Six Mom-type Things that I Totally Suck At

posted in Around the House, Parenting Challenges, What Goes on in my Head on by with 37 Replies

Mom-guilt.  It’s everywhere.  You feel it.  I feel it.  It’s a pretty big topic all over the internet these days.  People are talking about how social media and sites like Pinterest are great and everything, but can heap more guilt upon a lot of moms’ already guilt-laden plates.  Here’s what I think is a big part of the problem: some people use sites like Pinterest and Facebook to brag their faces off.  I mean, I get it.  We all want to look good.  We all seek the approval of others.  It’s human nature.  But guess what?  While we’re all super happy for you that your life is going well, we don’t need to hear about how great you are at everything.  Your detailed descriptions of how much housework you got done using homemade pinecone-infused soap or whatever, and your handy tips on how I too can create delightful little desserts out of buttercup floss and fairy dreams are not helping anyone.

stock-footage-cake-desserts

I’m not saying you can’t brag on Facebook sometimes.  That’s totally fine and we all do it.  But can we take it down a notch?  And can we stop with the ridiculously perfect Pinterest crap?  We only get one life.  One life with which to love and grow and work and create.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend mine trying to shape it into something that it’s not.  I want to enjoy meaningful experiences with my kids, and I know for sure that trying to force them to have a perfect experience that I can photograph for Facebook is not meaningful.  And while I want to live the best life I can, and it’s good to have goals to work toward and a desire to improve, I also want to make sure to appreciate the bounty that I already have in my life, not be constantly looking for ways to make everything better.

I don’t want to sound like I hate social media or anything, because I absolutely don’t.  Nor do I think that the Internet is completely to blame for my mom-guilt or that of anyone else.  We choose to let society and friends and culture influence us, and the smart thing to do is to make the choices that are best for us and our families without worrying about any of those other influences.  Even with a good head on your shoulders and the best of intentions though, sometimes the illusion of having, doing, or being everything, and having/doing/being it well can make us moms feel kind of inadequate.

Well kids, I’m here today to make you feel better about yourself, to let you know that you’re not alone in your imperfection or feelings of guilt.  I would like to offer an antidote to all the intimidating pressures of perfection out there.  I present to you this list, an anti-brag list, if you will.  It’s in countdown style so you know the level of importance I give to each of these things and therefore the corresponding amount of guilt I have about sucking at them.

Six Mom-type Things that I Totally Suck At:

6.  Scrapbooking.  You guys.  I have never made a scrapbook in my life, even though if I’m being totally honest, I would love to have a scrapbook.  I also didn’t make baby books for any of my babies.  Like a lot of people, I have tons of pictures of the memorable events of my life and about a million and twelve pictures of my kids – on computers.  We’ve printed out a few to put in frames, but scrapbooking?  Who ON EARTH has time for that?  Maybe I could squeeze it in between changing the fifth poopy diaper of the day and hauling the latest load of laundry from the girls’ rooms to the washer, but there are about a thousand things I’d rather do with my time.

5.  Working out.  Ugh.  I don’t even want to go into it.  I just suck at it.  I know I’m supposed to be trying to get my figure back after having three kids or whatever, but my figure wasn’t really all that spectacular to begin with, so I don’t look back at pictures of my pre-baby self longingly or anything.  I’m actually hoping to improve at this one though.  It would probably be good for everyone if I did.

4.  Being organized.  I am so not a type-A kind of person.  I don’t get excited about “decluttering my life” or any of that Martha Stewart-y kind of crap.  My house is usually fairly tidy, but if you look in the basement/closets/anywhere you can’t see in a quick sweep of the house, there is chaos and disarray.  It’s only going to get worse as the kids get older and start accumulating massive amounts of their own stuff, so I know I should get a handle on it sooner rather than later.  But in my small moments of free time, I’d quite frankly rather blog.  Or drink coffee on the porch.  Or read a good book.  You can call me a procrastinator if you want, and you’d be absolutely right, but let me remind you: we only get one life, people, one life.  If being super organized brings you great joy, then GO FOR IT.  Come on over to my place and go nuts.

3.  Crafts.  Blech.  I guess this is kind of like scrapbooking, but I don’t care.  I hate crafts.  Every now and then I think I want to do one, and I save pasta sauce jars or bits of ribbon or something and then never do anything with them.  Crafts make me squirmy and impatient because I’m so bad at them.  Whatever I’ve tried to make in the past usually comes out looking pathetically goofy.  Also I ABHOR sewing.  Just thinking about sewing does something unhealthy to my blood pressure.  So yeah.  At least my family will never be forced to wear matching homemade Christmas outfits or anything.

As awesome as these folks look, it's just not something I'm ever going to do with my family.  LIke, ever in a million years.

As awesome as these folks look, it’s just not something I’m ever going to do with my family. Like, ever in a million years.

2.  Thank you notes.  This one actually makes me feel kind of bad.  I have a ton of very kind and generous friends and relatives who gave us so much – encouragement, help, food, gifts, money, etc. etc. etc. both when we were having the twins and when The Baby surprised us all and came six weeks early.  I am so incredibly grateful for all of those people and their sweet, helpful generosity.  But I never sent them thank you notes.  I wrote a lot of them.  Both times that we had babies.  But I never finished the list and I never sent any out.  So there’s also the fact that I wasted money on some really pretty little cards that no one got.  I know this isn’t good.  My life is crazy, but I should have made sure to finish those tasks.  Many of those people probably read this blog, so you guys, I’m reallyreallyreally sorry if you felt offended, and I hope you know how much I love and appreciate you.  But here’s the thing.  (You knew there had to be a thing.)  I don’t really care if someone sends me a thank you note or not.  I usually read it quickly and then forget about it.  I don’t save thank you notes.  They get recycled almost instantly.  I don’t sit at home after attending a baby shower holding my breath and wondering when the thank you note is going to come.  If I’m going to be completely honest, I have to say that I think the practice of sending out hand-written thank you notes after a shower is out-dated and unnecessary.  It’s a lot of pressure to put on a new mom who’s super busy doing all kinds of stuff, none of which is taking care of herself.  We are not Jane Austen characters who spend a couple of hours at a desk in the Morning Room attending to our correspondence each day.  If a governess wanted to whisk my kids away to the nursery so I could bang out some thank you notes before my session at the harpsichord, that would be great.  Until then though, can we give it a rest?

1.  Christmas Cards.  Oh man.  I would love to send out beautiful Christmas cards with a beautiful, professional photograph of my beautiful family every year.  So far, I have epically failed at this.  Since having kids, we haven’t sent out any Christmas cards, beautiful or otherwise.  We have friends our age who always manage to send out the loveliest Christmas cards with tasteful photo collages of their adorable and well-dressed little families.  Every year, I sigh wistfully, wishing we had done the same thing.  It will happen.  Just you wait.  One of these Christmases, I’m going to make it happen.  As of now though, it’s definitely something that I suck at.

So there you have it: my pile of suckitude.  You’re welcome.  Don’t let the illusion of internet perfection get you down.  I’m sure lots of moms out there suck at this stuff too, even if they’d like you to think otherwise.  Let’s just try to be as honest as we can with each other about what goes on in our heads and homes because that is the only way we’re going to kick the mom-guilt for good.

What do you suck at?  Does it make you feel guilty?  Do you think I’m a terrible person for my views on thank you notes (I’m sure plenty of you do)?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

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  • Chelsea

    This made me LAUGH OUT LOUD!!! I can relate!!! I have empty pasta sauce jars! and bits of ribbon!! HAHAHAHAAAA!!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Cheers to that, Chelsea! Let’s just pool our resources sometime and drink wine or something out of our ridiculous old pasta sauce jars. We can tie the bits of ribbon in our hair and call it a night!

  • Juliet

    Love this!!! There is NO craft in me what-so-ever. I started a scrapbook when I was pregnant with my son b/c I thought that it was what you were supposed to do. I hated the process and I never finished it. I burn x-mas cookies. I exercise so I don’t take my stress out on my children and my husband… but then sometimes still do. I work from home so I stare at my house of clutter all day long… but I also play with my kids, have an amazingly fun relationship with my spouse and love my job… so “F” the rest. Thank you for this! Cheers to you Both! I will raise a Pasta Sauce Glass of wine to you both tonight!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thanks for being here, Juliet! It’s so nice to know there’s a kindred spirit out there 🙂

  • Frantic Mama

    You are so great to put this out there. Mom guilt is so frustrating and so hard to ignore. Just the other day I felt kind of blue after seeing a couple having a fab vacation without their kids…my husband and I have yet to do that… so I’m taking a little break from Facebook. Keep up the great writing, Mama!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Oh – a kid-free vacation – that is about the ultimate dream right now, isn’t it? If it makes you feel any better, the last vacation I had was in 2009. It was before we had kids and I get really nostalgic thinking about it…white sand…margaritas on the beach…endless stretches of FREE TIME…okay I’m going to have to stop thinking about that. You’re right, Frantic Mama, a fab vacation is enough to put us crazy moms right over the edge 🙂

      • Frantic Mama

        It is just too much to think about those pre-kid vacations! Haha. A distant memory…

  • Deb @ Urban Moo Cow

    Ha!!! I love the name of your blog, I can’t believe I haven’t been here before. Will follow you everywhere after this comment. I SUCK at all crafts, baking and creativity. I suck BIG TIME at Pinterest. I don’t even really understand why people use Pinterest. I just use it for my blog posts. So, it’s okay. You’re part of the silent majority. Or minority. Who gives a shit. I hate making cupcakes. 😉

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you, Deb!! I’m glad you found me! The great thing about blogging is that we can all commiserate over things like this – no more silence on the ridiculousness of Pinterest!

  • http://www.healnowandforever.net/ Jodi Lobozzo Aman

    I suck at writing, baking, and being patient. You made me feel good. Thank you!

    • ShakespearesMom

      You’re very welcome. Thanks for being here!

  • Momchalant

    I’m horrible about working out. I used to not have to before my son, and now my body has changed forever.
    The organization is about the only thing I have going for me. And I try to do at least one or two Pinterest projects a year, or at least start them, or at least buy the supplies to start them. That should count for something right?

    • ShakespearesMom

      Hey, if you’ve bought supplies, that means you intend to do something with them, and I say good intentions do indeed count for something, especially if you’re a busy mom. And I hear you about your body being changed forever. I actually weigh less now than I did before kids, but things seem to have rearranged themselves in some kind of weird ways. Ugh.

  • TK

    Thank you for sharing these. I felt guilty about being the only mom who didn’t make sensory bins for her baby! Glad to have found you through the Honest Voices linkup!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Oh good lord, what is a sensory bin?? My baby doesn’t have one either! Is she going to be a paste-eater in Kindergarten because I didn’t make her any sensory bins?

      • TK

        Oh, don’t bother! Let’s just hope for the best!

  • thecalibamamom

    You are not alone. I suck at most of this stuff too. Except crafting and sewing. I’m actually quite good at those and find them to be therapeutic….ON OCCASION. Like if I have to because I can’t find what I want and have to make it myself 🙂 And my very Southern mama is surely rolling over in her grave at the fact that I don’t always send written thank you notes! Great post 🙂

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you! And thanks for stopping by!

  • The Shitastrophy

    Um yeah – I tried scrapbooking for about a week of my life and decided no way, baby books are not even a 1/4 of the way done (they are 8 & 9) I think I left once they started walking. As for crafts – about once a year I get a craft bug up my ass and try really hard and it looks like something out of pinterest fails. I also don’t make my kids birthday cakes, sew their costumes, make cute sandwiches etc. I do love them and I make sure they have food, are driven places, have clean clothes, healthy etc. So I guess it’s a draw. I think me and you would get along splendidly.

    • ShakespearesMom

      Ha ha!! Craft bug up your ass! Those craft bugs are so pesky. I think it’s probably about once a year for me too. Cheers to the stuff we ARE good at, Shitastrophy, like laughing at ourselves and loving our kids 🙂
      And P.S. I read your “Little Critter” Character Assassination over at Nicole Leigh Shaw’s blog – so hilarious! Nicely done. That Critter Mom really doesn’t seem like anyone I want to know.

      • The Shitastrophy

        No way! Thanks – love her blog, she’s hysterical! Little C’s mom needs some motherly skillz fo sho!

  • Domesticated Breakdown

    I am awful at Christmas cards, I always buy them, I never send them!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you so much for admitting this, Domesticated Breakdown. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in my Christmas card guilt!

  • Norine of Science Of Parenthoo

    I’m with you Kate! Totally. I suck at scrapbooking too. It took me 5 YEARS to do my son’s birth book. 5 years! At this rate, he’ll be in grad school before I get going on year 6 and beyond. As for Xmas cards … oy! I’ve got fingers crossed that I’ll get them out this year … but that’s ONLY because someone at my college reunion had a great camera and we happened to all be standing together at the right moment and now my picture is taken. Whew! Got that done in May. Now if I can get the cards out by end of January I’ll consider that a score. Yes, let’s all relax about this perfection shit. No one’s buying it anyway. Kate to find you. And thanks for stopping by at Science of Parenthood!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Well, if I have five years to get the baby books done, maybe I’ll actually get there! Thanks for commiserating, Norine!

  • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

    All of these. Absolutely all of them.
    Although I DO own a sewing machine, it got put away well before the baby arrived and has not been seen since. If I could buy pre-made scrapbook pages where I just had to insert pictures? I would so be in for that because I think the ones I see look awesome, but I’m just not that creative person! I much prefer digital scrapbooking instead 🙂

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thanks for sharing in my suckitude! Sewing machines make great door stops. Or maybe hurdles in a toddler obstacle course?

  • TK

    Hi, I couldn’t find you on Twitter, so letting you know here that I shared this post on my Bloggy Reads list! http://www.sandinmytoes.tk/2013/08/bloggy-reads-of-week-17082013.html

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thanks so much, TK!! I’m not on Twitter – I suppose I probably should be, huh? I’m on Facebook though!

      • TK

        I followed you there!

  • Bad Parenting Moments

    Fantastic. Thanks for sharing this with me. Rock on with your non-pinterest self. You can join me on my deck with a cocktail and a lack of pinterest perfect anything any time.

    • ShakespearesMom

      Cocktails on the deck sound pretty amazing right now…thanks!

  • http://pentriloquist.com/ Amy

    I can’t tell you how many wasted boxes of Christmas cards I’ve gone through in my life. And I’d put little dates on the corners of the cards, before sealing them up and addressing them… and letting them sit on the counter under the phone so I wouldn’t forget to buy holiday stamps… If I hadn’t always dated them, I could’ve sent them the next year. I love crafts, but have a bazillion half-finished projects that I lost interest in. The guilt over switching crafty-love when I still have a ton of supplies I spent good money on kills me.

    My kids are grown and still…. We realized in April that we forgot to take the nativity scene off the piano. At that point, we decided to just LOOOVE baby Jesus all year long, because I wasn’t going to rummage through my Christmas decoration boxes to find the box for it.

    • ShakespearesMom

      I bet the baby Jesus is enjoying seeing what the house looks like in the summer since he’s usually only around for the Christmas season.

      • http://pentriloquist.com/ Amy

        I think he’s enjoying his first summer out of the attic. Mary has donned a sweater. We like our air conditioning

  • http://www.motherhoodonadime.com Stacie Nelson

    Ha! I’m completely with you on scrapbooking!

    I love your honestly–it’s true–you only get one life, and I’d rather spend it with my friends and family than organize my basement, too!

  • Amanda MJ Tharp

    You know what i suck at?… Time management. Even though i get my 6 year old off the bus at the same time everyday, i can never manage to have a freakin set schedule after that. Sometimes dinner is at 5:30 sometimes its not until 8pm. Bedtime is [supposed to be] at 8:30… but sometimes it doesnt happen til 10. I suck, and i feel so bad on days that dinner is late, simply because i was too lazy or exhausted to cook. But i guess at least im TRYING to have some kind of schedule, even if it is an untimely mere consistency.