Trashing the Zines

I have come to the conclusion that at this point in my life looking at magazines is a defeating endeavor.  My house will never look like the cover of Country Home or Elle Decor.  All those fun crafts and activities to do with children I read in Parents magazine or Parenting will never get done.  Or, if they do they will never look as shiny and “together” as the glossy photographs I see.  They will also probably never be as fun to make as the articles suggest.  Most of the time I will end up doing half of the work, jump through hoops to get my kids excited about doing the activity or craft, then bend over backwards to get them to do the craft as instructed, and finally use up the last of my patience and energy cleaning up after them.  Even when they “help” me clean up.

Sure, there is something to be said for trying the craft or activity in the first place.  My kids will probably remember those times as “fun” so I don’t intend to give them up forever.  I just plan on giving up stressing about doing those things.  I intend to stop berating myself when I’m not up for it, especially since our third child is due in just over a month.

Martha Stewart just does not live in my house.  In the long run, I am probably okay with that.  I mean, Martha may be an empire, but she doesn’t seem to be the happiest person on earth.  I can’t imagine trying to be in control as much as she is, to adhere to that same degree of perfection.  And, to be honest, the woman is alone.  She has one child, isn’t married, and can function on five hours of sleep. 

That just isn’t me!

If I didn’t have a husband and only one adult daughter I’m sure I’d have a lot more free time and free space on my hands.  But I love my husband.  And I love my kids and if they come with chaos and messiness and gobs of imperfection and whining then so be it.  I wouldn’t be happy with an immaculate house if it meant being alone.  I’d like a little moderation maybe, but I don’t want to sacrifice kindness and love for the sake of cleanliness and order.

This means that I have to recycle or donate all those magazines I’ve saved, the ones that I thought would inspire me to improve our house or get me creating that next masterpiece or finally bring us together as a happy, creative, cooperative, clean family. 

You know that family, right?  The family who has the clean house, where they serve nutritious home made food that the kids eat without complaint, well-behaved children who work out their problems with words and reason, happy, fulfilled parents who earn enough money to make dreams come true? 

That’s the family everyone is trying to emulate, only in secret I think they are only driving themselves crazy because they are incapable of achieving that image.  It’s like trying to look like a supermodel without the aid of appetite suppressing drugs and plastic surgery and designer clothing and professional photography and airbrushing.  Even if you ARE good looking you just can’t compete with that!

So, I’m dropping out of that race.  I’m giving up June Cleaver in her 1950’s TV set and searching for the messy, dirty, chaotic, crumb-filled places.  I’m looking for the real family that we are.  Because the real us deserves love and happiness, too.  Even if that means we are rough around the edges and still sport ketchup stains on our faces and shirts when someone snaps a photo.  Ragamuffins, as my mother used to call me and my brother.

Somehow we will make it through this middle class life.  We’ll look exactly like all the other struggling families.  We’ll blend in at the restaurant, shopping mall, gas station, grocery store, town hall, you name it.  We’ll be just another grain of sand on the beach, and it’s okay.  Because when you step back you’ll see the whole beach and feel inspired by the beauty that suddenly comes into view.  And when you look real close you’ll marvel at the distance we’ve traveled, the travails we’ve endured, just to get to the shore in the first place.

We will be, like my mother always says, “as ordinary as sunshine.”

Comments are closed.

Just another WordPress weblog