Friday, May 18, 2012

Does your husband clean? (Revised)

Dear Cinderella,
        Let's discuss gender rules. Why is it that my husband spouts how he isn't one of those 1960's husbands who feels its soley the wife's duty to clean, and yet there's only about once a month it occurs to him that he, too, is responsible for the task of keeping our home clean?
        Pointing out this fact is dangerous and usually ignites a fight which will generally end in one extra day of effort from Prince Charming to place his pants somewhere other than the back of my dining room chair.
        I have a good man. He is hard-working. He is honest, kind and a great father to my children. However, there are times I wonder if I'm alone in my desire for him to help me clean. Many nights, I'll wait for him to sleep before I begin, because cleaning while he merely sits on the couch reading or watching TV generally makes me just more bitter. Am I alone? Am I having a wave of crazy irrationality and need to step back?
—The Scullery Maid

Dear Sculley,

Please excuse me, but I am revising my previous* answer to your question. My husband and I talked this evening and I realized my initial response didn't account for his view of our situation.

So, I think the only way to truly describe how we resolved it, is to bring him in on this one.

Let me first say that from my perspective, I'd beaten this topic into the ground. I had come at my man from every angle, begging for help around the house. I tried being kind and sweet. I cried. I got angry. I tried to ignore it. Nothing had any lasting change. I would always end up sucking it up and cleaning by myself, feeling alone, forgotten and resentful.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Are you on the BAGwagon?

So, yesterday on Pinterest, I stumbled upon a tutorial for reusable grocery bags. And then I rolled my eyes and thought, "Hey, hipsters, where do you put your trash?"

Here's the deal. I don't use reusable grocery bags for two reasons.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mom on strike goes to therapy

I went on strike two months ago. I was on strike against the Homemaking Union. We have no rights, no freedoms, no pay, no one standing up for us making sure our work isn’t ruined.

I, like many of you, was so exhausted from constantly redoing housework that I tried so hard to do that was constantly being undone. It’s seriously like chasing your tail. And since I’m an intelligent woman, I finally admitted I wasn’t ever going to catch it. So I said, “Screw it.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kids should be raised by wolves

Do your little ones play outside every day? Were you raised by wolves like me?

According to an article I read this morning on ABC News, only 49% of preschool kids play outside with parents at least once each day.

I'm the homely child on the left.
When I was a kid, all I had to play with was a 2'x4' and a rake.

No, but for real.

I grew up on the wooded East Coast in a quiet, secluded neighborhood. My Dad really wanted us to grow all of our food and have plenty of land to protect us from the neighbors. You think I'm joking, but he was paranoid.

All year round, Mom would say, "Go outside and play." We'd rake pathways through the dense trees, clearing walkways and large openings. These were our houses with hallways and plenty of room for imagination. It was soooooo fun. Even to this day, I want to go play house in the woods.

We made a "gymnastics center" from a hammock, 2'x4' and some logs in one of those clearings. Our neighbor had a small man-made pond where we'd "fish," trying our luck at catching "Bubba," the giant bass none of us had ever seen but knew was real. I was secretly thankful no one ever caught him because I was terrified of wet, slimy creatures. And all summer long, we'd go shoe-less so we could have tough feet like Pocahontas.

We'd play until dusk when Mom would holler at the top of her lungs for us to come home. What would my neighbors say if I did that today? Haha. They'd probably call the cops. I guess I'd just have to text my kid instead.

All of my best childhood memories are set in the woods. I want that for my kids. But, things are so different now.

I am one of the lucky few with a back yard. But, it's sparse. The kids get bored in about 5 seconds and sunburnt in 4, whining to come back inside. There's nothing to explore except dead grass, weeds, a few rose bushes and one of those metal play-sets with only three legs on the ground at any one given time. First world problems, eh?

But, despite all that, the question still remains: Am I encouraging my kids to be active outdoors?

I'm scared the answer is no. Of course, this could be a new, awesome part of my momming life. Imagine resting outside under an umbrella reading my favorite book while the kids are forced to play together...Mmmmm...

I am setting a goal for my family: at least 30 minutes of outdoor play per day. I'm not big on giving myself additional tasks to complete each day, but this one is so important for the kiddos. Bring on the wolves.

So, what do you think? How often do your kids get outdoors? How do you keep them entertained in the wild?

Image source: Giant Sea Bass

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Buried alive

Today, the walls around me are caving in. I want to cry. My chest is tight.

I try so hard to be kind, thoughtful, forgiving, compassionate and mostly, nonjudgmental. I really am a good person with a very open heart.

It crushes me, though, when someone sees my messy, chaotic home. It feels like my home is seen as a direct reflection of my character; that when it's filthy, it must mean I'm a slob; that when it's in shambles, it means I'm not caring for my kids.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The evening rush

Evenings are intense. Working moms are exhausted but want time with their kids. Stay-at-home moms are worn out and want silence.

My sisters are the perfect examples. My little sister is a single, working mom. My older sister is a stay-at-home mom for her two kids and our little sister's two kids. They are both busy and over-worked 24/7. And on top that, they LIVE together.

So, obviously their time is precious. Both need breaks in the evening and have been struggling to make it work. Making dinner is a tiring chore and cleaning up is even worse. The working sister wants to spend time with her kids but is dragging by then. The SAH sister wants time to herself and a quiet house.

We all want those things! So, here's a re-make of our evening schedules to maximize quality time with the kids and free time with ourselves:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mom Exhibit: Another mom fights the dust

I'm not alone! My girl, Deb, sent me this email the other night and I just about peed my pants. Let's give a shout-out to our newest Mom Exhibit contributor. I know she'll feel welcome here!

My name is Deborah — and I am the mother of a messy house.

For 6 years, my family and I lived in a fabulous neighborhood. I was surrounded by amazing people, and yet...I can count on my left hand the number of people I ever invited INto my house. And I know of only ONE person whom I ever felt 100% at ease with just "dropping" by at any time.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Quit while you're ahead...or behind

Why, why, why does my house look and smell like the county dump every single Monday morning? I'll tell ya why—I don't have time to clean on the weekend.

So, imagine how good I felt about myself as I started cleaning the kitchen this morning! While I'm at it, the boy makes a stinky in his diaper. I get that cleaned up. Back to the dishes. He screams at me for food, "Maaaaaahhhh!" I quiet him with a squeezable applesauce and a sippee cup of milk. Back to the dishes. He climbs in the dishwasher and flings knives, cups and bowls onto the floor. I put up the baby gate. Back to the dishes. He douses the carpet with milk. Bahhh! I clean it up and get back to the dishes. He grabs the bag of veggie chips off the table and dumps them all over the floor. The girl helps pick them up. Back to the dishes. After getting all of that under control, I'm feeling confident and happy. I walk in the living room...

Oh brother. The kitchen's not done, but whatever. I'm done.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Great news, literally!

Me, in all my morning freakiness.
Best news, everrrrr! My first article was published in the Deseret News this very morning!!!! AAAHHHHH!!!!

I'm seriously freaking out, so excited. Elated, really! I'm restraining myself right now from having an exclamation storm all up in this page.

I've been pretty bummed because it's taken a long time for it to be published. Just yesterday I was mulling over the idea of emailing the publisher to ask if there was a scheduled date yet.

But here it is, friends, this glorious day! I actually hear a bird chirping outside right now. Ah, the birth of spring and best article in the universe...on the same day. Who knew?!

No, but for real. Will you take a peek? Pretty please? Here it is, best article in the universe.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

You invigorate me: Mom Exhibit

See this? Ahhh. Clean and peaceful...until the kids wake up.

Last week, I spent 3 whole days cleaning the house. That's all I did—bathrooms, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, deep-cleaning the stove, you name it. And you know why?

Because people were coming to visit, of course.

The important thing is that I did it and I am proud of myself. I've been trying so hard to keep it up, though it seems like I'm going to lose pretty soon. I'm just glad I captured it in a photo, so I can remember this glorious, remarkable moment in my life.

Clean house, you invigorate me and I love you. "Hug, hug, kiss, kiss, hug, hug, big kiss, little hug, kiss, kiss, little kiss." -Nacho Libre

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I need this...only in a different, not so Halloween-ish font.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We're going global!

EEK!! I'm so insanely excited and I haaaave to share the news with you. I might be published! I mean, published-published. I mean, bigger-than-the-college-newspaper published.

So, I'm a big news addict, checking for updates all day, every day. It just makes me feel connected to the rest of the world. My first stop is always the local news station, I search for local happenings, then country and world. Entertainment is a last resort, though I do love a good article about Princess Kate's wardrobe.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My success is your failure

So...the Mom Exhibit. That was pretty fun, huh, to see another mom's unedited house?

Well, here's the problem. While I was totally willing to share images of the messes, I was too afraid to share successes because I didn't want to make anyone feel bad.

I got going and had moments where I was succeeding, when I stayed on top of the dishes for 24 hours, when I completely cleaned my bedroom (and it has stayed clean), when I vacuumed 2 weeks in a row, when I had a warm dinner on the table each night for an entire week.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I was judged by my mess

This morning, I woke up with a spark. As I washed the dishes, my mind raced, feeding the beast, growing it until I thought I would burst.

Recently, I was excluded from something. The part that hurt the most was that I was blind-sided. No one said a word to me. I was just cut out. I whole-heartedly believe it was because of my blog, because maybe I appear to have too much on my plate, like maybe more time at home would help me get my affairs in order. I don't know, really. I was going to ask. But, then I realized it would be in vain. #1. I didn't want anyone to think I was whining. #2. Do you really think anyone would honestly tell me the truth? No way.

So, to spare myself some respect, I sucked it up and said, I won't let it get me down.

I knew divulging so much about myself on this blog was risky. I knew there would be some consequences. I figured there'd be a few hoity-toity people that would think less of me.

I just didn't think it would be these people. I'm bummed that they didn't get what I'm trying to do here.

So, what am I doing here?

There is a mom culture in our society with silently-defined expectations. This culture measures our self-worth by the tidiness of our playrooms, shine on our kids' cheeks, promptness of our families to events, the capacity of our memories.

It's wrong. It's women being hard on themselves and hard on each other. It needs to stop.

The worth of a mom should be measured by her love for her kids. It's invisible to the eye and is manifested differently in every family. For some women, it means they have to work to earn enough money for their kids to live in a safe neighborhood. For others, it means they get up extra early in the morning to braid their daughter's hair.

I just want moms to compare themselves to themselves, not the chick down the street. You know your best. You know what you're capable of. You know how much you love your kids. And you, only you know what that looks like.

So, to anyone who may doubt my abilities or may think I have too much on my plate, I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Please don't judge me by my mess and my Zoloft prescription. I used them to prove that, by my own definition, I do have it all together and this is what that looks like for me.

Please, I beg you, don't fall victim to the naïve, ignorant standards of mom culture.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Secret to a clean house

There is one, right? A secret to a clean house?

I think most of us are sure that there is, indeed, a secret that we just haven't figured out. When my first baby turned one, I set out to discover that secret.

Image Source here
It started on the internet. I read blog after blog with all kinds of tips and tricks to keeping a clean house. I tried many with no lasting success. So, I got serious. I marched right into my tiny town library and checked out a book, "The Ultimate Career: The Art of Homemaking for Today," by the cutest little lady, Daryl Hoole.

I read that book and set my mind to follow through with Daryl's advice. My favorite of all her secrets? Clutter attracts clutter. (Read a great synopsis of her book here.)

But, I want to stop there with the cleaning advice, because really you all know I'm not qualified for or interested in cleaning advice.

I want to point out the true secret to a clean house.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I am a hypocrite.

But, I didn't mean to be. What I've done goes against everything I stand for.

It started out like this. The man bought me an iPhone 4s for Christmas. Best. present. ever. I wanted one so badly because of Siri. I needed an external brain to hold my memories so I didn't have to punch myself in the gut every time I forgot something.

But, ironically, the iPhone has done something unexpected, impacting my life so much more than Siri ever could.