I ruminate a lot on posts regarding motherhood and parenting since having Lou, but often do the digital version of crumpling them up and throwing them in the garbage can. I’m going to give it a shot. Maybe it’ll hit home for some of you…
So, gals, is D.I.Y. culture turning us into perfection-seeking 50′s era housewives?
I gladly jumped on the bandwagon when folks embraced traditional crafts as it became increasingly popular in the late 90′s: needlepointing, knitting, sewing, baking. Many of you probably remember our business, La Voleuse, some years back where we made most of our wares by hand. We were featured in crafty-gal mags like Readymade and Bust, and Venus.
[from my La Voleuse days]
As the years have passed, my generation of D.I.Y.ers started blogging, having kids, starting so-called Mommy Blogs, and things got… well, competitive. And somehow the mommy blog culture has given life to a model that I’m not sure is realistic or healthy or moving things forward for women.
I’ve heard it called the Superwoman Syndrome, and certainly feminism instilled in us that we, as women, can “have it all.” We CAN have kids and work. There are more childcare options available to us and we can work on new divisions of labor amongst couples. But something has to give, no? I think it unrealistic to think that we can do it all to perfection and stay sane.
If having it all means keeping a clean, stylishly-decorated home despite the mess that comes with children; being well-dressed despite being spit up on and dripped on 18 times a day; having perfectly dressed children despite the fact that they use their clothes as a napkin; having gourmet dinners on the table every night despite having just finished work and/or changing 8 diapers and wresting with a sticky, sandy tot all day, hosting kids birthday parties that are as designed as some weddings I’ve been to; etc. etc. — on top of possibly having some sort of challenging work life outside of our Mom roles, how in hell are we supposed to get it all done? There are only 24 hours in any day, and I like my sleep.
[wreaker of all holy havoc in my household]
In many ways, I think mommy blogging is great and its products are, for me, often undeniably enjoyable reads. Hooray for a creative and professional outlet that gives women, especially stay-at-home moms something of their own. [Design Mom's own mother actually wrote a really interesting post about that.] At a time when women can feel isolated, they can connect with other women in similar circumstances. But I’d love to see some new content. While I enjoy cooking, decorating, kids’ crafts, and fashion, I don’t believe that promoting what I think are unrealistic and antiquated ideals of perfection on those fronts should be what we concentrate on.
Furthermore, I can’t help but think that if we’re not adding more hours to the day, trying to accomplish everything on all fronts only leads to a feeling of failure. Sad Superwoman. I find it undeniably pleasing to lose myself reading some of these blogs, but doing so makes me feel just a little bit bad about my mess, my Chinese takeout, and my struggle for balance. I was particularly glad to see Bleubird’s post about how her house actually looks sometimes. Hallelujah.
Because without said truthfulness one could have thought her life with 3 kids was always this sort of perfection:
Instead of one more photo of the polka-dot banner you made for your child’s birthday party that matched the polka-dot cupcakes and napkins and picked up really nicely on the strawberry lemonade urn, I’d love to hear how you and your husband split time, how you balance work and family, how you keep your eye on the prize. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t enjoy making good food for our families, traditional crafts, etc. I sure as hell do. But with kids and less free time, I think it’s worth considering our ideals.
I truly can be a hypocrit. I, too, wrote about my own daughter’s birthday party and the cupcakes I was up until 4 in the morning decorating. And publishing this little bit of my thoughts will serve as a reminder of what’s important and what sort of content I would like to generate and read.
I would love to hear about blogs you read where you feel the focus is right on and moms who have achieved enviable balance.