This is my response to this post on Wardrobe Oxygen, so please read that first.
The post brought up several questions for me, such as:
- Why should we celebrate not having the time to shower ? Sure I love my kids, but not showering and spit-up on my clothes sucks.
- Why dos SAHMs think that working moms have it easier ? Having a job doesn´t means that the house will clean itself and the kids won´t cry all night when teething. I totally admire working moms, since they really have to do it all and dress well while doing it.
What do I know about all this, you say ? I´m a stay-at-home-mom with 2 small kids and no relatives around to help or babysit. I also give time to a couple of hobbies / projects. I do cloth diapers and cook at home. I spend 2,5 hours daily commuting to preschool and back.
In spite of this I do manage daily showers, dressing nice, and I even remember to put on a pair of earrings and kajal. I don´t own sweat pants. I put diapers in my purse, cos I hate diaper bags.
I think that a lot of women just do too much.
My grandma can barely walk but will get up to buff the stainless steel kitchen sink dry, every single time someone uses it. She wants it to shine, but does anybody else even notice ? The mom who irons baby clothes. The aquintance who sorts the rails of her kids train set according to size and shape. Why do they spend so much time and energy in something nobody gives a damn about ?
Do they really think they need to do everything perfectly and make it look like a magazine cover ? Or is it a subconscious need to be irreplaceable, busy and needed (the guilt of not working, maybe ?)
I refuse do do it all
I chose not to iron baby clothes or bedsheets. I made a rule which says I´m not allowed to vacuum every day. I never washed my babies every day (my midwifes told me I don´t need to). I don´t watch TV (I think self-care is more important than some crappy show). I have taught my kids how to tidy up their toys (yes, even my 16-month-old helps) and wipe / sweep any mess they make. My meals are all healthy, but they are quick to make (smoothies, salads...). Co-sleeping means I never have to get up at night, and almost always get my 8 hours.
My self-care is also streamlined. I also don´t have high maintenance clothes (read: anything that needs to be ironed), or do complicated beauty routines (I even got an "artistically messy" hairdo). I don´t blow dry. I only have the season´s clothes hanging in my wardrobe, so that it takes me minutes pick something that goes together.
A confession: I did feel urges to do it all. But then I realised that I´m more important than a shining sink. Yes, I am selfish. Yes, I think it is important for me to look presentable most times. By presentable, my standard is that I won´t have to hide if I see an ex walking down the street.
It´s not that hard
It doesn´t mean moms have to look like a fashion-plates at all times. Just a jeans and T-shirt at all times is fine, as long as the jeans fit well and are flattering, and BTW tops usually look and fit better than a T-shirt. If you haven´t had time to wash your hair there is always the messy bun or a cute cap. I don´t think it´s that hard (unless you are a mom of tins or more, or taking care of a sick relative, or... you get the idea).
The hardest times go by, but the attitude stays.
I did have a hard few months when the baby demanded to be held all the time, and I could rarely have a shower until my husband came home and relieved me (BTW for all non-showering activities I highly recommend baby-wearing. You can cook, eat and blog while the little one is cuddled closely to your chest). I was also going through post-partum depression which mean I had no wish to make myself look decent.
But you know what, this phase went by. When my baby was sufficiently interested in the world around her to actually give me time to shower, I realised that in my mind I was still going ´I don´t need to do that now, I have kids.´ I had to give myself a hard push to take care of myself like I did before kids.
To sum it up:
Take a shower and forget to vacuum. Nobody will notice the dust except you. Putting on a pair of nice jeans isn´t any harder than pulling on sweats. Throw away your sweats, or at least hide them so that they aren´t the first thing you grab. Teach your kids to be self-sufficient, as early as possible. They will thank you (but only in 20 years), and they will respect you the more for not being their servant. A happy mama makes a happy family. If you won´t take care of you, nobody else is going to.
You are worth it, don´t doubt that for a moment.
Image available as print here.