The other day I read my pal Shauna's blog. (I am calling her my pal now because she wrote a blurb for my book and I pretty much can't get over that. Also we are both blond PK's, with health food
nut aware mothers and we are both married to musicians and have 2 boys. So see. Totally pals.) Anyway. I read Shanua's blog and I loved what she had to stay about the Myth of Doing It All. And I loved what some of her other pals had to say about it as well.
And then today in an email exchange another blog pal was surprised that I had a full time -outside the house - job. Not surprised in an "OMG how could you?" way, but just a "oh hey, I never knew that about you." way.
So I got to thinking. About the Myth of Doing It All and about how my very pretty book might make it look to some degree (though, if you read the bits of my story throughout you will realize quickly that I don't) that I Do It All. And that I think you should Do It All as well.
And nothing could be further from the truth.
So in the spirit of transparency and dispelling myths here are some things about me and how my life works that you may not know.
I work outside the home at our boys school full time. We get to school around 7am and we leave around 4pm. Often on Thursdays or Fridays I will come straight home from work and go to bed for 2 hours and sleep like the dead. I love where I work, I love my co-workers and I love being near my kids all day. I love having their schedule, that part is magical. I love having long summer and Christmas breaks. But it is not a piece of cake. It is work. And I am often tired. Grateful, but tired.
About every 3 weeks we have a lady who comes and cleans our house. It is heaven. I love the smell of the freshly mopped floors when we first open the doors. She mops, cleans the tub, scrubs the baseboards, dust the fans. I don't. I can, I just don't.
I leave my clothes on the floor. I loath hangers and bars that are too high. Also I live in an old house which means small closets. Sometimes I just can't fight the space anymore. So I don't. My bedroom rarely looks like the magazine pictures, and instead looks shockingly like my freshman dorm room.
I take an anti-depressant and a booster. There are several reasons for this and I won't bore you or me with them (it's long and rambly) but they are needed and I am grateful.
I write in my bed too much. I wish I wrote in the Art Room more. Sometimes I write at friends houses before dinner parties. Sometimes I write really early in the morning or really late at night. Sometimes (during our school breaks) I get to go away for whole weekends or a week to write. I love those times. Those non-split into four people times. But they are the exception.
Sweet Man and I both cook. I make breakfasts, he makes lunches, we both do dinner. Or we go out. Or we eat cereal.
Sweet Man is the main laundry person. I help out from time to time. I do like visiting the laundry line but I need a new one.
I don't keep up with my boys clothing and shoe situation like I should. They pretty much have to let me know when things are getting dire. Which they do.
I keep a messy car. It is a battle I am not choosing at this time.
Our kids have to do chores everyday. Real chores. Sometimes they do chores while I take a nap.
I do like to keep the main living spaces in the house straightened up as much as possible. The kitchen, the dining room, the living room. I like those places to be fairly presentable most of the time, it is important to my sanity.
We have 2 closets that are a bit like the game Tetris. You have to move this to get that etc. I hide things in them until I am ready to deal with it. Which happens about twice a year. And then they are lovely and clean for about a month.
I don't care as much about the front yard as I should. My neighbors will attest to this.
I will have to keep working full time and promote my book and keep writing all at the same time. Sweet Man has my back on this. We are already talking a lot about how to navigate this new terrain, how to find our way as a family during this new season as I begin to schedule speaking and reading events. I think it is going to be hard and great and exhausting. I will let you know.
We have great help with our kids. Our families are close enough and help out when they can - a lot. Also our kids have reached an age where we can often take them with us to events and they will occupy themselves without too much trouble. Also I get a lot more sleep now than I did when they were little. A lot more. This is huge for me.
And for the record, I make mistakes (as if you don't know this.) I get cranky. I get stressed. I let the car get too messy. I let the clothes pile up too long. I look at my phone when I should be looking at my kids, trying to answer one more email. I carry on conversations while typing away on the laptop. Sometimes I do my best and sometimes I don't.
Mostly we have our rhythm of living - for now- figured out and it works for us. But I never Do It All and I defiantly don't Do It All Well (when I try) and I never do any of It alone. But for all the things I do do I have a lot of help and support for, and I choose to let things go (see clothes on floor, messy car etc.) that others might not and I am OK with that.
I think the reason I wanted to write all of this, this long and rambly blog post, is that even though I wrote a book that is full of amazingly beautiful photos of fun crafty, cooking, entertaining wonderfulness, I don't want to send out a message that if your life doesn't look that pretty EVERY SINGLE DAY or even on EVERY SINGLE HOLIDAY, that you have somehow missed the mark.
All those crafts and parties and recipes we did for the book, we did in about 16 months. And it was hard. Really, really hard. I would NEVER recommend anyone try to do ALL of them every year.(Unless you are Martha Stewart or you have her staff.) We don't even do all of them every year. We do some of them. Some I hope to add in over time or do with neighborhood kids now and then or maybe even my grandkids on down the road.
I want to be really upfront and clear that A Homemade Year is an idea book, not a manual or a standard. I hope everyone knows that. I think you do. But because these are the sorts of things I worry about. And I wanted to say it out loud and in print so that if you (or I ) ever forget you (or I) can come back here and be reminded.
The Myth of Doing It All is just a myth. It's a very pretty myth, all dressed up on Pinterest. But it's not the measure of who we are, who you are, who I am. Not even close.
So, if for some reason you are trying to live up to Doing It All, please feel free to now throw in the towel. I know just the spot on my bedroom floor where it will look perfect.