Friday, February 26, 2010


I am quite the klutz at homemaking, and I have finally discovered why! I found a blog entry called "The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Homemakers."

To be blunt, I have none. Let me show you...

First, Cheryl says that all children must be over five-years-old. Nope. I'm in Toddler Land. NEXT!

Second habit: start the day with a plan. My daily plans are limited to dragging myself out of bed when B awakens, making sure I'm wearing deodorant, grabbing my make-up bag, and high-tailing it to our baby activity du jour. Not exactly the plan that makes for a successful homemaker.

Third habit: basically, don't procrastinate. Ummm, did I mention that I went to law school? It was an exercise in procrastination. Technically, I am now a professional of a habit that DEFINES me as an unsuccessful homemaker.

Fourth habit: don't allow clutter to accumulate. Despite my persistent efforts to "simplify" my life, I have not mastered this habit. Specifically, I have an issue with books and magazines. Oh yes, and clippings therefrom. I haven't read much about managing that chaos. Maybe I'll shoot some emails into the blogisphere.

Fifth habit: good homemakers are "wizards at organizing it all." I'm so overwhelmed with my STUFF that I don't even have a chance to broach the subject of organizing it. See, I told you things weren't looking good for me...

Sixth habit: control the clutter during projects. Nope..."F"...Come on, it's a big deal for me when I get past the "fantasizing about a project" stage and actually make it into the "during the project" stage.

Seventh: the job is to make a home for the family. I might not really fail at this one. We always have food in the house. We always have laughter roaring. The highlight of all of our days is when we come together in the evenings. (It sure did take a long time for me to get to success territory, right?)

Despite my big "F," I really enjoyed reading this article because it highlights some goals I will (eventually) set for myself. While it's humorous to itemize my shortcomings, the truth is that I sure would love to be a genius at the work I do everyday. Oh well, maybe that day will come in my next career...or lifetime!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I haven't taken much time to read my favorite blogs lately, so in catching up I was interested to read about a new phenomenon: no adults working outside of the home. Yes, one of my favorite bloggers, Mandy, keeps a very interesting website called "Organizing Your Way." Her husband had worked for many years to support their ever-expanding family. In Mandy's last post on her personal website she mentioned that the hubs was selling his business to come home, become a stay-at-home dad, and assist her with home-schooling their four? five? daughters. Apparently her blog generates enough income to support the family. And I am impressed. I will be further interested to follow how this plan works for this family.

Admittedly, I was a fan of "Jon & Kate Plus Eight." When Jon was able to quit his job and come home to help raise the family, I thought it was brilliant. Despite the anti-social arguments to people becoming completely home-based, I think it is an ideal situation for raising young children. Ryan and I decided long ago that it would be optimal for our family if I were to be home with kiddos. I enjoy observing the milestones and playing at Gymboree. I wouldn't trade this time for the world. It has given me an entirely new, more enthusiastic perspective on life. Having said that, wouldn't it be special for Ryan to have the opportunity to partake in these moments? While I know that his contributions to our children's lives would be distinctly different from mine (rough-housing, playing ball, etc.,) I do believe it would be well worth the time spent to engage in all of the daily routines.

Here's the downside. First of all, it is a difficult task to accomplish. In order to enjoy the full effects of two stay-at-home parents, at least one parent would have to have a part-time, home-based occupation that generated a substantial income. While this is quite possible, it is an exercise in both creativity (to find the task,) patience (to build the business,) and discipline (to create a balance.)

The other potential downside of both parents at home is the way it COULD affect the husband's perception of his role. Men often identify themselves by their professions. They pride themselves on the money and accolades awarded by an employer. In my opinion, this was one of the two fatal flaws in the Gosselins' plans. Jon seemed to lose his sense of identity when he no longer worked outside of the home. He sought to reconnect with the man he remembered being prior to his role of "Daddy" consuming his identity. I think this could be tough for any man to overcome. More often than is mentioned, it is also tough for some women to overcome.

Nevertheless, I will eagerly follow Mandy and her family as they explore how this new arrangement works for them. For now, for OUR family, divided roles give us a satisfying balance, but I can imagine a day when these roles will change. It will be a new and exciting adventure, for sure!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Mirror Friend

Today I had the pleasure of going to see "A Chorus Line" with a dear friend of mine. Her wisdom is deeper than mine. Her heart is more tender. Her vision is more clear. She is my "mirror" friend. Let me explain.

After we parked in the Hobby Center garage, we boarded the elevator to whisk us seven flights to the ground. The show was due to begin in precisely fifteen minutes, and we had to hit up Will Call prior to seating. The elevator was packed. We stood shoulder to shoulder. As it happened, I was in the middle of a little anecdote about a slightly bothersome and very entertaining story about an acquaintance. The tale was neither malicious nor favorable, yet it involved an animated mimic of her mannerisms. Excited to share, I continued talking throughout the elevator ride.

When we evacuated, my friend made a light-hearted comment suggesting that now everyone around us understood the situation I had just recounted. Although I am quite sure my Mirror Friend was not bothered in the least, her powers, her value as my Mirror Friend, suddenly struck.

You see, a Mirror Friend is a teacher. She shows you how to see yourself. She forces you to hear yourself. In this moment, just outside of the elevator, she forced me to face a very ugly truth that I find intolerable: I had not only shared an unfavorable tale about an innocent person, but I had, in doing so, created an unfavorable scene casting myself as the villain.

I realized that although my behavior was neither kind nor entirely rare, other friends hadn't ever shown me how ugly said behavior could be. Despite the fact that my Mirror Friend has no intention of the service she does for me, I am quite sure that she would be proud. I just wonder what value I have to offer her.

Monday, January 4, 2010

How DID Stella get her groove back? And a fantasy.

Don't you just LOVE this picture? It's from Martha Stewart's blog, a picture of her farm. Suddenly I can breathe again. I am on the second story balcony of my country home, a hot cappuccino in my hands, and a wool poncho over my shoulders. I'm just taking it in, inhaling the winter.

SMACK! Olsen (the dog) just snored and snapped me out of it.

On another note, does anyone know how Stella got her groove back? (I'm referring to the dramedy from years ago.) I need to get my groove back, too. Well, I don't think we are defining "groove" quite the same; nevertheless, I need to find mine. Somewhere between holiday parties, celebrations, travels, and vacation days, I seem to have completely lost my routine. When things are "normal" my body seems to mimic the beat of my routines, but I so easily get off track. Hence, I am sitting on the couch blogging instead about getting dressed and doing some laundry? Don't worry, by about 3pm I'll be ready to go. Unfortunately, that means I will have lost five hours to waste. (Come on, you KNOW things don't really get going until 10am, right? I have to feed everyone, and, um, wake up.)

Hopefully this week will push me towards what used to be and NEEDS to be my routine. I've got a list I need to get around to, ya know?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"The Opposite of Love"

Last night I finished the book called "The Opposite of Love." I thought it was going to be a breezy comedy about a twenty-something woman and her plight to find her way in the world. Instead, it was heavy...perhaps "heavy" isn't the right word, but it certainly struck a painful cord in my heart.

While I never quite bought the narrator's definition for what is the "opposite of love," some of her explanations forced me to understand some of my own compartmentalized sadness. In short, she explained that the reason we sometimes hold back our tears and muffle our pain in times of loss or heartbreak is because we fear that if we begin to cry, we will never stop. There is sometimes no cessation of the losses that we feel, so we are left knowing that no matter how many tears that our eyes leak, there will still be more. We cannot open the floodgates to a flood that we know will drown us.

I share this not to dwell on my own losses, for I am grateful and happy every moment, but to lend this explanation to others that might wonder if their dry eyes reveal a cold heart. No. It is merely a defense to defend against the fear that we might not recover. Then again, we don't. I suppose life is a series of scars and prayers and memories, and the beauty is that we don't ever recover.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Steps 6-10:

6. "Get back in the kitchen!" I love to cook. I love to bake. I love people to eat my food. But these days I rarely cook a meal. Baby B and I like to eat dinner between 5pm and 6pm, but the hubby doesn't get home until seven or later. Throw in the fact that the hubby never really gets excited about food, and I'm left not caring too much about dinner. I could eat ramen or cereal every night. I'm tired by the evening, so it's just so easy to be lazy. I know that we need to spend more time eating together as a family, and I know that Baby B needs to be exposed to a wider variety of dishes. I'm trying to create a list of meals and recipes that satisfy all of us and can be put on a sort of rotation. I figure that fourteen meals and four batches of baked goods could be thrown on repeat to last us a few months. My goal is to complete the meal plan by January first so that I can get started on the right foot. Here's to 2010 full of home-cooked meals!

7. "Keep your girlfriends." Check. I definitely enjoy my girlfriends. In fact, I get a barrage of phone calls every evening... they all seem to be extroverts and big talkers. Go figure!

8. "Make time for yourself." I love this one. Right now I'm lucky to have most "nap times" at my disposal. I take long baths, and I read. I also read myself to sleep at night. I guess that's how I love to spend my "me" time. In 2010 I'm going to keep a list and try to read 100 books. I'm not sure how many I usually read per year, but I'd like to see it reach 100. I'm stocking up on good books and potential titles right now!

9. "Don't take it all so seriously." I'm pretty good at this. I take food and sleep seriously. Other than that, I'm pretty good at rolling with the long as those punches don't come from the dogs. One of these dogs is making me crazy lately, and I'm pretty sure the neighbors can hear me screaming at him everyday. If I have a stroke, you can be 99% sure it's because of him.

10. "Don't wish for someone else's problems." I don't think I wish for other people's problems, but I do occasionally wish for other people's blessings. Ultimately, I know that any time I spend wishing away my life is time spent wasting my life. The truth is, I just need to be more disciplined about distracting myself from these torturous thoughts. Really? Am I THAT shallow? Am I THAT insecure? No. They're just fleeting moments of weakness. So float away, please.

There are many areas in which I seek to improve. As a housewife, it's so easy for me to let things slide. My husband never complains, and my baby never cares. But I want better for them. I want better from me. So in 2010 I'll record my efforts and enjoy my know, until it all gets derailed by the arrival of baby #2. (No, I'm not pregnant...but it's a-comin'! I'm so excited! :))

Distracted from The Job

In my quest to become a better mother, wife, and homemaker, I have been reading lots of books on the subjects. Leave it to me to try to INTELLECTUALIZE the phenomenon of the "homemaker" as opposed to CREATING it. Anyhow, my most recent read was "Happy Housewives" by Darla Shine. Although the book was clearly written for the upper-middle class housewife, she managed to keep it hilarious and searingly honest. Let's just say I have a lot to live up to... a LOT.

Darla gives us ten "easy" steps to become completely blissful in our roles. Let me just say that I'm pretty happy with my life, so I look to her more for advice on how to improve in my role.

1. "Please stop whining!" Check. I don't whine about my lot in life. I just don't.

2. "Be proud!" I'm working on this one. I'm hoping that as I start improving in the domestic CONSISTENCY in practicing them, I'll be more proud of my role. I like to see concrete accomplishments, and that's the difficult part of this job. Nothing is measurable, and few feats go noticed. I need to become more at peace with this reality.

3. "Stop looking like a housewife!" Hmmm. Uhhhh. Yeah.... I haven't worn velour out in public lately. Does that count? We'll just put this on the old "New Year's Resolutions" list.

4. "Make your marriage a priority." Ironically, this one is hard. Ryan and I have a very easy, comfortable relationship. There's no friction, ever. Having said that, I think we need to be more committed to a date night. That's a challenge when we're on a budget, and we have a tiny tot. This one makes the list of things to work on, too.

5. "BOND WITH YOUR HOME." Okay, folks. THIS one was the reason for my post. I have TOTALLY lost touch with my home. We have gotten so involved in playgroups and playdates that we're barely ever here. Most days I feel like all I do at home is bathe, feed B, feed the dogs, do laundry, and try to keep enough dishes clean to make it through the next day. Not good. To make matters worse, the less time I spend "bonding" with my home, the more neglected it becomes and the less I want to be there. Thus, the cycle repeats. I plan to create a schedule for home maintenance and execute it diligently in the new year. Then, I will schedule several days a week in which we stay home and enjoy ourselves and all this ol' stack o' bricks has to offer. I can assure you, we have lots of "stuff" and mounds of projects to keep us busy!

I'll post #6-10 tomorrow. I think I have strep throat, so I need to drink some tea and watch CSI Miami right now. (Well, I actually NEED to go to bed, but I'm pretty sure the tea I've been drinking has caffeine in it, so CSI Miami it is!)