Friday, January 13, 2012

Competative homemaking

Sometimes I feel this undercurrent between mothers, an unspoken rivalry. Sure we are friendly and want the best for each other, but we sort of wish that the women next to us wasn't more organised then us, or didn't keep a neater house, or wasn't so incredibly crafty. If you happen to be the most organised, patient and "successful" mother in your circle of friends, it might not bother you. But, if you are like me, it can really become grating. I see other mothers doing it to themselves and that is what saddens me the most. To me they seem to be pressuring themselves to be "better" homemakers and their value is all wrapped up in this endeavor. I am not being critical. I have to fight the ugly green monster myself. When someone posts a photo of their latest homemade creation, I feel a twinge of bitterness rise up within me. I look around at my kitchen counters ornamented with dirty dishes, the floors littered with dog hair and paper scraps and my piles of laundry in every stage of laundering and wonder "What is wrong with me? Why are other women able to accomplish so much while I seem to be struggling just to deal with basic housekeeping?"
I console myself with comfortable answers, but the fact is, if those women had identical circumstances to my own, they would still accomplish these great feats of homemaking. They are more organised and determined. I feel my will weakening at the sight of my laundry room's condition. I fall to questioning myself and determine to never let this happen again, although I know it will. Before children (BC), I was a decent housekeeper and a somewhat diligent pursuer of the domestic arts. Now, I am the head of our very own disaster cleanup crew.
But what does it matter? Why am I rating myself along a scale of domestic efficiency? It's not like I am competing with anyone to keep my job, or fighting for that next big promotion.
I am  sitting on our futon, typing on my laptop (which is missing a few keys) while my little son snuggles into my arm. This is a great job. Sure I would enjoy our house more if it was cleaner and more organised, but that is not reflective of my value. I think it is fun to bake beautiful meals and desserts, knit and sew, and tend our little backyard menagerie. They are valuable pursuits but they do not give me value.
I do not think I am alone in this struggle. It seems to me that there are many wives and mothers who are comparing their domestic accomplishments to those of their friends and feeling the need to outdo one another. So what if you handmade every single Christmas present for everyone you know? So what if you made twenty different kinds of Christmas cookies all from scratch with butter you churned yourself and placed them in tins that you decoupaged, and then wrapped them up in your own hand stamped, hand made wrapping paper? I just hoped you enjoyed it and didn't do it because you felt you needed to impress someone.
I guess I wish as women we were not competing with one another for the "homemaker of the year" award. At least don't bother competing with me.You've already won.

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