Monday, January 17, 2011

Eff You and Your "Balance"

Here is a selection of comments my female friends had to Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP newsletter about “finding a good balance between having a career and being a mom”...

"their habits upset me!"

"i first thought, oh, it's not that bad, but then the bits about getting a blow out, and having food delivered, and going out after your kids are in bed... totally vom."

"yikes. so self important. 'let me impart all of my wisdom upon you!'"

"It made me realize why the iPad was invented. For nut jobs who can't unplug long enough to do cardio with their personal trainers."

"Gah! I can't even read it. My first thought was...'ok, you get up between 5:30-6am for "ME" time which equates to working or wasting time doing social media, right? then you work out. Who the fuck gets up with your kids?? Like you have time to help your 3 year old get dressed before you make her sliced steel oats? Your nanny does it.'. Then I wanted to puke so I stopped reading. WOW! Thank god I'm not self-obsessed and a neurotic freak who has a personal trainer and food delivered. (unless it's Chinese and I'm high)"

That last remark was from a friend who actually has a small child and is very much in the midst of figuring out how to balance being a mom with being a wife and being, you know, herself. It's a challenge which is not terribly far down the road for me, now that I've got the wife role in action. And I have to say, I'm terrified to add the needs of a little person to the mix when I'm already struggling every day to balance my own happiness with my husband's happiness with the 1,000,000 things on my to-do list.

One of the reasons I started writing Home Sweet Homewrecker was to counteract the glut of blogs out there that celebrate the triumphs of being a homemaker, or a cook, or a crafter. Sure, I frequently celebrate the times I get it right -- because I need to remember those moments -- but I often write about the times I screw it all up. Just so everyone can remember that we're not all Martha Stewart (or Gwyneth Paltrow for that matter).

I was having an email chat with my girlfriends about this idea of "balance" recently. It started because of a blog link one of us had circulated on the topic which included this quote:

"The problem is, when you’re competent, you know how well you could play every part in your life."

That really struck home with me because I'm constantly feeling frustrated that I'm not able to create more, make more, write more, play more, cook more, read more, DO more. I know I could do so many things if I had unlimited time and resources. But the reality is, we just don't. The day is only so long, and it takes time to make things from scratch, and commute from your job, and wait for the laundry to dry, and the time just gets sucked away.

Unlike Gwyneth and her rich friends, most of us don't have personal assistants or trainers to keep us on track or take care of the little details. Still somehow I forget this when I don't get to see my friends as often as I'd like, and I get the false impression from Facebook that they are all raising well-adjusted babies and climbing mountains and baking fresh muffins and running successful etsy shops. So it was good to check in with my lady friends and discover that we all feel frustrated and under pressure, and we all are struggling to find balance in our busy lives, whether it's with kids, or husbands or as single women.

And why do we all feel this way? Because we are competent women! We are painfully aware of all that we could be doing.

After several emails where we all barred our new year anxieties, this was how one friend responded, and I couldn't agree more:

Holy shit ladies. You are all amazingly strong, talented and ambitious women. Reading through this chain gave me so many different emotions...and I feel weird saying that one of those was RELIEF. Relief in hearing that a group of women who I admire are not without their own anxieties and self-doubt. I guess that sort of thing is just a constant realization for me. I doubt myself and second-guess myself in nearly everything I do and I just need to be reminded that that is just another hurdle.
I hope some of you read this and can get a little perspective. We don't have to live up to any standards set by power celeb moms, only the standards we set for ourselves. And for christssake, it's ok to lower your standards a little. There's only 24 hours in the day to do "your best."

...anyway, as a nod to nurturing my atrophied creative side in 2011, I set up an etsy store this weekend. Not that I have time for that.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I Just Made The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Look at this cookie! Its circumference is perfect, the chocolate chips are evenly distributed, and yes, it was delicious. Finally after several failed holiday dessert attempts, I at least get this old classic right. Thank you, once again, Baked cookbook.