First off, I have to tell you how much I love Amanda Soule's work. Her book is fantastic, a new classic for us natural family meets the crafty sorta people. And I look forward to her blog everyday. It's a feast for the eyes and an inspiration to do better with my family, my home, and my ambitions.
But, damnit, I can't help comparing my life and myself up against her. And I come out the serious lo-ser. She's like a hippie Martha Stewart. I am drawn into her circle of order and creativity, but I will never, ever be like her. It's heartbreaking. She grows things and cans them. She homeschools. She helps her kids do amazing creative things. She writes books about doing amazing creative things with her kids. She's a prolific eye candy photographer. She knits. She blogs five days a week. She makes these little fabric/embroidery collages with themes and sells them for outrageous amounts. She's full of gratitude and wonder and kindness. I find myself checking her blog everyday, wondering at how picturesque her life is. How perfect. How utterly unlike my own life.
For instance. Soule Mama's pregnancies are lovely rocking in chair love affairs with her rounding body. All earthy, wholesome mommy stuff. My pregnancies were sorta of nine month long puke fests, while I complained bitterly when my ass no longer fit through doorways. She revels in the work of making a home, food, and providing for the the basics like firewood. I hate having to do housework, gardening, and cooking. I'd rather read a book on how to do it than actually do it. My fabrics aren't as nice as her fabrics. She makes these cute little skirts with her 3 yr old while making dinner. I lock myself in the basement to sew and when my 3 yr old knocks on the door I turn up my gwar-esque rock louder to drown out her knocking.
Mama can't talk now, sweetie, she's avoiding you.
Sometimes I try to get comfortable with my limitations as a mother and try to cozy up to my anti-domestic nature. I read Erma Bombeck and tell myself that kid's are resilent, canned tomato sauce looks just as yummy as sauce made tomatoes from my own garden and that germs from unwashed floors actually help immune systems develop. I chant 'good enough' all day long. But then I open up Soule Mama's blog the next day and I can see how far I am away from where I want to be. How I just don't measure up.
As it turns out I was actually paying attention at least some of the time those years at university. I know that we judge our own situations as relative to others. We feel rich or poor compared to our neighbors. We feel ourselves as good or bad parents compared to those around. It's not hard to figure out why I feel bad about myself when I have the whole of the internet in which to find the shiniest examples of everything. I am not the best mom, the slimmest, the healthiest, the most domestic, the most natural, the most creative, the most feminist, the most ambitious, the most crafty, the best anything. In this climate of the new domesticity, with type A housewives creating mult-million dollar brands out of their lives, I am not even in the race. Heck, my position as a spectator is so far away that I need binoculars to see the starting line. Though I can still see it's not real. Still, from far away over here, it's still beautiful.
Self-preservation instinct is kicking in. In order to help pick my self worth up from below magot droppings, I'm going to take a wee hiatus from Soule Mama. And from my many lofty tombs of betterness from the library, the self help, the how to de clutter my home, feng shi my insides, or deep cleanse my colon or whatever the hell it is that catches my fancy week to week that makes me feel completely inadequate. I think I'll limit my reading to areas that have nothing to do with me. Life and times of Mozart. The breeding of dogs. Romantic medieval poetry. Perhaps if I ignore all information that I am even vaguely interested in right now I may get back a measure of confidence in my parenting and running this household. When I only have reality to compare myself to.
Perfection will be banished from my to do list and my bookmarks. This will be me doing my own thing, not comparing myself to you.
This'll be me accepting my limitations.
(oh, darn, I think I've once again accepted mission impossible. I never learn.)