Thursday, October 21, 2010

Picture Perfect

The five o'clock hour comes much too early in this house. That time of day usually finds me rushing around trying to get dinner ready and straighten up the chaos from the day, all while trying to tame the little monkeys who are doing their best to break the sound barrier with their screeching. It's hectic, mad, and loud. It means that Daddy will soon be home, which is fun. But it also means a chaotic bout of trying to chop, measure, and stir while simultaneously entertaining the kiddos, which is so not fun.

Yesterday afternoon, just as Sean's car slid into the driveway at the end of the day, I looked down and realized that I was still wearing the hole-y yoga pants and old t-shirt I threw on when I jumped out of bed at 7 o'clock that morning. My hair was hastily tied up a in a messy bun, I had at some point amassed a giant spit-up stain on my shirt, and I was wearing no make-up and even less deodarant.

It was at that moment, when Sean was about to walk in the door, that I remembered an old newspaper clipping my grandmother used to keep on her refrigerator. My grandmother was raised in the Midwest and went to college in Iowa, where she graduated with a degree in home economics. She was a sorority rose queen and after graduation, she married my grandfather and became the consummate homemaker. My grandmother cooked homemade, delicious meals, including the best beef brisket and chocolate sheet cake I have ever tasted. She was a member of a sewing club and an ardent member of her church. She hand-made individualized Christmas stockings for everyone in the family and she catalogued and labeled the history of everything in her house. She was like Martha Stewart on steroids.

This newspaper article, which I remember my mom talking about, apparently provided tips for busy homemakers. One of those was that no matter how hard the day was, a good homemaker should always put a bow in her hair, apply lipstick, dress the kids in neat clothes, and greet her husband with a smile upon his arrival at the end of the day. Because his day was hard and he would wants to be greeted with a picture-perfect family when he came home. Umm, yeah.

Let's just say that I am about as far from that homemaker as I can possibly be. I'm even farther from the type of homemaker my grandmother was. I am lucky most days to get a shower, I don't do laundry until it threatens to bury me alive, and I can't remember the last time I tried to bake an actual cake from scratch. And you know what, I'm mostly okay with that.

I'd love to be Martha with the perfect house and coiffed hair, but I'm not. Even still, my kids are well-loved, happy children. We live in a happy house that is mostly neat and sometimes clean. And even though my husband doesn't come home to a picture-perfect house or family, he comes home to us, just as we are. Honestly, that's better than any fantasy you can create with lipstick and a bow.


Cassie said...

I just love this post, Keri!! It's so, so true.

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