Sunday, July 1, 2012

I don't do it all.

Inspired by a post at Tiny Twig, I wanted to write about a few things I don't do. I think that her post speaks well to the pressures women face, and the unrealistic expectation in our society that we're supposed to have it all because we do it all. I cannot be Suzy Homemaker, the Pioneer Woman, Martha Stewart, and the Working Girl. All these ideals are nice individually, but to stack all on top of each other, one after another, is simply oppressive. Forgive me if I overlap on some of the ideas mentioned on Tiny Twig - they're simply true for me as well.

1. I don't clean my house. I absolutely hate cleaning. I could blame it on my feminist beliefs about the second shift, or terrible childhood memories of being screamed at by my stepdad to clean the house, or any number of other reasons. Whatever. Anyway. I pay a lovely friend to spend two hours every other week to clean my home - it's completely affordable and I'm a total evangelist about it. If you think you can't afford to have someone clean your home, or your home is too messy/dirty/big to have anyone else clean it, or you will be LESS THAN if you don't clean it yourself - good god, if you hate cleaning like I do, set yourself free!

2. I don't keep in touch. I love meeting people and I make friends easily. But when I move on, I move on. Without Facebook, there are many people I would not have heard from in years. I'm just not that into working hard for friendships - maybe because new ones come so naturally to me. So sometimes I feel like a big jerk and I envy folks who still hang out with people they met in preschool (like my husband and his friend Rob!)

3. I don't pay for things I don't find necessary. I am cheap, frugal, thrifty, whatever. So that means we don't have cable or satellite service, we put our garbage in our in-laws' can (with their permission!), I pack a lunch every day, we drink water when we go out to eat, and I use coupons and discounts like crazy. Even if I'm the crazy lady holding up the line while I haggle over my coupons or I look cheap in front of others - I'd rather not spend the money if I don't have to. Sometimes I feel judged for being cheap, though, and that bums me out.

4. I don't buy organic. I could try to live forever, and do every single thing possible to be the most healthiest person ever, but I don't have the time, energy, or motivation to do it all. I just don't care about pesticides in my food, and that doesn't make me a bad person. And if I ever have kids, I'm not going to feed them all-organic either, and that doesn't make me a bad person. I Miracle-Gro the fuck out of my garden and that's fine with me. And on a related note, I don't always eat for health and fitness. I like chocolate long john donuts and waffle fries. Mmm. I definitely don't do food perfectly.

5. I don't read as much non-fiction any more. I used to love reading books on history, geopolitics, feminism, sociology, current events - but now when I read, it's usually at the gym. I just want to check out from my hamster wheel, and that means fiction. I miss non-fiction, but it doesn't work for me now. Listening to public radio helps me feel sharp, though!

6. I don't do hair or fashion trends. I have a secret vision of myself in cool trendy looks like fishtail braids and fake eyelashes and earrings made with feathers and towering heels. I'm all Zooey Deschenal and stuff. But when I look up tutorials on Pinterest on how to do that stuff, it just doesn't seem worth the effort and im afraid of screwing it up. I have this other vision of perfectly coiffed young women tapping me on the shoulder and informing me that they know which pinterest tutorial i was trying to copy and i have failed miserably. So I blow dry my hair with the round brush and slap on mascara on a good day.

7. I don't do feelings perfectly. Even though I'm a counselor, and I know all the skills and tools and ideal ways to deal with stuff. I get derailed by my defenses and fears and pain. And sometimes I handle that with avoidance, shame, and self-rejection. I respect myself for doing that much, much less than I had in the past. And I try to practice what I preach. But sometimes, I hide out and ignore the phone and ignore my own woundedness.

That sounds like enough for today. What don't you do?


  1. Jenna, this post was amazing! It's so true that women try to have and do it all and it just isn't possible to be everything to everyone and expect to have ANYTHING left for you at the end. I'm proud of you for acknowledging that you can't have and do it all and I'm honored to be a friend that you keep.
    I don't work full-time outside the home because it just doesn't work for me. I still contribute to my family but not with a regular full-time job.

  2. Dude, you just sent me down the google rabbit hole for over an hour by making me curious about what a fishtail braid is! Now I have about a dozen new hairstyles to try. :p