Monday, August 23, 2010

Radical Homemaker....Failure?

Ok, so I came across this picture today and the title at the top was "Are You A Radical Homemaker Failure?"

Did that mean was I a failure as a radical homemaker or a radical failure as a homemaker? Man, sometimes I feel like a radical failure as a homemaker. I'm a good cook....I have my downs, but they are few and far between. Most of what I make isn't gourmet, but there's variety and I'm not afraid to try something new. I cook with mostly fresh ingredients these days, and out of necessity, I can make something gluten free, dairy free or vegetarian (at least pescatarian) without stressing too much over it. I think presentation is important. My mother always said, "Pretty food tastes better." She rarely (and never when my dad was home) served dinner out of the pots and pans it was cooked in.

For a long time, I thought that "pretty food" just meant moving it from a pot to a serving dish. If the serving dish was decorated, BONUS POINTS! And, don't get me wrong, that DOES count! Really, I think it "counts" anytime you make dinner, no matter what it looks or tastes like.

But lately, I've thought more about the actual presentation of the food on the plate (think Iron Chef America, where judges can award points based on taste, appearance and creative use of today's secret ingredient). When it looks interesting or different...when you pair flavors together on the makes dining more interesting....more enjoyable. Most of all, it makes the other adults (namely my husby) feel like I cared enough to spend the extra time on plating.

I would say I am *not* a failure as a cook.

What about being the primary educator of my children? Well, having been a teacher for 8 1/2 years gave me a bit of a leg up, but even so, I think I'm doing ok. (Insert laundry list of things my "unschooled" (learning more and more about what that means...basically it's what most people do with their children before they hit "school age"...there's just some people now who do it a bit more deliberately and for longer) preschooler can do that many kindergarteners cannot). Without going on a prideful binge, let's just say I think M and S are doing just fine.

So, no, not a failure as the primary educator of my children.

Let's move on to house work. Um....maybe let's skip talking about house work.

This is the point that if I could be, I'd SOOOOOO be fired as a homemaker. This place is a disaster. There's just stuff everywhere. In fact, there are times I'm feeling good about how the place looks.....and then I step back and realize there's still a light fixture in the corner in the living room, a box of dominoes, sewing scissors and some mis-matched candles on the window sill and a stack of mail taller than the children (not really) on top of the microwave.

I have ideas....and excuses. I have physical limitations (my back can only handle so much, my thyroid is WAY out of whack right now and I have this crazy knee thing that's getting better, but still prevents me from kneeling), but they don't stop me from doing other things....

My Confessions of an Organized Housewife talks about doing things "better". It doesn't mean doing it all....just doing one thing better. Her theory is that when you're good at something, you're happy to do it. I just don't know, no matter how good I am at it, that I'll ever be happy to clean a toilet. Perhaps happy the job is finished. Perhaps happy the bathroom looks and smells clean...but happy to do the job? I'm not holding my breath (well, sometimes I do when I'm preparing to clean the bathroom, but you get the idea).

So, 2 outta 3 ain't bad right? Though last time I checked, 65% was still a failing grade....even in college it was a D. Not my idea of excelling at my job.

But why do I have to do it all? If I'm a good cook and a good teacher, why can't I do those jobs for three or four families and someone in those families who's not a great teacher or who thinks a microwave is the greatest invention since sliced bread....why can't those people come clean my house? Kind of like a mommy co op, right? (ok, just fyi....I love my microwave, since we don't do dairy anymore, we've realllllly cut out most processed foods and other than leftovers, I really don't use it anymore.) All I'm saying is why are we expected to be good at all of it?

After having all of these thoughts, I followed a link to the article and realized that it was more about "going green" and all of that. Not quite the article I thought it would be, but still interesting. If you're interested in following it, here's the link.

As for today, the washing machine is running, the dishwasher just finished and I'm hoping to tackle the pile of laundry on the couch and clear the kitchen table before the kiddos come down from rest time. Not sure I'm gonna make it, but I'll try.

Wish me luck!


Little stay at home momma said...

Hey there! So I am not at all naturally gifted in the housekeeping area. But I have found one AWESOME life changing resource I'll pass along I think you'll like it.

Jennifer's Journey said...

I love FLYLADY...can't say I always do what she says...but it is a guideline...and the principle of it is basically...don't beat yourself up...start right where you are!

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Do one thing better. Oh, I LOVE that. I get so overwhelmed SO EASILY and then I get so discouraged. One thing better. THAT I can handle. Thanks for sharing that!

Sarah said...

I get soooo caught up on alllll that needs to be done that I can't get started. I try to do one thing at a time and that's a real challenge for me. I'm cleaning in the living room....take a toy to the toy room....and then get caught up in the toy room mess.

Another thing a wise woman said to me was changing my goals. It used to be my goal was "clean the house" or even "finish the dishes". I'd get so frustrated when the girls would need my attention, or something would happen or whatever. This woman told me to focus on 15 minutes. How well did I spend THOSE 15 minutes....judge my success that way. I did dishes for 15 minutes. I picked up toys for 15 minutes. I focused on M and gave her my undivinded attention for 15 minutes. Not that you had to stop when 15 mins was up, but focusing on using those incriments of time well rather than not feeling accomplished until an entire task was completed and checked off the list.

Honestly, the house is a disaster right now and I'm not sure that *this* is the best use of my 15 mins, but oh well. And, when I do focus on little blocks of time and what I can do in them, I get so many more of my "big goals" done. And frankly, when things get to "disaster relief status" in the house, I can't focus on the hours and days it's going to take to get it back under control. But 15 minutes? I can handle that.

Have an awesome day!

Sarah ><>

PS, I also went back to fly lady last night.....there's sooo much on there! I do remember her talking about getting dressed all the way down to your lace up shoes. I think that's a great nugget of advice. When I have gymmers (and a bra) on, I feel like so much less of a slob and I'm more inclined to be on my feet and move quickly through a task.

Mariah said...

I don't really use the fly lady website because it's just one more thing to distract me. I already blog and facebook and email etc etc. I don't need one more website to check regularly. BUT I do have a control journal (I call it my "It's out of my control journal"). I got most of the ideas from the fly lady website. It basically has everything I need for home organization and home management inside. I'm currently revamping it because our schedule and needs are changing some right now.

I love the "Do one thing better" idea and the 15 minute increments. Another thing that I do when I get stressed about what isn't getting done around our house (actually my husband's idea) is to skip making to do lists for a few days and instead only write down what has been done. Then at the end of the day i see a full piece of paper of everything that i DID and not the uncrossed off things that I didn't do. It really helps me gain perspective.