IS NO TIME. And it's okay.

5. I don't do anything specific to keep up professional networks and connections while I'm home full-time with my babies. Who has time? It'll work out. It's okay.

6. I don't dust the wooden blinds in the playroom, dust the baseboards (pretty much anywhere), dust the ceiling fans, or wash the windows. Unfortunately, since neither does anyone else, um....yuck. So maybe that one I'm NOT actually okay with. Oops.

How about you, all you proud Non-Superwomen out there? What don't YOU do?

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