Life is Messy. Wear an Apron.

(Please bear with me, y’all. This post is a bit all over the place. I have been sick, and my brain is still more scattered than usual.)

I am having an internal crisis.

Okay, clearly it is NOT a serious crisis, or I wouldn’t be posting about it here. But a small internal crisis is still a crisis, right? Right.

What is this crisis, you ask?

These Cookies were Cuter Before Transport Squished the Icing

I am frightened by my domesticity. The cookies are only part of the problem. I’m obsessing about aprons . . . not for the first time. I made THIS apron several years ago.

Can You Say "Cutesy"? I Thought You Could.

(Yes I am standing on my toilet and taking a picture in the bathroom mirror. What do you want? I’m home alone.) I made it from an old pair of jeans that had completely fallen apart, and the ruffle and tie came from a thrift store muumuu. The little heart button came from one of The Drama Princess’s old dresses, or something like that.

Yes. That is a White Plastic Heart Button.

The only new thing was the grommet on the pocket:

My Intention for the Pocket is Actually To Hold Garden Twine

The jeans had a hole where the original button had ripped out; I thought, how perfect to hold twine and feed it through a grommet, for when I’m staking things in the garden! And it worked just like I hoped it would.

Now, I don’t see aprons as a symbol of female repression. My philosophy is–dudes, life is messy. Wear an apron. But between the cookies and the aprons yesterday, I started to feel uneasy about this whole farm girl domestic goddess thing I’ve got going on.

I love my life. But I am often plagued by social conditioning that tells me if I am not earning a paycheck I am letting my family down and I am not really doing anything worthwhile. My relatives call and say, “So what are you up to?” and I say “Oh not much.”

And by “Not much” I mean growing food, flowers, and herbs, preserving food, writing a novel, knitting a shawl, studying herbalism, studying the properties of stones and crystals, studying shamanism, doing energy work, blogging, selling knitting patterns, doing tarot/oracle readings, raising kids, cooking meals, reading, making smudge sticks and funky little nature sculptures, cleaning my house when it gets messy enough that I notice, and very rarely, baking. God I’m so lazy, how can I face myself in the mirror?

But because the things I’m doing A) don’t produce a lot of income and B) are enjoyable, I sometimes feel like they don’t count. Because we live in a society that says it’s not work unless it earns money and feels like a chore. My life rarely feels like a chore.

And y’all, it bugs me that most of us disregard the value of the work that goes on in the domestic sphere. It bugs me that someone who does an awesome job raising his or her children–essentially holding the FUTURE OF OUR SOCIETY in her hands–is given less respect than someone who is good at throwing a ball through a hoop. It bugs me that the cooking of nourishing food–which WE NEED TO LIVE–is respected less than being really skinny and looking good on film. Mind you, I am not an especially great cook, and no one would make the mistake of looking up to me  as a role model of spectacular parenting. I’m just giving examples here. I’m not sure I’m especially good at anything, except maybe swearing creatively when the Stepspawn make me crazy. But dudes, feeding and clothing people, raising food, creating beauty and comfort–it’s all important. It’s all REAL. I can see the results of the things I do now–I never could when I worked in an office entering data into a computer.

And yet, I’m a total hypocrite. I tell my friends who stay home that raising children and keeping the home is hugely important, difficult work, that it deserves respect, that a paycheck is meaningless if your life sucks. Meanwhile, the only reason I’m not in a complete panic about the fact that I am a homemaker is that I am “more than just a homemaker”. I’m writing a novel too, and I do healing work–and I feel like I need those things to justify not going out and getting a job. As if there is any such thing as being JUST a homemaker. As if being JUST a homemaker means you are sitting on your ass eating bonbons, watching soap operas, and generally being a waste of oxygen.

The thing is, I actually think my bunny cookies and my butt-pocket apron are totally awesome. I think my garden is a thing of wonder, I get unreasonably excited about yarn, and I am proud of the way I’m getting better at cooking nourishing meals. But a lifetime of conditioning sometimes makes me fear that I’m boring and trivial and deserving of contempt. Neurosis, thy name is Michelle.

So there it is. It’s not MUCH of a crisis. Besides, I don’t have time to worry about it like I used to–I need to water the peas I just planted, and make polenta, and change the soaking water on the beans, and make myself some tea before my afternoon writing/editing/brainstorming session. Guess I’d better get busy.

I think getting a tattoo might help. Maybe I’ll accept donations through pay pal! HA!

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6 thoughts on “Life is Messy. Wear an Apron.

  1. I know exactly how you feel. I feel like I have 10 jobs right now, on an easy day, and yet I feel like I’m pretty much a waste of space because I’m not going and working somewhere for 8 hours a day. Never mind the fact that I work pretty much 24/7.

  2. I think everyone who works inside the home, no matter what they do, feels this way once in awhile. It’s equating income with self-worth that does it. I think people with jobs outside the home sometimes press this stigma upon us. They think that people who work inside the home must sit on their asses and watch tv and eat bonbons because relaxing is what the people who work outside the home do when they’re inside. Since they work somewhere else, they put their feet up when they’re at home. So home = doing nothing. Therefore, they think that those of us who are home all day are doing nothing. But the thing you have to remember is that your loved ones, the ones who really understand you, know better. And when people ask you what you’ve been up to, don’t be ashamed to talk about your garden or your hobbies or your novel or your kiddos. All those things take tremendous work, and I think you’ll find that others find that work impressive. I know I do. ^_^

  3. Well I am jealous because I never did do the stay at home mom thing. I think what you (and my daughter) do is awesome. Screw paychecks, if you don’t need ’em then don’t worry about it.
    I will tell you that I have paid good money to buy nourishing food and cool clothes that somebody else grew and/or made – so if you want to attach a monetary value, its there. And congratulations on your Etsy sales.
    I won’t tell you to stop worrying about it – ’cause eventually you will.

  4. Sending warm fuzzies your way.

    You are an awesome and talented person who deserves to feel good about what you do every day. I think Barbara may be on to something. When people get home from “work” they relax. Therefore, if we are home, we are relaxing.

    I am more busy as a SAHM with a few side jobs than I ever was with a full time out of the house job. Yet, I sometimes feel like you, wondering if our time is somehow less important because we don’t make scads of money.

    Well, I don’t want scads of money. Just some fresh peas, a great tarot reading and an apron to organize my life. So it seems to me, you have the riches there, sweatheart!

  5. Thanks everyone who commented. I really ENJOY staying home–I am really grateful to be able to. I think my anxiety is just one of those weird conditioning things that I hope to overcome one of these days. It helps to complain about it. 😀

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