I almost titled this post "Keeping Up Appearances", and I was also tempted to call it "I Told You The Housing Market Was Going to Get Ugly!" I guess there's just a lot on my mind, like sick children, missing school (as in not showing-up, not pining for school,)
Now, some of you may think I shouldn't let it all hang out... the dirty laundry, the raw truth about life's challenges and frustrations, but I look at it as therapy and as a public service. I can voice all of my fears, doubts, insecurities and pettiness and then just accept that life is like that... messy and hard sometimes, then I can move on. And maybe there's another person out there, a tired mom, a disappointed, cranky, disillusioned person that just wants to know that it's OKay to feel down, to feel overwhelmed... let's face it, most of us will not achieve the Good Houskeeping Blue Ribbon for Fantastically Perfect Holiday Decorating, Baking, Caroling, Hosting and General Beauty and Hygiene. So, maybe my truth will help someone else feel amused, less isolated, or encouraged to keep trying.
First, I should admit I put the pressure on myself. I want the Beautiful Holiday Home, with snow in the yard and gingerbread coming out of the oven... it will never snow here! And keeping the whole house really clean, all the time, is almost as unlikely as building snowmen in our yard. I think it's safe to say I will not get around to sewing 6 stockings and making aprons for each of my friends. I doubt we will have a birthday party for Maria. And good grief... have you tried shopping China-free? It's nearly impossible, which is great from a money saving point, but I do not feel as though I am achieving one bit in a Save the Planet kind of way... it feels so futile.
Idealistic Me wants Homemade Holidays. I tried to save money and be a clever, artistic-homemaker-super-mom by making a pattern, so I could sew this beautiful apron, which is a delightful interpretation of this apron. My apron is wonky, weird, wrong and a waste of time and effort. "Not Martha" is already taken for a blog name, but truthfully, as far as Domestic Divas go, I am the Anti-Martha... the Sloppy Mom... the flying by the seat of my pants mom, laughing all the way mom with four coughing, hungry, bright and wonderful kids.
So, yes I threw the apron in a heap and kicked it, but I won't leave it there. Sometime this week I am going to pick it up and attack the waistband with my seam ripper (where is the seam ripper?) and I'll try again. It will never be as lovely as I imagine it could be... so, what's the point? I don't know... maybe it has something to do with never giving up, never surrendering. Maybe it's accepting mediocrity, with a knowing grin. Idealistic Me needs to be reminded that magazine covers are a beautiful illusion, a carefully crafted moment created by many skilled and paid hands, and that very few people ever accomplish everything without neglecting something else.
There is so much I hope to achieve and wish I could accomplish. There is so much I admire and... (dare I say?) envy. If I continue to focus on every ad and every craft article, and every suggestion that Christmas is better with new carpets and coordinated holiday outfits, I will no doubt feel crushed and defeated. I already have a mounting sense of dread about the holiday obstacle course and rush that is ahead, which is sad. So, I am going to improvise and remind myself to make a new focus... I want to eliminate fantasy visions. I want to witness the genuine moments, to embrace the joy in the mess, to celebrate life regardless of wonky seams and eggnog from a carton.
(Big cheers for Anna Maria Horner and her live appearance on The Martha Stewart Show! She shared a beautiful way to use fabric and paint, and she Kept it Real... admitting she has no time to make her bed! She hardly needs to be remembered for her remark about not making her bed, but I sure do appreciate her candor and humor.)
My Holiday List ...all points revokable and amendable:
2. homemade tamales... maybe just a few
3. Christmas music... every day
4. Christmas cards... however many I can manage
5. lights on the house... not likely
6. driving around, looking at everyone else's lights... definitely!
8. Us, singing carols in our pajamas... a little off-key, a little out of synch... my favorite
9. A tree and trimmings... most likely
10. Our traditional gingerbread house-hot glue gathering... daunting prospect, but always worthwhile
11. Sharing our blessings... very important
12. Ice skating... challenging endeavor
13. Travel... get real!
15. Remembering the reason for the season and keeping it forefront in my heart and thoughts... imperative, not revokable
16. Relax... could save a life
17., 18., 19. and 20. Expect the unexpected and roll with it
Just Keeping it Real.