Monday, October 21, 2013

You Don't Need Anne- Marie Slaughter to Tell You

(So Emo of me! Thumbs down! You can't have it all. Especially on a Monday.)

Well dear readers, I've come to a stark realization. After my early autumn trial of "finding my flow", (Me go girl!)  it has become apparent that indeed, one can not have it all. At least not myself. At least not until Jon hires a gender-neutral cleaning specialist and a personal chef and a driver and a tutor and we send our laundry out.  And I'm not even talking Anne-Marie Slaughter high-powered career/ multiple kids at home style of not being able to have it all. I can't even seem to find enough time in the day to keep my little house clean, the pantry stocked and the blog regularly updated. Those blissful two weeks that I spent a daily hour-and-a-half at the coffee shop, plucking away at the keyboard, lead to a few more dust bunnies than I'd like to admit to  you. But I am.

It was fast becoming apparent that if I wanted to "do it all" at home, then I wasn't going to be able to keep up a daily writing session. Which, kind of makes me really sad, but I understand........

It's funny because when I was a little girl and then a teenager and a young adult, all I wanted was to one day become a housewife and a mom. Sure, I had some career aspirations, but the thought was, your children are only young once, and I really wanted to experience running a household, if only for a while.

And then one day you get everything that  you ever dreamed for, and you're like......whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?
(Ok, I'm not always like whaaaaaaaaaaaat? Only sometimes.)

Take today for example, my PLAN (at least in my mind just as I dieted off to sleep last night), was to wake up early, exercise, get ready for the day, wear a cute French-inspired outfit, eat a healthy breakfast of steel cut oats and berries, tidy up the house and be off to the cafe for some serious writing before school pick-up.

In reality though, for some reason (Ah Hem! JON.) the alarm did not go off this morning. Thank God I can rarely sleep past 6:30am, because my eyes shot open just then. We're late! There was no time for a workout.  There were meowing cats to feed and coffee to make and a kid to wake and make breakfast for and push to get dressed and brushed and fed. I ended up doing those things with Jon and cleaning the kitchen and emptying the dishwasher and making the beds and putting a load of laundry away.
And wiping up hamster urine. There was no glamor this morning.

After the boys were gone and the house was quiet I went upstairs to hit the treadmill. I had my usual re-run of the most awesome, most sickeningly narcissistic British "reality" drama series, The Only Way Is Essex, queued up on my laptop. (It really is a bad show but I can't stop!) Most days I watch half an episode while I sweat it out, imagining that I too am an Essex glamazon in my Rover truck.
Today though, I received a nice call mid-workout from a caring friend who saw Halloween themed stencils and thought of me. I like being associated with Halloween themed stencils for some reason.
 I proceeded to sweat into my phone and almost broke it completely. It went all staticy and muffled from sweat. How disgusting is that? See, it was not a glamorous morning.

By the time all of that was said and done, and I was showered and dresses, I was running late. So, instead of having organic steel cut oats with fresh raspberries and blueberries as I had fantasized, I settled for a bowl of Cocoa Krispies and two-hour old, cold coffee, while curling my hair and answering text messages.

And then I had a series of those Mommy conversations over email, text and the phone that just makes me go whaaaaaaaaat? WHO AM I? WHAT IS MY LIFE!?

"What day can Noah play? Tuesday or Thursday?"
"Not Thursday, how about Tuesday?"
"Wait, not Tuesday, how about Thursday or Wednesday?"
"Fine, Wednesday.
If it's not too late of a playdate. I'm watching a friend's daughter starting at 7:00am Wednesday. Long day."
"Ok,then. Can you meet us after school at the middle school/high school after my son's orthodontist appointment?"
"Ok........fine. bye."
"Wait, just have him eat with us so there is more time to play. I'll make them dinner."
"Great, thank you. Bye."
"WAIT! I'm taking home the class hamster that day! I have no room in the car!"

Jon, can you commit to helping me buy/make/deliver a meat/cheese/cracker platter for school next Thursday? HURRY!
He'll only wear sweatpants now.
There's no school WHEN!?
We're out of magic eraser. Shit!
I hope he'll eat the gnocchi. It's ok, I'm making crockpot apple sauce.
His socks have holes in them!
What time is the play? Can you babysit on the 4th?
Sure, we'll be there at 3:30.
Don't forget the dry cleaning!

I'm excited for the......the.....the.......what is it called!? A bar and bat mitzvah mixed together? A B'nai Mitzvah? Mitzvot?
I can come to the morning services, but I'm supposed to go see Santa at Greenfield Village with my family that night.

Omg, I have to buy glow sticks this week!

That is just PART of it all. It's like this A constant communication stream about nothing much, but really everything that my life is. Maybe THIS is why I can't fit everything into my 8:00am-3:00pm work day.

Once that was all said and done. I tried to dress up like a French lady. But, that did not last long because I realized how truly disgusting our bathroom was. And I thought, gosh, if I dress up like a French lady and go to the lovely cafe and write while my bathroom is disgusting, that would be rude of me as a housewife. I mean, it IS my "job" and all. So I spent the following hour cleaning the sink and toilet and the moulding. Sweeping and vacuuming the floor. Washing the mirrors, scooping the litter box that is wedged between the toilet and the wall. Then I wiped down the counter top and the vanity, and even made non-toxic shower and tub cleaner! (Which btw, is the BEST.) Then I scrubbed the damn shower and tub until it was all clean. I stood back hair all frizzy and messy again. Looking less French than wet Sasquatch. And you know, the REALLY sad thing is, is that after an hour, the bathroom didn't even look that much cleaner! Ugh. Ugh. UGH! The floor needed to be scrubbed, the big rug washed, the shower curtain too. This was a multiple hour job.

I decided that I had to tackle the house cleaning in chunks. I abandoned the bathroom, swept the stairs and my guilt called it a day. I re-Frenchified myself, shoveled some cold soup and yogurt in, and left for the cafe'. That's where I am now. With my latte and a laptop. Although, I do have to leave soon. I know that if I'm being realistic, I can't come back again this week, or at least not until Friday perhaps. Wait, no. Noah doesn't have school on Friday. SEE!

I wish there was time to be a Mother and a housewife AND a part-time writer, but I truly think having it "all" in that way is very very difficult.

Sure, I could write at night after Noah is asleep, but even then I'm still getting things done, like extra laundry or ironing or email. And besides, I'm not sure about you, but my tired brain doesn't come up with words as well late at night. It's not a great solution.

How about you guys though? What have you found to be true for yourselves? Have you found that mythical work/home balance? I'd love to hear about other people's opinions.  I feel as though being a mother and housewife is more than enough. I respect it as a legitimate job. Do other people agree with me?

Housewife readers out there, do you also feel internal pressure to develop yourself, your life outside of the house?  Maybe part of this is learning to accept that what a person does at home on a daily basis really is adequate.

Thanks for letting me just spit this all out there. It's so cathartic for me sometimes.  In a minute I'll pack up my computer, put on my coat and open my umbrella. I'll drive over to school and pick up Noah. They we'll pick up the dry cleaning.  I'll bring him home and help him do his homework. I'll feed Noah a snack and feed the cats. I'll make dinner, entree, fruit, salad and clean up as I go. I'll sweep the floors, maybe take a 20 minute outdoor walk. Iron a little, parent a little. And at the end of the day, maybe, when I look back on it all, perhaps I really did more than I thought.



Also, this week Willow helped me make a "Fall Fairy" hat for a Halloween party.

Then Jon came home and wore it, and read my new Vermont Country Store catalogue. He's going to look great at the party.

Tonight I made some applesauce using the most delicious apples. Our sweet neighbors brought us a big  basket of them from Northern Michigan! I altered an Alton Brown recipe. Not to toot my own apple horn, but it was the best applesauce I have ever tasted! Basically, peeled, chopped five Honeycrisp apples. Put the chopped apples in a large pot and pour in a cup or so of apple cider. Next, 2Tbs of butter. 3Tbs of honey and some cinnamon. I simmered it for about an hour and then smooched. SO good!

I also made this spinach and nutmeg gnocchi from Cooking With Trader Joe's. I know it might sound a bit strange, but it was really really good. Also easy!

Jon came up with a new way to serve pudding.


And, you know......
A latte, again.


Loulou said...

Oh my gosh ... I can't count the number of times I read out loud while reading this! You are really good, and should definitely carve out the meager time to write.

Lauren said...

Awwww. Thank you for the encouragement LouLou, it means soooooo much!
xoxoxoxoxoox :)

Katie said...

Okay, first of all, I think your house, crafts, and meals look awesome and very French-lady like (if they do pumpkin decorations in France...I'm not sure. But if they do, they would look like yours). Second of all, I LOVE that you wrote about those annoying email mom conversations. Third of all, I also love that I am not the only one that has the running to-do list going through my head all the time.I found your blog because I'm going gray, but I love it because of your humor and relatability. So, I think you're awesome and your writing is awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome!!! :-) Thank you.

Lauren said...

Awwww, Katie, I think YOU'RE awesome! (Even though I just meet you, I can tell!)
Thanks for taking the time to leave such a sweet and nice comment. I was just asking my husband Jon this morning, if it was strange that I always feel so busy with "to do's". Glad to know it's not just me.
Well, it's very nice to meet you! I'm off to carve some french pumpkins. Le citrouille!
(Ok, I had to look that one up....)
Lauren :)

Unknown said...

Lauren there is no HARDER job than being a stay at home parent. Remember to take care of YOU so you can help take care of others.. Your Blog is written so well keep doing only what makes YOU feel good that's what your family wants for you.I love all the pumpkin decorations FANTASTIC. Your hair is lovely~~

Unknown said...

Lauren there is no harder job than being a stay at home parent. Remember to take care of yourself first so you can help to take care of others. Y our blog is so well written!! Do what makes you happy your family will love you even more for it.Your hair is LOVELY~~

Lauren said...

Oh Pamela, I just read your comment and I am tearing up. Thank you so so much for those kind words today, I needed them! After a couple of days of being the only parent around here (Jon was out of town) and no school due to conferences, and two days of playdates at my house, I'm feeling a little worn out. Now I have a heap of "catch-up" work to do, but all I want is some down time.
Thank you for the support and reminding me to take care of myself too. :)
Also though, I feel like the "job" of a stay at home mother/housewife is not often seen as hard work. It's kind of "silent work" in many ways. Although my husband is very caring and appreciative of what I do, I think society in general does not see that it is a lot of work to be on your feet, vacuuming of doing laundry and all the errands and taxi driving , and constantly cooking and cleaning up etc etc.
It IS hard work, isn't it!
I love it with all my heart, but it is not a walk in the park.
Thank you again for your caring comment. I can't wait to post again soon. This weekend is full of Halloween activities and such, but I will start carving out so "me" writing time!
Thank you, you all make my life that much richer and full with your input and support.
Lauren :)