Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Isn't she lovely.

When I worked full time, I did it badly and thought, "I'm not cut out for this 9-5 stuff. I need to be home baking cookies, kissing scraped knees and elbows, scrubbing bathrooms, fluffing pillows, arranging flowers, hanging laundry out to dry, reading stories, finger-painting, having dinner ready for my husband, helping with homework, puttering in the garden and all other hallmarks of domestic aptitude. "

I felt confidant that home was where I could truly shine where I had failed to in my work life. That perhaps the role of a homemaker was something I would excel at and leave me fulfilled and blissfully content. I pictured a warm, lovely inviting sanctuary, full of good food and good friends, that our handsome, tidy children would reflect on lovingly once they were grown, and longingly contemplate their magical childhood through a glow of happy memory.

All because of their amazing mother.

While I suppose its possible that I must have my shinier moments, I have come to the sinking realization that as badly as I sucked in corporate life, I'm not actually very good at this domestic doyenne thing either.

I look around and see clutter everywhere, picture frames that have hung on the wall empty for months, peeling baseboards, crumpled laundry. You're hard pressed to find a working marker in our house let alone finger paints. There is no comforting aroma of anything baking, nor do I have any idea what my kids will eat for lunch let alone have a plan for supper. Every room in our house is incomplete, with pictures yet to be hung, curtains to be sewn, walls to be painted. The kids are grubby, the carpet needs to be replaced again and the thought of entertaining company in this state is embarrassing and overwhelming.

It used to be I blamed this house for my lack of inspired home-keeping. It's too small, we don't have a dining area big enough for company, it's old, it needs work, there's no storage space, the closets aren't big enough, it's dark and on and on I would justify the gross inaction of my days to myself and often my husband. And then added to the list of excuses was the, "I have two small children close in age" sort, and the "we can't afford it" sort and the "I'm not feeling good" sort.

But again, there has been this gentle dawning in my mind as I observe the life and homes of others' similar to mine and see that their husbands are often busier and less helpful than mine, their children just as young, their financial situations not markedly different and yet somehow their beds are made, the picture frames filled, dinner ready, classes attended, and all home-fires stoked.

And by this observation, I have come to see, that as much as I still believe that home is my calling (and perhaps duty even), I'm not as good as this as I'd hoped I'd be. I'm generally lazy (apologies to Robin who hates that label), uninspired and selfish.

This week I read a friend's blog post about the kind of day that back when I was working, I would have imagined would be the norm if only I too could stay home. Whilst the post itself did make me aware of the lack of effort I have put forth in making the dreams of my imagination a reality, it was a comment on that post that, while intended as a compliment for the blogger, as I read it felt myself being gently reproved.

It said that lovely days (and thus lovely homes, and lovely children, and lovely memories), are a result of lovely people.

And so I know what I need to do. Perhaps I will never live up to the Martha Stewart standard I had hoped I would effortlessly attain, but maybe, with an attitude adjustment, and more effort towards the loveliness of my spirit, I can become even a glimmer of the mom and wife I always thought I'd be.


Aimee said...

I hope you don't mind my commenting...I found your blog through CJane's forum.

I just had to tell you how much I appreciated your post. I feel very much like you do! I always knew I would be a stay at home mom, and I always thought I would be amazing. ha! I'm not. I'm not awful, but I'm not doing the super job I thought I would. I struggle with laziness, and being too easily distracted, and a small house, and small children....all that stuff. But I have been thinking lately that I don't have to be this way. So I've been trying to improve and do a little more one step at a time. My original goal was to fix up one thing/area/whatever a week. I even blogged about it every week. I've fallen out of that habit and I miss it!

Anyway...thanks for writing this. It's encouraged me and helps me feel a little better knowing I'm not the only one with these thoughts. Thanks!

sharmilla said...


Not only do I not mind, I appreciate the time you took to read and post here. I'm so glad to know I'm not alone, and I definitely think us like-minded moms can encourage one another.

I like your idea about trying to improve something every week. Often I just throw my hands up and admit defeat, but you've inspired me to keep trying, a little at a time.

Quinn And Zoe said...

As someone that has never met you (but does read your blog) I think you are doing a great job at mothering and wife-ing.
Just remember that you are giving your children the resources to know the greatest gift there is.
-love a wife who isn't a mom, but thinks moms need more credit because they work dang HARD.

mandypants said...

I think the rest of the line from that tune - "Isn't she lovely...." continues with "....made from love...." and no one would doubt that! So don't worry my dear, you are lovely, cause you are giving your little ones a wonderful gift...the love of a mother!

sharmilla said...

Zoe and Amanda -

I majorly appreciate the confidance boosters. And really I hope that's what my kids do remember... that I truly loved them as best I could and not the dusty furniture and slapped together dinners.

r.a.d.e tarves said...

I do wish you wouldn't be so hard on yourself, my dear! But, I feel like you some days, and then I remember that there is one important thing I need to do for my kids besides love them - to show them and teach them about the love of God. If we're doing that, then they'll be the luckiest kids in the world! At least that's what I appreciated most about my Mom when I look back.. :)

Heather said...

I wanted to comment on this when I first read it since it mirrored exactly what I'd been saying to Alan a couple of days before.

I too find the perpetually dirty/sticky floors frustrating. I feel like the house isn't clean enough, the meals not healthy enough (I'd love to use all organic, no processed etc.) and things are too often in general disarray. Reading your blog reassures me that this is how things are supposed to be. We would all like to "effortlessly" have the Martha Stewart home, but unfortunately it takes effort, too much effort. Perhaps when our kids are in their 30's we'll have a completely renovated, spotless, decorated for every season, home. But for now, we'll enjoy our kids and not feel guilty spending our time loving instead of cleaning. There'll be lots of time for that later.

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