Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The Domestic Goddess
All my life, I have only wanted two things: to teach and to be a mom.
(Well, I wanted these things more than anything else. I also wanted a yellow Honda Prelude, to be a size 6, and of course, world peace.)
When I was little, I held play schools, and roped some area kids into being my "class". We lived way out in the country at that point, and the kid pool was low. Some of the moms finally had pity on me, and let me have their little ones. I remember lesson planning and everything. I knew teaching was my calling all my life, even in spite of the number of my own teachers who tried to dissuade me.
My mind never wavered until college. Then, for a number of reasons, I changed my mind, and ended up with a BS in Mental Health and Human Services and a MTS in Theology (never saw that one coming!). But in the end, I teach. I teach my own children every day, I teach other kids in a variety of classes in a homeschool coop, I teach adults in different classes - I teach and I love it.
I am also a mom. Never would have guessed I would have a posse of boys, but they are my light and my joy.
The problem - well, it is all the other stuff. I guess I just always assumed that because I wanted kids and I wanted to stay home with them, I would be good at the things that go with that. You know - cooking, cleaning, home decoration, organization, creative parenting. I always imagined that I would be a domestic goddess.
Well, I am not. Good at those things, that is.
Hanging pictures? Always crooked! Painting - well, ArtGuy will not allow me to do that on my own anymore. I am good at spilling paint! Gardening? I hate bees, wasps, ants, and dirt. So, no - gardening is not for me.
I am lucky my gang tends towards rather plebeian tastes, as far as food goes, because I am no Julia Child, or even Rachel Ray! After a day of teaching and boy wrangling, I rather dread having to get a meal on the table. I often forget a step, or misjudge the time, or forget a course. My sister-in-law, Sarah, is a great cook. She just seems to have that flair. Everything I have ever eaten of her's is rather great, even the simple stuff. She makes homemade breads and chili, for goodness sake! If a green thumb means you are a successful gardener, what kind of thumb does a good cook have? Not red, 'cause that would be gross. Well, whatever color thumb good cooks have, Sarah has it.
Cleaning? Hah! There is always a load of laundry in the washing machine, and please! Do not look at my kitchen floor! A neighbor told me that she has been religious about keeping shoes off her carpet and she has to have a spotless kitchen floor. My kids build their immune systems based solely on the variety of germs and dirt that inhabit my flooring. Not to paint myself as a slob, because I do clean them all! I sweep about 1,000 times a day. But as soon as I turn my head, there are cereal pieces under the table or a crushed Goldfish crunching under my heel!
In my head, I am a fun, accomplished wife and mother. In reality, I am more Valkyrie than domestic goddess. Thank goodness my husband is impressed with me. He sees me rather through the eyes of love, for which I am truly grateful.
I was lamenting to him only last week that I was really and truly trying to get the living room clean. ArtGuy gestured towards the room littered with toddler toys and a layer of dust that gave everything a nice, pearly sheen, and said, "But honey! To me this IS clean!"
Bless his heart!
Over the years I have learned to let go of that domestic goddess image I always held in my head. To (mis)quote a variety of wise women (The Little Flower, Mother Teresa, and FlyLady), no matter how imperfectly I serve my family, by truly serving them from my heart, with love, each imperfect chore becomes a blessing to each and every person in the home.
Love can transform anything. Love can even make a mere weak mortal woman into a very, very minor domestic goddess - at least to her own family!