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Friday, August 30, 2013

"Overachieving" moms, unite!

Lately I've loved being in the kitchen,
doing a ton of baking, canning and
cooking. Except I'm not wearing a bra.
Don't hate. 
I'm sure we've all seen those blog posts about how 'overachieving' moms try too hard, make the rest of us look bad, give us a false expectation of reality, etc. I wish I could find the original article I read - full of positive affirmations that we're all doing a good job, we're all good moms, blah blah blah.

Well, of course. Why does it matter if someone is addicted to Pinterest and loves to craft and make exquisite Christmas cookies and you don't? Since when is this a sign that you're a "bad mom?"

As I canned what seemed like my 500th jar of applesauce this morning, I thought about that article - and how it's often perceived that anyone who so much as turns on an oven is thought of as a "overachiever." I sometimes wonder what people think when I post pictures of all the canned goods, birthday cakes and Barbie clothes I like to make. I wonder what the other moms think when our kids line up at Halloween, and my child is wearing a hand-made costume that took weeks to make while the kid next to her is wearing something they bought on clearance the day before yesterday.

I am not going to let that stop me, though, because you know what - it's my passion! It's what I love doing. And if those other moms don't, so what. I'm sure they have passions and interests that I don't have; things they know how to do that I wouldn't have a clue about. Why are we turning this into another mommy war? Why are you letting someone else make you feel inadequate? And why is this even perceived as an inadequacy in the first place?

One of my favorite DIY bloggers is Ana White - a wife and mother who knew nothing about power tools and building stuff and then decided to learn. Now she is building her mother a freaking house! Can you imagine? I bet she's doing it all to make the rest of us look really bad ....

I can't wait to make this and show the entire world
how awesome I am. *sarcasm*
Photo credit:
So far this summer I've canned, tried a buttload of new recipes, and picked fruit with my kids (cue the happy music and images reminiscent of a J Crew catalog), have plans to make more Barbie clothes for a craft show and am constructing a replica of a toy fashion shop and modeling runway to showcase my stuff. Because I'm nuts. And because I freaking love it and think it's fun. Not to make you feel like a bad person, so get over yourself already. (said in the most polite way possible)

I like to write, do family genealogy, bake and cook, photography, make beaded jewelry, make Barbie furniture, antiquing and yard saling and probably a bunch of other crap I can't even remember. While I'm not very good at decorating cakes, I still enjoy doing it. And when I've posted pictures before (of the ones that actually looked presentable), I've heard comments like, "You're such a good mom." Why?! Because I baked a freaking birthday cake?! Our culture has become so used to just opening a box and dumping it out and voila, you have a meal. And while I certainly make my share of Stove Top stuffing, it makes those of us who actually like to slave over a hot stove doing this stuff feel like freaks, like we're only doing it to show people up.

Before modern packaging, people canned and preserved food because that's all that was available. Things like store-bought sugar were a luxury. Handmade clothes were the standard because nearly everyone knew how to sew, and mass-produced clothing was a sign of status and wealth.

Pardon me while I post my pictures on FaceBook - because I want to share in a way that was shared with me, and sparked an awesome idea. That is why I sometimes wish I could live in Pinterest. So many great ideas, and who cares if you don't do them all? Who is ever going to know but you?

It can be so gratifying to take something from raw material to finished product (finish a project? What??) - whether it be sewing, hunting, carpentry, cooking or whatever. Instead it's almost like they're saying, "How dare you know how to do all that stuff, then have the audacity to share your ideas! Shame on you!"

I think our ancestors - you know, the ones who lived on farms and knew how to build and do things for themselves because there was no other way - would be laughing at us because many of these skills are a lost art. Gone are the days of little girls sitting quietly, cross-stitching a sampler (I wonder if that's a discipline skill in and of itself). I am amazed when I read the book Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder: an account of her future husband Almanzo's family, an entire chapter is devoted to what the kids do all on their own while the parents are away for a few days. They use up all the sugar to bake goodies and make their own ice cream, and when a problem arises that could get them in some serious hot water, older sister comes to the rescue by meticulously patching up the wallpaper and scrubbing the entire room. Wow. A kid knows how to do that, all on her own?

An awesome photo collage wall that
I've been wanting to do for at least
five years now. I *will* do this. Someday.
I'm fortunate to have the time to dabble in a variety of things because I'm a stay-at-home mom, but I think I'd be doing this even if I had a "real" job. Sometimes, it comes down to priorities and making time for your hobbies - which can be a great stress-reliever! And sometimes I wonder if women, more so than men, create these inner and outer battles with themselves and each other - dwelling on what other people do and gauging their own abilities based on their perception of someone else. My husband is crazy busy with work but makes time to go hunting - because it's therapeutic, it's a passion, and a craft, so to speak. Are other men jealous of my husband because he hunts and can field dress a deer? I doubt it. So if someone is putting smiley faces on their kids' sandwiches and enjoys it, so be it. If you feel like a "bad mom" simply because of this, please don't. Sometimes I think the only one making you feel inadequate is you.

And if you'll excuse me, it's time to put my handmade-from-scratch calzone (no premade dough here!) in the oven. (My kids are eating cereal instead.)

If you're interested in seeing my (inadequate) craft blog, click here. Not updated very often, but I try. LOL


Kim said...

Well said. :-)